Minding Yourself at Christmas - with Mindfulness
With Christmas just around the corner it’s worth pausing for a moment and identifying self-care practices that can help protect your mental and emotional health and reduce the negative effects of stress during the holiday season.
There are so many wonderful ways to practice self-care like taking a bubble bath, switching off your phone but especially protective is the act of being mindful of the present moment. You could opt to pay attention to sounds surrounding you or the breath moving in your body. Mindfulness offers you a practice that is an inner-resource there for you at any time; any place, allowing you to become your own best friend.
Ingredients for a mindful moment include awareness of the present moment, self-compassion towards yourselves and non-judgement.
To think about how this could be beneficial for your health, consider mindfulness for a moment to be like gardening. If you were to tend to a garden and do some weeding every day for a short amount of time, you would become aware of what types of plants exist, what’s growing well, what not so well.
Similarly, if we tend to our thoughts and emotions through mindfulness we become more self-aware of what’s occurring internally, what needs more care, what needs pruning. Over time with this little bit of daily care, the garden becomes a calmer, less overwhelming, more spacious place to be and so too do our own lives.
Christmas is the season to eat, drink and be merry but as we know it can sometimes come with added stresses be they financial or emotional. Loss can be more acutely felt amidst this season of reunions and togetherness. Mindfulness doesn’t stop the stressful events from happening but it does offer you a chance to respond to stress from a calmer, clearer position rather than reacting from an overwhelmed one. For example if you are prone to using distractions to avoid stress – be that with food, shopping, alcohol or even your phone, Mindfulness can help you see and be aware of this habit as it is happening and offers you the choice to choose differently.
So try a little bit today, sit comfortably, keep the time realistic and manageable, perhaps 3-5 minutes and connect to your breath. If you would like to practice a guided Mindfulness meditation you will find one on our website page. You are also welcome to attend Mind Body Ireland’s next “Introduction to Mindfulness” workshop at Essential Wellness in the New Year!