In the last few weeks conversation has slowly moved to the topic of Christmas and how we will celebrate this year. Some people have clear plans, others don’t and some wish they did. Some people are able to create their perfect day and others have to accommodate family and friends.
On top of individual ideas about Christmas there is also many additional layers. There are layers of tradition, consumerism and ‘what do other people do’ that make deciding how to spend this holiday season very confusing and tricky at times.
Before we know it, rather than spending the holidays with the people we want to spend time with, doing the things we love to do, we end up getting caught up in “should” or “shouldn’t” thoughts, rules and obligations. This can impact our whole experience of the day. What we cook, what we do with our time, who does what, what and how many presents one gives or gets, and so on.
The pressure is often intensified by the belief that Christmas needs to be made special. Everyone must also be happy and smiling to create the perfect picture of a Christmas family. And finding the right gift and cooking the right meal will definitely achieve that, right? Or at least that is what the advertisements on TV try to make us believe.
In all the shining images on TV and in the shopping centres we can easily lose sight of what Christmas means to us. For some it is about celebrating the birth of Jesus, for others it is a time to spend with family, and for others it is a chance to slow down and re-charge their batteries.
Mindfulness can be a very useful way to pause and tune in with yourself over this time. It can assist in bringing awareness to the shoulds and the fears that are causing havoc in your mind. It allows you to stand back from your thoughts and look at why you are binding yourself to perfection.
Once we are mindfully aware of our internal turmoil or rush, we can choose to just be with the sensation and these thoughts. We can observe them coming and going and notice that we do not have to act on them, that there is a different choice we can make.
If you would like to make a different choice this year about how to spend your Christmas and what to prioritise follow the instructions below. This will allow you to pause and tune in with your actual intentions and wishes for this Christmas period.
Sit down in a quiet place and:
1. Connect with your body: Close your eyes and connect with the sensations of your seated body. Make sure your spine is straight, but not rigid.
2. Connect with your breath. Take three long, deep, nourishing breaths—breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Then let your breath settle into its own rhythm, as you simply follow it in and out, noticing the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you breathe.
3. Investigate your intention: Ask yourself: “What is my intention for this Christmas?” Use the questions below to help answer that question, as you think about the people and activities you will face. Ask yourself:
How might I show up during the holidays so that I can spend the time with family and friends the way I find meaningful?
What meaning do I find in Christmas?
What do I need to take better care of myself during the holidays?
During difficult moments, how might I be more compassionate to others and myself?
How might I feel more connected and fulfilled?
4. Set your intention for the holidays. For example, “I will be kind to myself; be patient with others; give generously; stay grounded; have fun; eat well,” or anything else you feel is important.
5. Throughout the Christmas period check in with yourself. Pause, take a breath, and revisit your intention. Notice, as you become more and more conscious of your intentions for each day, how the quality of your communications, relationships, and mood shifts.
With this, the Zest Infusion team wishes you all a merry Christmas and a great start into 2018.
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