Christmas is on it’s way once more! It is a very different experience for each of us and can get pretty stressful. Balance your health and wellbeing with these 10 tips for tranquility so that you can fully enjoy the festive season!
1. Gratitude practice
We have much to appreciate at this time of year. Home, warmth, food, friendships and family – the list is endless.
Thank you! Be specific and clear.
Think it frequently. Say it to others, say it to yourself and write it down as a practice. The habit of grumbling is easy to shift into a habit of gratitude. One that you may well wish to continue on into the new year.
2. Bathroom Tranquility
Whenever you head for the bathroom it’s your chance for a moment of calm and tranquility.
Be fully present as you run your hands and wrists under running water. In winter, the warmth of the water can feel nurturing. The smell of the soap or hand-wash can be a sensory enjoyment.
3. 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 on a park bench.
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 for a moment of peace.
4. Deep breathing
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, notice how you start to feel more relaxed. Try this any time you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed; it could be 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!
5. Jingle bells!
Wear bangles on your wrist or keep keys in your pocket. The sound when you move can be a present moment reminder.
It’s not difficult to be mindful but we are such creatures of habit that we are on auto-pilot much of the time. This is your chance to wake up in each of these moments! Don’t confuse this kind of sound with the jingle bells of Santa Clause as he rushes past in his sleigh!
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. Whether it’s 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.
7. Visualised breathing
Switch off all background noises and make sure you won’t be disturbed. This need only take 10 minutes.
Find a comfortable place to sit. Close your eyes, and combine slowed breathing with your imagination.
Imagine you are surfing the waves of your breath as it flows through your nostrils, your throat, your lungs and abdomen. Let relaxation enter your body and tension leave. Breathe deeply, with a slow and natural rhythm. Say to yourself: ‘I breathe in peace’ and as you exhale, ‘I breathe out tension.’
8. Seasonal Aromas
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 – notice the wonderful fragrances at this time of year – from rich, spicy mince-pies to pine cones, oranges and cloves.
9. The Sound of Music
You might find yourself surrounded by Christmas Carols and festive music. 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.
10. Sit and Enjoy
There can be a great deal of busyness with Christmas preparations.
It’s essential to give yourself time to sit and enjoy the festive season.
Settle quietly in the dark with just the lights lit on your Christmas tree. Allow your mind to 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. As you sit next to the glow of your Christmas tree, experience contentment and quiet joy!
Relax! Appreciate the special feel of Christmas.
Do you have any tips for remaining tranquil and calm at this busy time of year? Enjoy it all and appreciate!
Yvette Jane – Place of Serenity