5 Tips for a Mindful & Joyful Holiday Season
It’s almost here, friend...
The holiday hustle ‘n bustle is just around the corner!
We’re T minus 7 days until Thanksgiving and the unofficial start of the winter holiday season here in the States.
(Buuut if you’re a holiday fanatic like me, then you’ve already started listening to Christmas music, burning the evergreen-scented candles, and watching Hallmark’s endless variety of holiday romance movies! Yeap, I go all in starting November 1st so I’m already waist deep in the season.)
And I’m going to guess that you’ve got a to-do list long enough to carry you from today straight through to January 2, 2022.
As we head into the busy season, it’s so easy to get lost in the chaos of planning—all of the organization that goes into travel and meals and parties and school breaks and closing out the calendar year at work and…
Let me take a deep breath—*woo sah*.
Okay, I’m back.
But seriously, in the midst of the hectic holidays, we can lose sight of the joy and the reason we get so invested in making this season bright—creating happy memories with friends and family, reminding those around us that we love and care for them, taking precious moments to just be together in celebration.
A key component of mindful living is learning to enjoy the moment you’re in. That can be so easy to overlook when we’re drowning in the overwhelm of planning.
Don’t get so focused on preparing those upcoming joyful moments that you forget to soak up how much joy is in this moment.
Of course you’re going to love the moment when your kids open that magical gift you bought them. But guess what? That’s not the only special moment.
Take a beat to enjoy reading the wish list they made, and let yourself smile at all of their big dreams, even if there’s no way they’re going to find a real-live unicorn under the tree this year.
Of course you’re going to love the moment when your family gets to sit down to their big holiday meal.
But take a beat to really savor the moment when you curl up with a hot cup of tea and sort through recipes as you plan your menu.
Of course you’re going to love the moment when your family is all snuggled down under the blankets watching The Grinch.
But take a beat to enjoy getting your house cleaned and ready for guests. Light that sugar-cookie-scented candle, crank up your holiday playlist, and sneak in some dancing while you vacuum. (If that sounded super specific it’s because it totally is! #KarensHolidayJoy)
Use mindfulness to catch the joyful moments that happen every day.
Here are five tips to help you do just that...
1. Get lost in the little moments. ✨
Instead of aiming for a perfect holiday, let yourself sink into the richness and warmth that the holidays bring. Release yourself from the pressure of getting every detail “just right,” and instead, remind yourself to take mental snapshots of all the beautiful moments you couldn’t possibly have planned—the moment when your kids’ eyes light up as bake with you, the sound of your family laughing at the slightly wonky gingerbread men, the way the dog curled up and went to sleep near the fireplace. Make those the memories you carry forward.
2. Take a break from being Santa 🧑🏽🎄 and be an elf instead.
If you’re usually the go-to person for all of the holiday planning, take a step back. Ask friends and family what they want to do, and then just revel in supporting their plans and being a helping hand in the moment. It’s just as fulfilling to support someone else—you’re bringing them relief when they need assistance while also celebrating their special holiday traditions by letting them take the lead. That’s a heartfelt gift.
3. Treat yourself. 💝
We spend a lot of time thinking about how we’re going to spoil and pamper others during the holidays. And listen, I absolutely love that! It’s good for our hearts to love on others and see their joy. But don’t forget to do things you enjoy, too, even if it means that you’re taking breaks from group activities. You don’t have to apologize for wanting to read that delicious new mystery your sister-in-law gave you or use one of the bath bombs your mom made as stocking stuffers or get in a good stretch on the yoga mat your daughter picked out for you. In fact, that’s exactly what this season is about!
4. Rest. 💤
It’s not just about doing something you love, sometimes it’s just about doing nothing and loving it. How often do we look back on our time off over the holidays and think, “Man, I wish I’d made some time to just take a nap in front of the fire.” Friend, take that nap. It might be tempting to binge aaaaaallllll of the Hallmark Christmas movies (ahem, yes this is another confession #KarensHolidayJoy), but make sure you’re getting regular sleep. This is the time of year when everyone expects us to be a bit disconnected, so give yourself permission to focus on relaxing. Kick up your feet in those new fuzzy socks. Drink a big ol’ mug of hot cocoa. Stare into the fire and just be.
5. Spread kindness. 🤝
Don’t forget to donate time or money or energy to helping others who may not have as much. Lean into the feeling of gratitude that you experience during the holidays, and then think of ways that you can pay that forward in your community. And get your kids involved, too! Every year my kiddo and I sort through his toys, and he donates anything he’s not playing with that’s still in good condition. It helps him develop gratitude and empathy, and it prevents both of us from getting swallowed by the overwhelm of being surrounded by too much stuff once January hits.
(What can I say? It’s the season of giving, guys!)
6. Celebrate your work family. 👩💻
It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, the end of the calendar year always feels like it moves at twice the speed of the previous 10 months, right? So find ways to press pause and celebrate your team. You don’t have to break the bank to do it... you can either stock the break room with fancy teas and snacks and encourage them to step away from their desks to enjoy it, or if your team is remote consider buying them each a small gift (I love this adorable gift guide from foodnetwork.com) and send it to their home, or simply write each person a short handwritten note thanking them for their biggest contribution to the team in 2021. Remind them that they are part of your extended family and you see them, even during this hectic time of year.
Remember, friend, mindfulness is about setting your own pace for life.
Whatever it is that needs to get done, if the overwhelm starts to kick it, take the time to stop and fall behind that hectic energy. Instead, shift yourself into the peace that’s always found in the present moment.
That’s exactly what Stop & Shift is about—bringing yourself into the present moment so that you’re never delaying joy and peace and gratitude, saving it up for that magical moment in the future.
Life is fullest in THIS VERY MOMENT, my beautiful friend.
Don’t miss a second of it.
Hiya! I'm Karen.
My main goal is to give you the mental skills you need to experience less stress and more joy.
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