Christmas and seasonal holidays may be a few months away yet, however the mindfulness you work with now will impact your post holiday period and whether you will find yourself laughing or frowning.
Often holidays come so quickly that people scramble to keep up… keep up with social activates, holiday gift giving, and the energies that come along with busyness of the season. It might have you feeling a little numb, mindless rather than mindful, and surprised to see the credit card bills, the extra pounds, or the emotional tole your left with when its all over.
Here are a few suggestions that might invite the holiday season to be more meaningful, not because we are adding more and more to it, but because we are mindful of moments and experiences and enjoy them however they show up. Despite the many ways this time of year can pull us out of balance, with some of our own attention, with self-care, and by making small behavioural shifts, we can experience enjoyable holidays.
1. Be mindful of your money when it comes to gift giving. Start now to look at your budget and see what you can comfortably spend when shopping. Rather than relying on your credit cards, allow yourself to be guided by what you can afford. No one, who wants the best for you, would want you to put yourself in distress because of what you thought you had to, or wished you could, buy them. Make a plan based on what you can afford now and in the upcoming months, and include yourself in your well-wishes by giving yourself the gift of taking on no additional debt.
2. Prioritize. You've looked at your money now look at your naughty and nice list. Who is on your list that it is important for you to give and gift to? Is there a particular item you feel you must buy or that you've already committed to and must move forward with? Put that on the top of your priority list. Add other people or organizations and continue to list everyone you would like to give a gift to, with most important at the top. How many names and causes are must do’s? Look at your budget and start to decide what you can spend and what gifts you could afford and would feel good giving. As you move down the list, if money gets scarce, what other ways could you give to them? Is it your time? Is it a service you could provide? Is there something you could make? What way can you find to give while not hurting yourself by spending beyond your means?
3. Pay attention to your energy levels. In the same way we can get carried away with spending and credit cards, we can spend more of our energy stockpiles than is good for us by extending ourselves beyond balance and self-care. Choose wisely how to spend your time. What activities would bring the most enjoyment? What are the priorities?; for example a child’s Christmas pageant or your volunteer day in a local soup kitchen? Don't over extend yourself. Adjust as needed.
4. Take time to turn inward and connect with the spirit behind the holiday season. Whatever holiday or tradition you are celebrating, what holds meaning for you? What rituals fill you with a good feeling? For me, my father and I used to go out, buy a Christmas tree together, and bring it home to decorate. To this day, setting up the Christmas tree, with special ornaments and music playing, fills me with a peace and happiness I cannot describe. What brings you into your inner peace? Is it singing songs, making special foods, prayer, particular people or events? Is it being out in nature alone, skating with a friend, or card games with family? Leave some spaciousness in your time, your energy, and your budget so you can connect to the source and reason for the season.
5. Lastly, practice gratitude and appreciation for whatever circumstances you find yourself in. Start now. No matter what you can or can’t spend, what you can or cant do, watch the subtle feelings and self-talk that can steal your well-being. You know these; they say – “not enough” “should” and “something is wrong.” Turn your mindful attention to finding the good, the blessings, and the things already here to celebrate. This is an investment that will provide you with wonderful memories and a foundation for the many future holidays to come.