Mindfully Yours

MOVING INTO THE holiday season can be exciting and daunting. Overloaded calendars can leave little spare time. As a result, we move through the motions of checking off items from our to-do list without taking time to be more present and truly enjoy the season connecting with friends and family. That spiral of chaos can be avoided. Though practicing mindfulness may be easier said than done, here are the top habits to develop to discover more strength, stability and clarity for a more joyous season. The best part about this list is you don’t have to implement all of these tips to enjoy the holidays. Try practicing one or two items on the list to start your mindful journey. Kindness, truthfulness, moderation and generosity are among the best holiday gifts we can offer and receive.

This habit drops to the bottom of the list due to not enough time and seasonal travel. But it’s essential during the holidays. Not only are we exposed to more germs during this time we also consume more indulgent foods. Keeping up an exercise routine needs to be at the top of your holiday list to stay fit and healthy. Even if you have to adapt it slightly, keep the exercise habit going. It’s also the number one way to relieve stress at a time when you might need it the most. Breathe Consider starting and ending your day by taking two five-minute moments of stillness. Sit comfortably, relax your shoulders and close your eyes (or if you prefer a soft gaze). Your breath is your home base. When thoughts arise, acknowledge them and come back to your breath. Try and cultivate this practice daily and see how well it supports your daily actions.

Beginning a yoga practice can greatly support your mindfulness. Yoga provides a lifestyle discipline guiding you in all areas of your life. It’s not about showing up on your mat, it’s about learning how to show up in life with intention and mindfulness every day.

Quiet time
Give yourself time to enjoy the holidays. Take a solo hike, yoga class or learn meditation. Just be present with yourself, allowing time for relaxation.

Shop wisely
Consider being more mindful about gift items. Tap into your relationship with whom you are buying and ask yourself how you can honor them with a meaningful gift or a nice gesture that signifies your relationship or appreciation of them. Your shopping will be much more engaging, thoughtful and fun.

Eat wisely
We all indulge during the holidays, as we should. It’s part of the enjoyment. At the same time, you can also limit the amount you consume while still enjoying the savory and sweet treats. Typically, the first two or three bites are what activate your senses the most. Once you know you’ve had enough, stop before you’ve overstepped your guilty pleasures.

Let go of guilt
There’s no way to be at every holiday event and family gathering. Decide what’s healthy emotionally and physically for you and your family and set limits. Less social media When we indulge in too much social media it can backfire, leaving us feeling empty and sad. See how much more you enjoy the season by limiting social media. Who needs the guilt of not having the perfect family gathering, beautiful family photos, or amazing and exotic vacations? Use your mindfulness of time and limit your viewing. Set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes, and when it’s up, so are you.

Practice empathy
Remember that everyone is going through something, even those who seem perfect on social media. Being mindful of what others are going through is the best way to practice empathy. Empathy is proven to increase the personal happiness factor of the person practicing it.

Hydrate and Sleep
Late-night parties and too many cocktails can leave us feeling dehydrated and sleep deprived. Limit alcohol intake, get enough sleep and stay hydrated to feel better.