As 2017 comes to a close, give yourself space to reflect on what has transpired – what do you want to take with you and what do you want to leave behind?
This time of year is nostalgic, joyous, and bright for some… for others it can be chaotic, triggering, and emotionally charged. I believe in being kind and mindful year-round, but I think it’s especially important to open our arms a little wider and smile a bit brighter during the holiday season.
As 2017 comes to a close, give yourself space to reflect on what has transpired – what do you want to take with you and what do you want to leave behind? Winter invites us to go inward and take care. I’ve been settling into warm, cozy nooks, practicing quiet daily rituals and getting plenty of restorative rest. Whether you are celebrating and spending time with friends/family or taking time to pause and breathe – try to nurture yourself and others.
These practices are for you to come back to when you’re in need of perspective or sweet and simple medicine during the holiday hustle.
Practice simple daily rituals for inner peace and quiet.
Try getting up 5 minutes earlier every morning. Before you reach for your phone or jump up for coffee, sit up in bed, close your eyes and breathe. Let yourself ease into the day.
Light candles or incense around your house in the morning…so simple but a lovely way to practice presence.
Give yourself extra time to make and enjoy your tea or coffee in the morning. Try to keep your phone/computer out of reach and sit with the morning light.
Practice acts of love. Often.
With few exceptions, we don’t really know what is happening in other people’s lives, minds and hearts. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own circumstances and forget about outward suffering. Together, let’s commit to taking a step back and finding small but impactful ways to connect, in real life. A few suggestions…
Ask the barista or person checking you out at the grocery store how they are doing. Look them in the eyes and acknowledge them. People want to be seen.
Treat the person behind you in line to a cup of coffee.
Smile at a complete stranger and say Hello!
Compliment a co-worker on a job well done.
Send friends or family members a note and let them know you appreciate and love them.
Be mindful of indulgence.
I believe we are what we eat and most things in moderation. I grew up in a house of foodies and was raised to indulge mindfully. What we put in our bodies affects our overall health, when we nourish ourselves with real food and sprinkle in a treat here and there, we are much more likely to maintain mental, physical, and emotional health. It can be difficult to find balance this time of year in the midst of all the holiday parties. I say, if you want the cookie, eat the cookie…drink the wine, just not ALL the wine. Be mindful when making choices and aware of what you are putting in your body. No need to deprive yourself and definitely no need for judgment or guilt.
First of all, we are incredibly lucky to have friends and family in the first place – that doesn’t mean quality time doesn’t come with challenges. There is no perfect family. I try really hard not to set expectations of what the day will or will not be and allow it to unfold. I also try not to bring old stuff into a new day (tough one.) I find the best way to enjoy myself and relax is to come back to compassion and patience when I feel myself getting frustrated or anxious. The holidays can be super fun and super stressful. Setting clear boundaries before going into a situation is key. Give yourself an out, step outside for a few deep breaths if you get overwhelmed and come back with a clear head. Everyone will benefit.
Give the gift of wellness.
Everyone loves receiving presents, but I do think the holidays can spin out of control in this department. Try gifting your people something that is good for them and/or someone else. Look for products that are aligned with wellness. Yoga or exercise classes or clothing, natural beauty products, a company that donates a portion of the proceeds to charity. A little research goes a long way.
Photo by Matthew Johnson.