With all the build up and rush over the Christmas and holiday season it is easy to run on auto-pilot, stressing about what to buy, who to buy for, what to have to eat for Christmas Day and Boxing Day as well as preparing for New Year’s Eve and keeping the kids occupied for more than a day.
Anxiety and stress levels rise around this time of the year. Family issues, separation and depression can be the fallout in the lead up to Christmas. It is no wonder people are more often talking about trying to keep things simple instead of being caught up in the hype of consumerism and worry.
Here are some tips for how to have a mindful Christmas:
- Aim to enjoy Christmas. Rather than making the big day all important or a measure of your success or failure, see it as one day where you can be with friends, family or others in a friendly fun way. Look forward to the festivities rather than dread the preparation for them.
- Mindfully put aside any bad feelings towards those you don’t normally like or get along with. It is only one day and you can be big enough to be polite, civil and calm.
- Practice gratitude for the gift of family, friends, good food and time spent together. Everyone has made an effort to contribute in some way and now is not the time to judge others for what they have given or not given.
- Aim to make Christmas memorable. Take photos, write cards or loving notes, give small meaningful gifts. Home made jams, chutneys, floral arrangements, cards and other gifts are all gratefully received and the thoughts behind them last a lot longer than the big day.
- Be helpful. Don’t leave things to one or two people. Help with setting the table, contributing to the food, organizing the kids with games and activities. Be aware of what needs to be done to help out.
- Prepare a list of people to thank for their support, guidance, help and love during the year. Include neighbours you have had a warm relationship with or even just a regular friendly wave to each day. Visit a neighbor who may be alone or invite them along to your celebrations.
- Stay sober enough to enjoy the conversations and to help out with activities. Christmas Day is not an excuse to imbibe to excess and become unruly, argumentative or over emotional. You all decided to get together to be with each other in a meaningful way so keep that in mind.
- If you are on your own, put on the radio or tv and watch the carols, concerts from around the world, church services and hymns or whatever your interests are. Get a DVD of your favourite Christmas movie or music and have that playing throughout the day. Phone relatives or friends to wish them a Merry Christmas and catch up on news.
- When you sit down to your Christmas meal, take time to mindfully eat, savouring the textures, flavours and smells. Mindfully put food on your plate, being aware of how much you can eat to avoid waste and a distended stomach. You can always have more later. Thank your host for their care and effort in making the food for your enjoyment.