It’s the time of year for traditions, memories and over-indulging. But don’t let it get stressful. Try these 10 tranquil tips for a Mindful Christmas!
1. Sit and Enjoy
Despite all the planning and shopping that may need to be done, give yourself time to sit and enjoy the festive season. Sit in the dark with a candle and the lights lit on your Christmas tree. Let your mind wander over happy memories of childhood Christmasses. Let the beauty and wonder you feel, spread through your cells and remind you of the good things you have in your life. Listen to the sound of the rain or the wind outside. The weather is constantly changing just like life itself but as you sit next to the glow of your Christmas tree, you can experience contentment and quiet joy! Spend simple moments in appreciation.
2. Find your Sanctuary of calm
Disconnect for 10 minutes to a sanctuary of calm. This could be your car parked out in the carpark, a cosy window-seat or a spot in your garden. Respect your need for replenishing moments of quiet, even amidst all the busy stuff! If you’re a dog-owner, you always have an excuse to leave a busy house and find calm as you walk with your four-footed companion. Whatever it takes – mindfully disconnect.
Wear bangles on your wrist or keep keys in your pocket so that the sound when you move is a present moment reminder. Incorporating mindfulness is not difficult but we are such creatures of habit that we are on auto-pilot much of the time. This is your chance to wake up! Don’t confuse this kind of jingling with the jingle bells of Santa Clause as he rushes past in his sleigh, although you could still use any similar sound as a present-moment reminder!
4. The Sound of Music
Take the opportunity with Christmas Carols and festive music around, to take time out to listen, with all your attention. Stop what you’re doing and give your full attention to one or two pieces. Music is very powerful because our minds are drawn to memories and associations. See if you can fully focus on the sounds. You might discover layers of sound you didn’t realise were there – a violin or a drum beat hidden beneath the tune you know and love.
Around Christmas time there are more opportunities to sip a seasonal tipple or share drinks socially. Whatever these drinks might be, bring your mindfulness to the process. You might be enjoying a rich Bailey’s Cream, a spicy Mulled Wine or a hot Ginger and Cinnamon Tea. Let yourself steep in the aroma, savour the flavours and relax your body’s muscles.
Enjoy the seasonal smells as you are cooking in the kitchen, shopping or walking in nature. We often take our sense of smell for granted – be mindful of all those wonderful fragrances at this time of year – from rich, spicy mince-pies to pine cones, oranges and cloves.
7. Bathroom Tranquility
Whenever you head for the bathroom you have an opportunity for calm and tranquility. As you run your hands and wrists under running water be fully present. In winter, the warmth of the water will nurture you and the smell of the soap or hand-wash can be a moment of sensory enjoyment.
8. Gratitude practice
There is so much to be appreciative of at this time of year. Having a home, being warm and comfortable, meeting up with friends and family, plentiful food and beautiful surroundings; the list is endless. Say it to others, say it to yourself or write it down to keep. Thank you! Be specific and clear. Do it often, and you may find those easy grumbles and annoyances fall into the shadows, overwhelmed by the easy practice of gratitude. It’s a habit you may well wish to continue on into the new year.
Imagine a spot just below your navel. Breathe into that spot, filling your abdomen with air. Let the air fill you from the abdomen up, then let it out, like deflating a balloon. With every long, slow exhalation, you may feel more relaxed. Try this any time you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed – maybe before you leave the house for a social event or in the middle of dashing madly round the house doing a week’s worth of cleaning in one morning!
10. Visualized breathing
Find a comfortable place where you can close your eyes, and combine slowed breathing with your imagination. Switch off all background noises and make sure you won’t be disturbed. This need only take 10 minutes. Picture relaxation entering your body and tension leaving your body. Breathe deeply, but in a natural rhythm. Imagine you are surfing the waves of your breath as it flows through your nostrils, your throat, your lungs and abdomen. Say to yourself: ‘I breathe in peace’ and as you exhale, ‘I breathe out tension.’
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach
Our 6-Week Course in Mindfulness & Meditation gives you lots of opportunities to practice tranquility and stress-busting techniques.