Written by Natalie Glennon
The holidays are here, and you know what that means! It’s time for inordinate amounts of shopping, cooking, entertaining, and a flood of other responsibilities. Go, go, go!!!
If you’re thinking oh god, not again—you’re not alone. The holidays come with high expectations and no shortage of chaos, so it makes sense that you might be feeling more dread than excitement.
But there’s no need to panic. With our list of mindfulness tips and techniques, you can reprioritize your sanity and find moments of balance and tranquility throughout this busy time of year.
1. S.T.O.P.—Check in with yourself.
When you’re caught up in the stress of a busy day, try grounding yourself with this mindfulness technique:
- S: Stop what you’re doing. Take a moment to pause.
- T: Take a few deep breaths. Maybe even meditate if you’d like.
- O: Observe your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. Try to do this from a non-judgmental perspective—simply name what you are experiencing.
- P: Proceed to give yourself the support you need. Maybe you could benefit from a break, a stretch, or words of encouragement.
Using S.T.O.P. can help you check in with yourself, regulate your stress response, and recognize your needs during a difficult moment.
2. Fill your cup.
…And I don’t mean with wine. Take a moment to ask yourself these questions and jot down your responses:
What fills my cup, and what drains me? In other words, what makes you feel revitalized, and what drains you of your energy?
If a holiday activity is particularly draining to you, then you can balance it out with something that will help you refill your cup afterwards, like connecting with loved ones or spending some time alone. When scheduling out your day, remember that this balance is key in preventing overwhelm and exhaustion.
3. Move your body.
According to the research presented in Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily and Amelia Nagoski, engaging in physical activity is the most effective way to relieve stress and prevent burnout.
This holiday season, aim to move your body for at least 20 minutes a day to complete your stress response cycle. Whether you’re walking, dancing, biking, or doing yoga, the point is to move your body in a way that feels cathartic and invigorating to you. You can literally shake the stress off!
4. Practice gratitude.
A well-known practice in positive psychology, gratitude fosters a wide variety of physical and mental health benefits when practiced daily or even just three times a week. Making a gratitude list can be as easy as jotting down thoughts in your notes app, on a post-it note, or in a gratitude journal.
When we reflect on the minor details of life that are often overlooked or taken for granted, we challenge the tendency to fixate on issues and imperfections, resulting in a positive mindset shift. If you want to experience improved sleep quality, reduced stress, and stronger feelings of resilience and life satisfaction, make gratitude a part of your self-care routine!
5. Connect with your inner child.
With all of our responsibilities piling up, it can be easy to lose sight of what we actually love about the holiday season. By incorporating play into your life and engaging in activities you loved as a child, you can remind yourself of the joys of holiday festivities. Here are some ideas for ways you can connect with your inner-child:
- Play holiday-themed games
- Do arts and crafts
- Drive around to see holiday lights and decorations
- Curl up with hot chocolate and a movie
- Host a pajama party
6. Break down tasks into manageable pieces.
One way to prevent feeling overwhelmed by your holiday goals is to break down your tasks into bite-sized pieces. Take the first thing on your to-do list, and divide it into three chronological steps you can take to complete the task. Then work on it piece by piece, even if some steps seem exceedingly simple.
Seeing the step-by-step breakdown of our tasks makes us less likely to feel intimidated by our responsibilities, procrastinate getting started, and feel guilty for not doing “enough.” With this technique, every step counts.
If your to-do list seems longer than Santa’s naughty list and you worry you might be spreading yourself too thin, there is absolutely no shame in asking for help and delegating responsibilities to others. Chances are, your loved ones care about you and your wellbeing, and they would be happy to give you a break if you asked for it. This can help ensure that you get adequate rest—and I don’t just mean sleep—meaning you have the capacity to enjoy the things you truly care about, such as quality time with said loved ones.
Understandably, however, asking for help can be daunting. You might feel like it’s an admission of failure, or you might be afraid to give up control. That brings us to
8. Embrace imperfection.
Instead of trying to live up to the impossibly high, commercialist expectations of the holiday season, challenge yourself to embrace a mindset of “good enough.” When we try to force change or perfection in our lives, this often results in stress, frustration, and even resentment. When we cultivate mindfulness and acceptance, however, we can live with more ease and satisfaction as we roll with the punches and maintain focus on what truly matters to us.
This mindset shift can help you gain perspective on your priorities, address problems without magnifying them, and increase resilience and openness to new experiences. Of course, this is easier said than done, so it’s important to also give yourself grace and compassion when making this effort.
9. Use affirmations.
Affirmations are encouraging statements that can promote relaxation, motivation, or positive self-talk. Whether you write them down, use them as visual reminders, or repeat them to yourself, affirmations reframe your thoughts to focus on positive change rather than negative experiences. Take some time to explore different affirmations and find ones that resonate with you. Here are a few of our faves:
- I am doing the best I can, and that is enough.
- I let go of what no longer serves me.
- I deserve to protect my peace and my energy.
10. Get organized with a mindfulness planner.
Now that you have all these tips under your belt, there is one last essential resource to add to your self-care toolkit: a mindfulness planner. With our thoughtful journaling prompts and comprehensive schedule spreads, our Wildflower Company Planner can help you utilize ALL of the above tips and incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.
Our planner not only organizes your daily responsibilities, but it also makes it easy to self-reflect, set goals, and maintain a clear focus on your priorities in life. We offer both physical and digital undated, 12-month planners that will meet your mindfulness needs throughout the holiday season and into the new year. When you choose our planner, you also choose a life of balance and intention.