New to mindfulness??
Start with our article What is Mindfulness and learn more about it and how it will help you making your life better.
Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming! Oh, wait it’s over!
Does that sound familiar? You keep waiting for this time of the year to arrive with so much enthusiasm but when it is actually around the corner, you somehow forget to enjoy it. You stress over your shopping list, you have to send out the cards, do all the cooking and baking, and you have to decide what to wear for the party.. It seems like the older we get, the more stressful our Christmases become. Why is it so? What has changed?
Have you noticed that on that day, 25th December, there are just so many things to do, so many people to meet, gifts to be exchanged and whatnot, that you do not get even a single moment to simply sit back and truly appreciate the beauty of it? Why?
Let’s try to find an answer to this question and let’s reveal a little trick from our bag on how you can enjoy your Christmas better, or any other holiday for that matter. Don’t worry, it’s not some pagan ritual whose details we are going to share with you! It’s the same old trick we’ve been trying to get you accustomed to - mindfulness. Here’s how mindfulness can help make your X-mas merrier like never before -
Learning mindfulness means learning how to stay in the present. We spend all our lives either being stuck in the past or we keep dreaming about the future, never really giving the present moment, the kind of attention and appreciation it truly deserves. If you think about it, your present is the only time you have to live. You can’t go back into your past and live there and you can’t fast-forward your life and live in your future. So, in order to live a meaningful, happy life you need to bring all your attention to your present. That’s where the magic happens!
By practicing mindfulness one learns to appreciate everything he has. You don’t have to repeatedly tell yourself to be grateful all the time. As your practice develops, it’s very natural for a meditator to automatically become more grateful and appreciative towards life. So, you can use the same principles of mindfulness meditation in order to enjoy the holiday season better. Relax, take a moment, sit back and see things from a wider perspective. With the help of mindfulness, you’ll be able to enjoy all those little X-massy moments which were so precious to you when you were a kid. The food will taste better, the gifts will bring more joy, the faces of your loved ones will appear brighter and your celebrations will become more colorful and joyful like you never imagined! And that’s how Christmas should be. The day of joy, harmony, and celebrations, right?
Shopping is a big part of the holiday season. You have to shop for yourself and you have to buy gifts for everyone else. Also, you need to shop in order to decorate your house or workplace. You need to figure out what gift to buy for whom while keeping in mind your budget and personal preferences. It’s not an easy job. Some people start all the planning process months in advance. But shopping shouldn’t be a stressful job. On the contrary, you can really enjoy this process if you do it with a sense of mindfulness.
As you set out to shop for Christmas, tell yourself that this is going to be an amazing experience. Stop comparing your previous shopping rendezvous and shop afresh. Stay in the present moment and look for deals and discounts. Give yourself some time to find the right kind of goodies and whenever you buy something pat yourself on the back. When every little step becomes a mini celebration, the entire season will automatically become one grand never-ending affair!
When Christmas is around, there are just so many amazing things you can eat. The markets overflow with yummy treats, people gift you chocolates, candies and all kinds of desserts and your own house starts resembling a confectionary shop. It’s very important to eat mindfully during this time of the year because everyone tends to over-indulge themselves. In fact, over-indulgence becomes a norm during the holiday season. You can change that. You need to ask yourself - Am I really hungry? Or Am I just eating because it’s in front of my eyes?
When you eat, eat mindfully. Slow down and pay attention to every bite that’s being swallowed by you. Notice how amazing everything is on your plate and how wonderful it make you feel after you devour them one after the other. If you are planning to cook all those delicacies yourself, make sure to enjoy that process too. Anyway, you love cooking, right? Cook your favorite recipes and enjoy every step of the process by bringing your attention back to the present moment.
We know there’s a lot to do. But if you truly want to enjoy, allow yourself a few moments of total relaxation. When everyone’s busy eating, drinking, having a super time, you take a step back, take a few deep breaths and try to look at things from a wider perspective. Is this how you imagined your life will be like when you were a kid? Are you happy? Are you thankful for this day, this moment, being surrounded by all these people, celebrating and having a fabulous time together? Ask such questions, find their answers in your conscience and notice how these answers make you feel.
To make this day or this season even more wonderful, include these three X-mas rituals to your usual celebrations -
People usually play X-mas songs on 25th Dec or 24th Dec night. Many people have replaced the tradition entirely with pop culture music as they do not play traditional Christmas carols at all. Bring back this tradition, or maybe something else that you used to do when you were a kid. This will set the overall mood for the celebrations.
I know a lot of people consider a sweater with a reindeer on it, awful! But that’s where all the fun lies. Wear such clothes to remind yourself that it’s that time of the year again. Life becomes so much easier when you have the ability to laugh at yourself. If not on that day, wear Christmassy clothes a couple of days prior to the festival.
I know this might sound bizarre but what’s a better day to connect with your higher self than the day of Christmas? And it helps so much if you meditate in a group rather than sitting alone. Mindfulness meditation is usually done alone, but whenever people gather and practice mindfulness as a part of a retreat or a program, the effects are outstanding. It helps you connect with each other better and the benefits (calmer mind, enhanced concentration, etc.) will be experienced by everyone. This could be a great opportunity to introduce someone new to the world of mindfulness.
All these tips and tricks will help you celebrate your holiday season with a profound sense of gratitude and love. You can further add or subtract things from these recommendations to customize your X-mas as per your personal preferences. Just try to stay in the present moment and do whatever you want. Maybe you can do things you always wanted to do but never got a chance up until this year! Have an amazing amazing Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
Published in MinfulDevMag issue #6 – Back to Issue TOC