Being mindful during the holidays, or at anytime of the year for that matter, is challenging. With dedicated practice though, it is more than possible. The best way to start (or re-start) is to introduce mindfulness into your life gradually. These 5 tips for how to be mindful during the holidays – and beyond – will help you do just that.
Give the gift of being present.
Being present when in someone’s company may just be the best gift we can give someone. But let’s face it, this is not easy to do. Our mobile phones – our biggest distractors – are constantly pulling us away from the present moment. That’s true whether we’re spending time with others, or alone.
For those of us living with others, we can consider turning off our phones when sharing a meal, watching a movie, or otherwise spending time together this holiday season. And by turning off, I mean powering the phone off completely. That way if you do reach for your phone during these moments, having to turn the phone on in order to check messages or notifications, will act as a reminder to stay present.
Similarly, when connecting virtually with someone, consider closing off all notifications and tabs to limit distractions. Commit to fully connecting with the person on the screen, instead of trying to do multiple things at once.
Practice how to be mindful when listening.
We can take being present a step further by also practicing mindful listening. Mindful listening is listening without thinking about how we will respond. It’s as hard as it sounds, no doubt. But it’s key to building more meaningful connections with others. There are often many opportunities to practice this throughout the day, whether we’re connecting in person, over the phone, or virtually.
In order to listen mindfully, commit to fully listening. Listen to the words being used as well as the emotions behind them. If in person or on video, watch body language also. You will get distracted – that’s normal. Remember, practice is perfect so keep trying!
Try eating mindfully.
Whether you’re planning a fancy holiday meal or not, try imagining you’re eating at a very fancy restaurant. Take 3 intentional breaths before starting your meal. Then, work on savouring every bite. Take in every colour. Pay close attention to all the different textures within your meal. Consider doing this a few times per week outside of the holidays to practice being present while eating.
Practice gratitude often.
Take a few minutes daily to reflect upon what you’re grateful for that day. Consider also setting aside a little longer to reflect upon the last month, or entire year (there will be something to be grateful for!). This practice can help sway our mind’s focus more strongly to the positive aspect of our lives. It can also connect us to present and invite more to be thankful for.
Try writing things down. Writing can be a very powerful method to shifting your perspective from moment to moment.
Spend time outdoors mindfully.
Winter in the Northern Hemisphere comes with a lot of indoor time for many of us. And never has this been more true than this winter. Spending time outdoors in the winter doesn’t have to involve expensive equipment or long drives. A simple 20 minute walk outdoors, while staying present to your surroundings can do wonders for our mental health. It’s also great practice for bringing more mindfulness into your day.
Questions to ask yourself:
What do I see? Are there particular sounds coming to my attention? How about smells? How am I feeling in this moment?
Remember to turn those phone notifications off though. Or perhaps leave the phone at home to minimize distractions.
Interested in making mindfulness a regular part of your life so that you can live with more energy, focus and awareness everyday of the year?
My 1 to 1 coaching program does just this.