Health Wise: Wishing You a Mindful Holiday Season! 

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This holiday season, many of us are getting to enjoy time with loved ones in a way we could not for the last couple of years. We’ve been able to gather and celebrate, and things have felt “normal” for the first time since March of 2020. However, with that normal comes holiday stress - keeping so busy with planning and buying that the holidays are flying by. Does that sound familiar?

As we mentioned in the last blog about mindful gratitude during Thanksgiving and beyond, many of us practiced a lot of mindfulness (whether we called it that or not) during the pandemic, such as spending more time with nature and hobbies, and might have lost some of that as things went back to normal.

So, here’s a holiday wish from us to all of you: slow down and be present. Here are some tips for mindfully tuning in to yourself, to loved ones, and to joy during the holidays:

  1. Slow down and look around. Notice the holiday lights and colors, decorated houses, fun sweaters, snowflakes, gingerbread houses. Everything that makes the holiday season so “merry and bright” is all around us, so look around as much as you can.
  2. Material things are not the only things. Despite the sales, gift lists, and pressure to be Santa for the little ones, this holiday is about much more. Giving time, attention, validation, and help often holds more value than material gifts.
  3. Savor the many tastes and smells of the holidays. Drink hot cocoa, savor the smell and taste of fresh baked cookies, light candles. Sit and appreciate each thing with your senses, and don’t rush or multi-task if you can avoid it.
  4. Listen to the sounds. Play your favorite holiday songs, and sit and listen, dance around, or sing along. While music can be great in the background of things like cooking, try making music itself the focus.
  5. Take a walk. Grab loved ones and walk together, or take some time to yourself away from the hustle and bustle. Take a walk after holiday dinner, and digest before the next course. Look around at holiday lights, smell the crisp winter air, and breathe.
  6. Write letters and cards. Letters telling others how much they mean to you or highly personalized messages in cards can bring more joy and warmth than any other gift! Try handwriting rather than texting/emailing, if you’re up for it.
  7. Put away the devices. Have device free dinners, game nights, walks, etc. Take a break from the screens and be present with loved ones and joyous activities.
  8. Set intentions for the coming year. As 2023 approaches, it’s a great time to start thinking about goals and intentions. Try journaling and/or discussing with others.

The winter holidays only come once a year, and as we have seen, suffering caused by pandemics, and war, as well as grief around personal losses, can steal the holiday spotlight and keep families apart. It is so crucial to appreciate and celebrate what we have now, because the future is never guaranteed.

Wishing you a joyful and mindful holiday season!

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