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Mindful : December 2014
The holiday season can be challenging. Our “to do” lists are huge, so we race through each day, trying to get things accomplished, and often end up feeling stressed. This year, add some sanity pauses to your schedule to calm the chaos and help you embrace the potential for joy that the season presents. Here are ways to help you be more mindful this holiday season. Your Guide to Enjoying the Holidays 1 Go deep Take time to reflect on what the spirit of the season means to you. Explore your feelings and become awa re of how powerful and beneficial feel- ings of love and compassion toward others can be at this time of year. Then deepen that experience by reaching out to share it with others. Attend a group practice, go to a church service, or to your community center to volunteer. Being pa rt of something bigger can help you remember your t rue focus. 2 Devise a big- stuff strategy Pla n well ahead, making deci- sions for yourself a nd jointly with others about what will happen during the holidays and who is responsible for what. Ensure everyone has ample time to ma ke appropri- ate arrangements and every- one should agree at the outset that unless there a re critical unforeseen events, pla ns will not change. 3 ...and a small stuff strategy Spend 5 minutes every morn- ing planning your day. Sit with a cup of java or tea and write out an action plan. When will you fit in medita- tion, some fitness, time for yourself? Have you planned a healthy dinner? If not, what ’s the plan for buying one? If there’s a hectic day ahead, your plan will help you stay calm a nd focused. 4 Banish stress by making time to meditate Our lives can be very hectic during the holidays, so it is important that you schedule some regular meditation practice. Remember that in moments of stress, it is in our power to step back, breathe, feel the sensations in the body, examine them with curiosity, and move on. 5 Manage expectations People often have unrea- sonable expectations about what constitutes a “perfect” holiday. Don’t be drawn in, stay true to yourself and lea rn to say “no.” You cannot be present for yourself or others if you’re feeling taken advantage of. Or if you find yourself reverting back to old, negative patterns of behavior with fa mily because of their expectations of you, give yourself the gift of breaking- free by politely extricating yourself—go for a coffee, take a drive, and spend some time alone. → 11ways to take time for what matters PHOTOGRAPHS:©AFRICASTUDIO/DOLLARPHOTOCLUB,©ISTOCK.COM/BAIBAZ how to live a mindful life