We often promote mindfulness throughout the year and the concept of being present in the moment and connected to those you are with or what you are doing. But then December rolls around and everyone is going a thousand miles an hour ticking off their to-do list and getting to all those appointments, social engagements, school concerts and Christmas parties. Yes, there is lots to do and for some obscure reason we try and complete our year by ticking every little thing off before the new year arrives.
How about we all take a deep breath, and assess this festive season and determine how we can not only survive it but rather enjoy every moment along the way. There are so many things I could list here, but here are my 12 steps to a more Mindful and Merry Christmas.
Make an occasion of Christmas preparations
Whether it be decorating the Christmas tree or wrapping a pile of presents, make it a festivity in itself. Include friends or family, turn on the Christmas carols and most importantly put your phone down (or away). Take the time to enjoy the moments in the lead up to the celebration of Christmas. They too can be a part of spending time with loved ones and enjoying the season—not just the one day.
Connect with yourself
So often Christmas is all about those around us or sadly those who are no longer with us. But what about you? What can you gift yourself this month? Make time for yourself, take a bath, go for a walk and clear your head, why not watch your favourite Christmas movie? The more opportunities you take to ‘fill your own cup’ this month, the easier it will be to get through your demanding festive season schedule. As they say ‘you cannot pour from an empty cup’.
Eat well, sleep well and exercise. It’s harder to do at this time of year but probably more most important during the silly season. If you nourish your body with all that it needs to function well, you will get through the busy times with much more ease
Whilst caring for yourself, it is pertinent to understand that not every list will be completed nor will everything be perfect this Christmas. And you know what…that is completely fine!
Lighten your load
You don’t have to be ALL things to ALL people. If you are really busy its ok to decline some invitations. If your lists are long, who around you can be enlisted to help? At the clinic we plan on celebrating Christmas as a team in the New Year, when we can truly relax, connect with one another and be grateful for the year that was. I love this idea, and it allows the magic of Christmas to extend beyond the 25th of December. And for this busy mum it certainly lightens my busy schedule and load.
Roll up your sleeves, involve your kids (or friends) and indulge in homemade treats. It’s the best way to control all the hidden nasties that come with pre-packaged Christmas fare such as gingerbread, mince tarts and puddings. There are even some amazing and delicious healthy options around these days. Try Quirky Cooking to get some inspiration.
Consider making gifts
Baked goods, plants, something crafty. The list is endless. There is something so much more rewarding when giving a loved one a gift that you have put your own love into. If you are clever enough you could sidestep the drama of a big shopping centre all together.
Consider our environment
There is so much paper, plastic and waste that comes with Christmas. At this time of year we go from being citizens to consumers, and that is not great for the environmental state of our world. Get creative and find ways to minimise the consumerism, and better still reduce landfill. Consider wrapping gifts in a pretty tea towel, or using a lovely pillow case for the kids gifts tied with a bow to resemble a Santa sack. There are so many ways that we can minimise the one time use of gift wrap, and add to the value of a gift at the same time. And this is just one way we can be environmentally friendly this Christmas. For more ideas on how to have a more environmentally Christmas, follow this link!
Consider giving a service
Speaking of consumerism, let’s ask ourselves this question—why does a gift have to be a physical item? It’s great for kids to get involved here too. Why not give mum a months’ worth of help around the house, or perhaps gift dad three lawn mows in the New Year. If your kids have their licence perhaps Nana needs a voucher for a personalised Uber service to a few of next year’s appointments? Again, the list is endless!
Consider those less fortunate
Unfortunately, with all the consumerism that Christmas brings there can be a magnifying glass placed on what we don’t have. There is always someone less fortunate than ourselves. Donate to a charity, put a gift under a wishing tree or even donate your time. Giving doesn’t necessarily mean a material thing. Our time is precious, so quite possibly the most valuable thing you can give.
Be mindful of others…
…and understand that not everyone wants to celebrate this Christmas. Cultural diversity, religious beliefs, grief and personal circumstance are all things to consider.
Slow down, breathe and enjoy the ride
Going faster doesn’t mean we achieve more. And at Christmas time we are scared to slow down our fast paced lives. At a recent Melbourne Uni event that I attended with my son, we were shown this clip as part of a resilience and coping lecture. It has nothing to do with Christmas and is actually a road safety advertisement for speeding. However it really resonates with me and I think it’s a fabulous note to finish on. Take note of its message and enjoy the ride this Christmas.
Have a merry and mindful Christmas!
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