Like many moments of providence on this blog, today’s Wellness Wednesday comes at exactly the right time. Today, I actually wrote a little column for the resident newsletter at work about how to keep study momentum going during the holiday season. And I’m about to settle in to do a couple of more hours of work tonight. (Emergency situation, not my norm… don’t feel bad for me, though! These things happen!) All that to say, Wellness things are on my brain. And this brain needs a little mindfulness during the festive season.
What Even Is Mindfulness, Though?
“Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.”Greater Good Magazine
There are a lot of definitions for mindfulness out there, but this one really strikes me. I feel like some of the stereotypes about mindfulness evoke sitting in a dark room and mediating on one’s self. But mindfulness is purely about being in the moment you’re in, feeling your feels, and not feeling guilty about that. Whether you’re thrilled to be spending time with friends or overstimulated by being in a loud buzzy environment. It’s also about trying not to have your attention on other things you could or “should” be doing – something my fitness instructor friends have been talking about in class for years!
But I get it. It can be hard to focus on mindfulness during the festive season. There are so many demands on our time, it’s easy to drift to other tasks or fall into the FOMO.
So let’s talk about a few ways we can start cultivating mindfulness and finding moments of peace and joy during the holiday season.
Instead of thinking of mindfulness as another wellness thing we “have to do”, try considering it a gift to yourself during the holiday season. Staying present and savoring the beauty of each moment amidst the festive chaos can actually do wonders to reduce stress by clearing away noise.
The Gift of Gratitude
If you do it only one time a year, practice gratitude during the holidays. You can do the whole Gratitude Journal thing. Or if you don’t like writing, there are gratitude apps to help ground you in the moment. Or you can just take a moment each evening to reflect on your day before you climb into bed. You don’t have to record it, just give yourself that gift.
Crafting a Mindful Holiday To-Do List
This is something I talk about with my residents all the time at work. Expectations, goals, and plans need to be realistic, otherwise you’re just going to be bummed when you don’t meet all of your elaborate and effervescent plans. Not every night can be the perfect Hallmark movie night. Let’s also add chilling at home and getting things done to our holiday To-Do List. And let’s feel good about that.
Savoring Festive Flavors Mindfully
Ugh. Eating during the holidays can be complicated for so many reasons. Societal pressures, family pressures, cravings, guilt, nostalgia – there are so many factors at play when it comes to food and bevvies during this season. Y’all. I feel you. When you can, try to really be in the moment, enjoying the delicious thing you choose to enjoy. Leave the mediocre things aside. Try not to eat in front of the tv. Don’t starve yourself all day before a holiday party so you can really enjoy the few amazing things you want at the party, instead of shoveling things in because you just need food. (aka: the peanut butter marshmallow squares. Worth it.)
Live in the moment, but if you fail at it, I won’t judge you.
Honestly, that’s what this post can be boiled down to. Do the best you can to be in the moment you are in and enjoy that moment when you can. There’s no point in ruminating on yesterday or worried about tomorrow. Maybe it’s basic, but we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do.
And in the words of my favourite brainstorming buddy, ChatGPT, “As you navigate the glittering labyrinth of the holiday season, remember that the most precious gift you can give yourself is the gift of presence. In every Mistletoe Moment, find the magic of mindfulness, and let the spirit of the season illuminate your path to wellness.”
(God. Could they write all of my outros, if only they were less cheesy? Wait… no. Creatives, like me, deserve jobs.)