As we gear up for the arrival of holidays like Thanksgiving in the U.S., Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, and others, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves feeling like we should probably take the time to plan way ahead of time for all these fun-filled festivities. Being intentional during the holidays (or anytime, really) starts with mindfulness, and now couldn’t be a better time to start implementing a few mindful habits before our favorite holidays are here.
Don’t wait until the day before to start deciding how you want everything to unfold. Here are some good, mindful habits to start working into your everyday routine now while there’s still time to plan for all the festive fun!
1. Incorporate poses that promote balance, calmness, and inward awareness into your yoga practice.
If you haven’t already shifted your practice in a way that synchronizes your mind, body, and spirit with the fall season, you may want to seriously consider doing it now that the you’ll have to find a way to balance your regular routine with the stress of the holidays. Balancing poses like tree pose can help bring your frantic mind back to a place of focus while poses that encourage you to turn inward, like child’s pose, will help you get back in touch with what you personally cherish and value most about the holidays so you can intentionally steer your actions toward those things.
2. Take a more minimalistic approach to your holiday planning style.
As you sit down to plan everything from decorations and parties, to gifts and baking, consider getting seriously honest about what won’t bring you or anyone else much joy or value so that you can scratch it off your list. Maybe skip the extra decorations this year, or kindly refuse to attend that friend of a friend’s holiday party. A minimalistic planning style doesn’t mean doing as little as possible — it means planning to do only what’s important.
3. Have a few stress-busting techniques you can turn toward.
Chances are things will come up between now and the end of the year that you didn’t expect, and your plan will run off course because of them. Make sure you have one or two go-to stress busters so you can avoid pitfalls like starting arguments with family members or overeating. Something like a mantra you say to yourself or an alarm set on your phone to do an emotional check-in with yourself can make all the difference.
4. Think about why you’re grateful for the people you have in your life.
During the holiday season, our desire to give toward others can often be overridden by feeling very pressured to give largely thanks to the extreme commercialism of the season. To get back to a more genuine state of wanting to give out of kindness and affection, identify what you’re grateful for about family members, friends, coworkers, and anyone else. It might just help you dig deeper into what makes them special so you can come up with great gift ideas.
5. Learn how to receive gracefully.
If you’re the type of person who feels uncomfortable with receiving gifts, compliments, or help from others, you’re not alone. Around the holidays, it can be especially uncomfortable when you’re programmed to think you have to do all the giving. To get more acquainted with the art of receiving, start taking notice of all the simple ways people generously offer things to you — like a smile from a stranger, or the space in a busy traffic lane that someone decided to make for you — and practice embracing your worthiness of that gift with kindness and gratitude.