“Tis the Season”, right? Shopping, eating, drinking, traveling, traditions, celebrating, family, friends, giving, receiving and, of course, making memories.
With so much going on, it’s easy to see how the holidays can rush by in one big festive blur! I’ve been reading and hearing so much talk about the chaos and stress of the holidays lately, and I just don’t feel it has to be that way. I think we sort of lose ourselves (mentally) during all the commotion. With a little intention, I believe we can find our way back to some connection, and holiday “presence”. So, I'm not even going to talk about strategies for eating less and exercising more this holiday season, I'd rather talk about mindfulness.
You see, mindfulness is like a muscle, use it or lose it…flex it and grow it. As usual, no rocket science here. Just that reminder and nudge we all need to stay on track.
tip #1 Eat Mindfully! Where does that food go anyway?
Don’t you hate it when you look down at your empty plate and you don’t even remember eating? Food shoveling! We all do it, but we shouldn’t. In addition to missing out on the experience of eating, it’s not good for digestion, which starts in the mouth. Actually, that's not quite true. It really starts before you take a bite. I believe your intention, attention, appreciation and stress level have just as much effect on digestion as other factors. It’s okay to indulge in some holiday dishes and treats. Just try to slow it down—chew, feel, taste and be grateful. I’m not suggesting 100 chews per bite, or anything like that. Just check-in and make sure you are present while you eat. You’ll probably eat less, and definitely appreciate more!
tip #2 Embrace the Light! The stop light!
Put the darn phone down! Need I say more? What did we ever do at stoplights before we had smart phones? What a perfect time to take a mental break, take a few cleansing breaths, or just watch the world around you (smiling people, clouds, birds, rain). If you have a habit of checking your phone at red lights, maybe just observe your patterns and notice how you feel when you resist and just sit and be in the moment. Even if you don't check your phone at red lights, you can still upgrade your waiting time by being still, breathing and paying attention. It's a mini-mediation. Personally, I think we are starving for this kind of time, and we should take it!
tip #3 Listen! I mean really listen!
There’s listening, and then there’s deep listening. When you’re catching up with family and friends over the holidays, notice your mind as you are “listening” to them talk. Is there a lot of background chatter? Are you thinking about your next response instead of listening, or wishing you had eaten less cookies (or more and they're all gone)? Whatever it is, take a deep breath, clear your mind, and be grateful for this person in your life, so you can really listen! Then listen even deeper!
tip #4 Savor Some Tea! Cozy up and chill out!
There is something amazing about a cup of hot herbal tea! Taking a tea break can be like slipping away into a spa (almost). Next time you have a hot mug of tea, go beyond sipping and make it a mindful experience. Indulge in the warmth of the mug, the steam on your face and the therapeutic aroma of the tea. If you need to relax or decompress, try Chamomile or Holy Basil. For a little energy lift, try Peppermint or Ginseng teas. Pick up a few boxes of tea blends intended to support your specific needs. There are so many to choose from. Main thing…slow down and experience the tea!