5 Mindfulness Tips For a Stress-Free Holiday Season

Mindfulness Habits for the Holidays

The holidays will be here before we know it… do you have a plan for managing the season with less stress?

One of my favorite stress-busting techniques is mindfulness, which simply means focusing your awareness on the present moment. Contrary to popular belief, mindfulness doesn’t require ignoring your feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations. Rather, you calmly acknowledge these things before refocusing on the present.

I’ve used mindfulness as a therapeutic technique with patients here at Foundations Counseling countless times, but you can also tap into the power of mindfulness in your everyday life. Start using these 5 tips now and throughout the holiday season, and see how much more enjoyable this time of year can be.

1. Identify your triggers

Everyone has triggers, or things that really grind our gears. For some people, it might be a family member’s passive aggressive comments, loud children, or long lines at the store. Many triggers can’t be avoided or changed, but identifying them is a great first step to better coping.

Don’t stop at identification, though. Reflect on how these triggers make you feel and behave, then move onto the next tip.

2. Make a plan

Once you’ve reflected on your triggers, try making a plan for a more mindful reaction. Instead of loudly sighing and rolling your eyes at a family member’s passive aggressive comments (which would be a mindless reaction), plan on laughing or taking a sip of water. Visualizing your plan in action will make carrying it out much easier.

3. Let go of expectations

This one might sound counterintuitive after I just suggested making a plan, but sometimes even the most well-thought out plans aren’t meant to be. During the holidays, any number of things could go wrong — flights get delayed, that perfect gift could be out of stock, a family member could get sick, and the list goes on.

Rather than getting attached to the way you think things should go, choose to roll with the punches while staying present and grounded.

4. Express gratitude

Actively expressing gratitude isn’t just for Thanksgiving. When you need to bring your mind back to the present, start listing all of the people, places, experiences, and things you have to be grateful about. You can write everything down if you want, or try setting a timer for 60 seconds. When the timer goes off, take a moment to pause and reflect on the blessings in your life.

5. Be mindful of your own needs

In the chaos of shopping for gifts, attending holiday events, hosting parties, and more, it’s easy to forget about being kind to ourselves and attending to our own well-being. Self care looks different for everyone, so figure out what helps you feel more relaxed. If you’ve completely forgotten how to get some “me” time in, this resource will be a big help.

Our caring therapists can help you cope with stress during the holidays and beyond. Contact us today!