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A Mindful Christmas - how to make this festive season the most wonderful time of the year

Written by Sarah Loker



‘Tis the season to be jolly… although it can paradoxically be a particularly stressful and anxious time for many. Whether it’s feeling the pressure to pull off a picture-perfect Christmas dinner, being overwhelmed by the constant whirlwind of social commitments and to-dos in the days leading up to Christmas and New Year’s, financial stress, and family tensions, can often get in the way of what’s supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year.”


Mindfulness is a wonderful way to counteract stress and anxiety during the Christmas season - with mindfulness techniques and practices, we can reduce feelings of overwhelm and learn ways to manage stressful periods at all times of the year. 


Mindfulness is the quality of being present, aware and fully engaged in whatever we are doing in a given moment. When we connect with the present moment, it is harder to become distracted by the stressful thoughts and feelings, and in the end they are less of the focus. When we experience life from a more mindful perspective, we are able to appreciate the joys of every moment, reducing the focus on those festive anxieties. 


The late Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh said that “the most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.” There is a lot of pressure to spend money on materialistic items at this time of the year, but presence is one of the most precious gifts we can give at this (and every) point in the year, adding far more value to our and others’ lives than any material object can. 


Learning to be present through everything that the season brings - whether that be warmth, joy and connection, or animosities and tensions - without needing to change or fix anything, is a superpower that we can use at any time of the year, whenever life’s challenges arise. 


This is the season for gifting and giving, and that shouldn’t end with you. For many, Christmas is a time where we put ourselves last, focusing instead on others to make sure they have a magical experience at this time of the year. But we cannot give from an empty cup, so it’s important to prioritise yourself and gift yourself moments of self-care and relaxation. It’s vital we take time to nourish and support ourselves at all times of the year, but it’s perhaps most important during this gifting season. Whether that means scheduling a fitness or yoga class for yourself, taking a long bath, meeting up with a close friend for a coffee, or simply taking time to read a book, thinking of these as little presents or gifts to yourself is a great way to ensure you feel your best as we enter the final part of the year.


If you’re interested in finding out more about mindfulness and how it can help reduce stress, tension and anxiety, join Sarah for a regular weekly class on Wednesday evenings - Studio: Mindfulness. In this class, you will be introduced to accessible practices and tools to help manage the difficulties and challenges of modern life, to soothe, support and assist you on your journey to lead a happy, healthy life. Disconnect from the pace of the external world, and reconnect with yourself and the present moment. Studio: Mindfulness, every Wednesday, 5:30-6:15pm at The Studio, Bartlow. Click here for more details.




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