It's officially the holiday season, and we all know what's coming: the work parties; the friend gatherings; the family traditions; the crowded stores; the endless travel; the impossible "to do" lists; the ongoing phone greetings; the piles of holiday cards; the gift buying and wrapping and giving and returning; the need to be in three places at once so we can all see each other and celebrate joyfully together! Okay... ready, set, go!
There is so much to do during this season that the joy, fun and magic can be lost and STRESS can enter in! But wait. This time of year does not need to be crazy. If we're honest, we can admit (at least to ourselves!) that the season isn't out of control. We are!
We choose to over-eat, over-shop, over-drink and over-extend. We choose how many cards to write, parties to attend and presents to purchase. We may not be able to stop the busy-ness of this holiday season, but we can choose to let go of some of the unnecessary madness, take a deep breath and slow down. We can find more peaceful ways to spend our time by choosing to be mindful.
Health and school professionals frequently discuss the multiple benefits of incorporating mindfulness into our lives. As we witness increased anxiety and stress amongst our students, we are considering how mindfulness can be used to help increase social, emotional and physical well being, improve the quality of both thought and feeling, and support learning and growth.
Mindfulness is not just a bunch of skills to learn: it's an intentional way of being. It's cultivating a practice of being fully present through pause, breath and focus. It's connecting with the little things happening that we often miss as we rush through our high-paced, modern day world. It's also being fully aware of ourselves and understanding what we think, feel and need at any given moment.
A recent article on the Huffington Post describes The four C's of Mindfulness: Calm. Compassion. Clarity. Choice.
to read some wise and practical suggestions on how to use mindfulness to help get through the holidays or any overly busy time of life.
As we enter this holiday season, take a few minutes each day
to be mindful. Choose to celebrate the holidays by connecting with the present, fully experiencing the people, places and things that often pass us by, and taking time to be thankful for the blessings in our lives.
Holiday joy and peace to you all!