The holiday season might be “the happiest season of all,” but we tend to feel exhausted rather than grateful with the gift buying and preparations.
With Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve right around the corner, what if we focused this year on more mindfulness, allowing more cheer, more intentional moments, and slowing down to be present with each other in it all? Below are 5 simple ideas for the whole family to create an atmosphere of ease and connection during this holiday season.
- Talking and listening, mindfully
Regardless of what the dinner conversation becomes, do your best to listen mindfully to the person speaking. Instead of assuming what you might already know, take the opportunity to really hear what the other person is saying. Be aware of your tendencies to hear what you want to hear, instead of what is said. On the flip side, being mindful of your words and how you speak helps build meaningful relationships and conversations. A fun way to mix it up is to have a list of conversation starters to get to know people in deeper ways. While we think we know those around us, we often do not know their longings, fears, and inner worlds. The most important aspects of our common humanity are not shared.
- Practice gratitude
For obvious reasons, this one made the list! It’s the season of thankfulness and joy, and there is no better way to practice mindfulness as a family than by reflecting on the reasons you are thankful. Take time and have each family member share a memory or a person that made them feel thankful within the last year and why. Another idea is to share your favorite memory – before you know it, you will all be walking down memory lane, sharing stories of years past.
- Make a kindness list
‘Tis the season of making Christmas lists and asking for things you want – what if, as a family, you put together a kindness list? This is a list of ways you can help people in your community. Some things to consider, but not limited to donating toys to needy children or food to a food pantry, or bringing cheer to a shelter or to a family who needs help around their home?
- Take time for self-care
Give yourself and your family some much-needed downtime before the rush of company, holiday plans, and parties begin. Go on a hike, watch a movie together as a family, play a game together, read a book for yourself, enjoy a hot drink by the fire in the quiet of the evening, or spend an afternoon enjoying a simple day of relaxation at home.
- Clean and cook mindfully
Chances are if you are hosting over the holidays there will be a long to-do list full of cooking, cleaning, and prepping. Your days with your company will be full of conversation and things to do, so while preparing, give your mind a break. If you let it, taking care of your home can be a wonderful mindful practice. Allow your busy mind to take a break and focus on the sights, sounds, and smells of your home. Be thankful for what you have and how you get to honor your family in this season.
In this season of gratitude, find ways as a family to write or speak gratitude, serve others, and be mindful of all the simple moments of joy and laughter within your everyday life. Regardless of how you are spending the holidays practicing mindfulness throughout the season will ensure that you are present and enjoy it all! Reach out to Mindful Being for more ways to connect with someone who can help you enjoy the holiday season to its fullest extent.