A Holiday Gift for You

Jingle bells, pinecone smells
Bringing stress today.
Oh, what fun it is to slide
Through all the holidays.

Jingle bells, Christmas bills
Will this ever end?
Where to now? We’re almost done
So we can party with friends.

Dashing through the snow,
Lists clutched in each hand
What to get with dollars stretched
And please the merry band?

Holiday Stress

In a frantic state of mind during this holiday season? Stressed? Frustrated? Expectation of a Hallmark Christmas dashed once again? Often, these icky feelings are exaggerated by fears of the future and memories of the past. Too many commitments, flu or illnesses, and stretched wallets can compound this mixture. You already know you create stress through your own perceptions and self-induced pressures. Anxiety about an imagined future event, that troublesome family member at the dinner table, out of your control? Sure heightens tension and takes away fun times, doesn’t it? More than four hours with family members? Time for a break. Memories of holidays past with loved ones who have passed can lead to depression. You can implode with fatigue and grief.

Gift Yourself Peace of Mind

Want to slow down your pace and gift yourself with peace of mind this season? Here’s a simple three-minute process that’s just the ticket. This practice can be part of your life as you tool through town in your car or enjoy your cup of coffee, creating tranquility and an appreciation of the festive spirit around you.

To begin, in a quiet room (or even in your parked car or at your kitchen table).         

  • To begin, in a quiet room (or even in your parked car or at your kitchen table) . . .
  • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, expanding your rib cage and breathing from your diaphragm. Take a moment to notice what’s happening in your body. Are any parts tight? Heavy? Flow relaxation to those areas as you pay attention to what’s going on inside.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply for another minute. Breathe in pure relaxation. Breathe out all that tension. As you breathe, remember you’re not trying to change anything. You are simply paying attention to what is going on inside you.
  • Notice what you’re saying to yourself. Helpful? Or no longer useful? Focus on the positive and let the rest go. Thoughts may come in, and thoughts may go out; they’re of no concern to you as you drift and float and relax.
  • Listen to the sounds around you. Just listen. No need to identify each one. Notice the silences between each sound. Again, be aware of how your body feels. After a few moments, slowly open your eyes.

This process of mindfulness will allow you to gather your thoughts, relax your body and create a beautiful place of well-being. You can release holiday depression, anger, and out of control emotional responses to family members, allowing you to choose more peaceful options. Those Christmas lights will twinkle more brightly, and you may even find yourself happily humming familiar carols as you go about your day. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

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