How to Use Mindfulness to Thrive (Not Just Survive) This Holiday Season

Blanche Baxter |

by | Updated: October 13th, 2020 | Read time: 3 minutes

The holiday season can be a magical time that sprinkles a blanket of good cheer over every situation. Love, comfort and joy are what the holidays are all about. Unfortunately, it can also be a stressful time when many people feel compelled to put on a persona of holiday perfection that is hard to maintain without burning out.

Mindfulness is a way to return to the present moment. It’s also an excellent way to return to what’s important when thoughts go a little haywire during daunting times of party planning, gift buying and family gathering.

Woman Who Learned How to Be Mindful During the Holidays Sitting Happily on Bed With Mug of Hot Cocoa in Hand |

How to be Mindful This Holiday Season

Stay present

How you do everyday tasks matters. The same activity can give you energy or take energy depending on the focus you put into it. For instance, making a pie or wrapping a present can be a stressful, rushed experience that’s just one more thing on the list of things you need to get done or it can be a moving meditation filled with love. The choice is the energy we bring to it. 

Take time to slow down and be mindful as you move through your day. Try and stay present as you do each task, instead of letting your mind skip to the next to-do items on the list.

If your mind wanders, just bring it back with your breath. Any time the strain of the season becomes too much, use your breath as a way to recenter. Focus on your breathing. Allow for a slow, easy in-breath, and then a slower release on the out-breath. Taking a minute to focus on your breathing will help to bring you back to the present moment and defuse any tension that is building.

Release control of outcomes and just be

When family and friends get together, tempers are apt to fly. Even though people want to forgive and forget during this time of year, old hurts and resentments tend to surface at unpredictable times. Mindfulness is also a great way to deal with these moments. It helps us to stay present and to recognize that we can’t control everyone or everything, so the healthiest thing is not to try. 

Stepping into the role of the observer is needed. Take a step back from events instead of getting caught up in them. This allows you to see that people are coming from their hurt spots being triggered, and that they are just reacting. You then get enough perspective to ask yourself, “how do I want to handle the situation?”

Taking a beat before responding gives you the distance to choose how to engage. It also allows you the space to respond beyond your reactivity and discover if you even need to.

Give yourself the gift of self care

Taking time for yourself is important. It’s easy to get lost in doing for other people. It’s important to remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have anything left to give to your loved ones.

Be sure to incorporate moments of self-love and self-care throughout your daily tasks. Give yourself a “time out” when things get overwhelming. Do a self-check-in to see what your body and mind need. Ask yourself, “Have I eaten a healthy meal,” “do I need sleep,” “would this be a good moment to take a break or take a bath or even schedule a massage?”  

How you talk to yourself is also important. It’s easy to be hard on yourself if you feel you are falling short of your or others’ expectations. Try and shift your self talk to more positive and caring words. You’ll find this improves your mood and shifts how you handle difficult situations.

Let in love

It’s easy to get caught up in all the holiday hubbub, but use your self-check-ins to reconnect with what matters. Put your time and attention into the experiences that bring you and your loved ones joy. If it doesn’t, it may be time to reevaluate it.

Life is too short to spend it focusing on the wrong things. Fill your holidays with the people and places that make you happy, and the joy you feel will ricochet across the world.