The holidays often start long before any specific date, and likewise, usually last until long after. Family may be staying in town, or you may find yourself still doing some last minute gift giving or traveling to see old friends.
At this point in your “break” you may find yourself looking for ways to quiet your mind and maintain balance, as its natural for your body and mind to take time and adjust to your new surroundings. It can be difficult, especially if you’re away from home and the usual spots you prefer to sit and meditate, but it’s not impossible. Consider these few techniques for regaining mental clarity, and try applying them to your own holiday (or sharing them with a stressed loved one!).
Get Present with yourself
First, get comfortable where you are. The most important thing is to let go of that feeling of rushing around, and that means you need to let go of anticipations and get present with the moment at hand. Take a few deep breathes and allow your body to relax and come to itself. Don’t worry about adjusting yourself as much as feeling where your body is. Think about where you body was before the holiday, and consider what’s changed. Take a moment to just work through a few sets of breathing, focusing on the inhalation and release of your breathe.
Remember the Heart of the Holiday
With your mind tuned to the present moment, I suggest taking a few minutes to reflect not on the past events of the holidays, but on the inherent purpose and heart of the holidays. What holiday did you celebrate, and why? What does it mean to you, and what does it mean in general? This about this for a moment before moving on.
Often times, our adoration for the mission of a holiday eclipses our actual actions, putting us at odds with the very reason we are so jubilant. Stores lines become long, parking lots become full, and naturally people become frustrated. Perhaps you had a frustrated bout or two over the last few weeks. It’s not something to be ashamed of (in fact, dealing with these challenges is where we develop the mindfulness and strength to improve future action!). Instead, what’s most important is to constantly remind yourself of the purpose that has brought your friends and family together over the holiday. By doing so, you calm yourself in stressful situations and will notice a certain lightness about your step – some might say that’s the holiday spirit!
Make Time for You
The holidays are certainly a time for giving, but you must remember that you – your vessel – is still deserving of attention and affection. It can be tough to step out of the family environment at times, and sometimes family can make it even harder to go, but by allowing yourself short periods of rest and solitude. Go for a short walk, a jog, or a simply go spend an hour at a cozy coffee shop, perhaps catching up on that book you recently started.
Keep Yourself Balanced
Over the next few days, remember to focus not just on the energy around you but the energy within you. Maintain balance by remaining present with yourself. Take time to both reflect on why you’re celebrating a holiday and how your treating yourself while you do it. The holiday is supposed to be a time of rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation – let it be!