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Including Mindfulness in Your Holiday Celebrations

Vicki M. Taylor

Every year at this time, I tell myself that “this” year, I am going to relax, avoid overdoing and not get anxious. 

Does it work? Sometimes; sometimes not. 

Why?

Because I always have good intentions, then LIFE happens. You know, that “something” we can’t control.  Events we didn’t “plan” for like: Work. Family. Friends. Unexpected Visitors. Physical health crises. Sales. Party Invites. Food. Sales. And more Sales.

Does anyone else have the “shopping addiction” gene? I am raising my hand high. How do we get through the holiday sales without buying everything in sight? Usually, I throw items in my shopping cart “willy-nilly” thinking, “oh, if I don’t use it this year, I can use it next year.” Where does it end up? In a Rubbermaid container with all the other “someday” items in the garage or attic. Then, the next year rolls around and there I am, back in the stores, buying more holiday items without even thinking about what I still had at home.

This year, I tried something different. I added Mindfulness to my Coping Tools. Being Mindful helped me make conscious decisions and really think about each action I took, rather than get caught up in the hype and commercialism.

Here are some tips for being more mindful this holiday season.

1. Rate your priorities and values. For example, make spending quality time together rather than spending money.

2. Create a realistic budget with your spouse, partner and/or family and discuss each purchase to determine if it meets an actual need.

3. Create grocery and gift shopping lists and stick to your budgets, regardless of the store’s sale pressure tactics 

4. Plan your home decorating based on items you have on hand or use your imagination to turn every day items into holiday decorations with ribbon, bows, or baubles.

5. Purchase a pre-set number of stamps and cards and stick to list of friends and family.

6. Create a holiday letter than can be inserted into cards rather then spending valuable time repeatedly writing the same message.

7. Define dinner plans and menus well before the holiday when you aren’t pressured.

8. Limit the amount of sweet treats you will bake or purchase.

9. Pre-determine the amount of time and effort you will spend attending holiday party events with family or friends. Measure this time and effort against your priority list.

10. Have a contingency plan for unexpected events so that you don’t react to a stressful situation by getting off track.

11. Remember the true reason for the season and focus your celebrations according to your beliefs rather than getting caught up in society or commercial pressures.

Make your mental and emotional health a priority. Remember, it’s okay to say “no” and ask for help when you need it. If you find yourself getting stressed or anxious, use your coping skills. This time of year is meant to be about reflection. Be mindful of this by take each day as it comes and valuing your time rather than social or commercial pressures. 

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