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If even thinking about Christmas gives you anxiety, read this

How to spend the holidays mindfully

It is December, which means the holidays are approaching. Time to take a couple of days off work, spend time with loved ones and relax… but who are we kidding, anyway? For many people, the holidays do not look how they’re spend in Christmas movies at all.

holidays mindfully
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There’s unrealistic expectations, ridiculous expenses, forced get-togethers, six-course dinners with barely anything you can eat without getting an allergic reaction, family drama and not to mention more stress than during the rest of the year. If you’re overwhelmed already, read on to find out what you can do to spend this year’s holidays mindfully – without feeling the urge to disappear until it’s all over.

Spend the holidays mindfully with these tips


#1. Don’t be afraid to say “no”

One of the primary causes of holiday stress is caused by the fact that we’re spreading ourselves too thin. There is really no reason to accept every invitation that you get, especially not if that means you won’t have any time left for yourself. Be okay with kindly declining. “No” is a complete sentence. You do not owe anybody an explanation about why you won’t be there. And if you’re afraid of FOMO, don’t worry; that will melt away once you’re snuggled up on the couch in your pyjama’s. Because let’s be honest, isn’t that the most relaxed way to spend the holidays?

#2. Try something completely different

Having a big Christmas dinner at someone’s house is sort of the go-to plan. But it can be very refreshing to try something completely different for a change. Why not invite the fam over for a long walk through the woods combined with a picnic where everyone brings something homemade? Or maybe just a stroll on the beach with some hot chocolate afterwards to warm up? These are plans that don’t involve hours in the kitchen or losing the entire day after cleaning up the mess everyone left behind. Plus, getting outside and moving are two things we’re not doing enough in this time of year, so it’s a win for everyone.

#3. Volunteer

Something else you can do differently this year? Volunteer! See if you can pick up a shift at your local soup kitchen, organise something at the community centre or maybe (if you prefer animals over people) help out at the shelter. Helping those less fortunate is something you can do by yourself, but who knows? Maybe you can even convince some family members, friends or neighbours to join you! It’s a great way to bond!

#4. Make time for self-care

The holidays are all about compassion for others. Which is great, except that we often forget ourselves in the process. So plan in some self-care time – yes, actually put it in your agenda, so that nobody can take it away from you. Do whatever you like. Meditate, do yoga, spend time in your mindfulness corner, get a haircut, treat yourself to a massage or a sauna day or try one of these self-care ideas. However, maybe the best way to care for yourself right now is simply going to bed early. It’s all up to you. And don’t forget that these acts of self-care are no less important than what you invest in others.

#5. Allow yourself to feel everything

A good way to spend the holidays mindfully is to let go of expectations. But that’s easier said than done, and feelings seem to be amplified in this time of year. That’s okay! Instead of suppressing those feelings and putting on a fake smile, just allow yourself to feel it all. Whether it’s joy, sadness, compassion, disappointment, connection, social anxiety, gratitude, frustration, security, resentment, love, or something else entirely, just let it in. However, instead of getting wrapped up in your feelings, try to simply observe them. Maybe you even feel comfortable enough to share them with your loved ones.

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