Most of us feel the pressure of this time of the year – more events, parties, drinking, food – less time. Here’s a reminder of some things to help keep us sane during this time:
- take regular 3-minute breathing spaces – bringing attention into the body… feeling the physical sensations present… connecting with the breath… noting any emotions that are here and letting thoughts come to rest without getting involved in the conversation – a pause in our mental activity as we rest in the body
- accepting that this is a crazy time of year and not expecting it to be different (avoiding arguing with reality)
- choosing the activities that give us energy and minimising those that don’t
Queues can be a big part of this time of year – in shops and on the road. We can use queues as an opportunity to practice Mindfulness:
- As we wait, tune in to the senses – really listen to each sound, make connection with the sense of touch, keenly attend to the sense of smell, and marvel at the sense of sight – without getting caught up in a mental story about what is being experienced.
- From the heart, silently send all the people in the queue good wishes for Christmas – even those people behaving badly.
- Choosing patience and peace when our external environment delivers something we hadn’t ordered. (Being patient and peaceful when we are getting our own way is not much of an achievement.)
And remembering the benefits of mindful stretching – whether that be a few minutes each morning or at chosen moments throughout the day. Mindful stretching is available to everyone regardless of age or ability. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Gently ease yourself into the stretch and you will find that with regular practice you will enjoy the strength and the sweetness of each pose and that your body will respond. Over time you will find your body opening up and your mind becoming receptive to kindness and love, for yourself and towards others.