As we move into the holiday season, I want to share some insight on “Festive Stress” and how to navigate this season by being mindfully present.
According to a recent survey conducted by ABC News, 45% of Americans shared that they would prefer to skip the holiday season due to added stress.
From the American Psychological Association, nearly a quarter of Americans reported feeling extreme stress during the holiday season. From this survey, almost 80% shared that a “lack of money” was a primary stressor – followed by time and pressure to give.
So this holiday season, be intentional about how you are going to take care of yourself. Be mindful that in addition to stress in our daily lives, there can be added stress this holiday season and during the winter months, i.e. Seasonal Affective Disorder.
“Your life requires your mindful presence in order to live it. Be here now.”
So, how can we navigate this season by being mindfully present and taking care of ourselves? Below are two of my top insights for giving yourself the space you need to be mindfully present this season.
Understand Shifting Set
Shifting Set is a coping strategy. It is the ability to adapt or shift attention from one task to another in rapidly changing environments. We do this daily – whether from home to work, from work to an outing with friends, or from home to a gathering with loved ones.
Consider how quickly you’re adapting and shifting your focus from one to another. Now consider the addition of the holiday season or change in weather. These small seasonal additions to your daily life can lead to additional stress – making these environments more challenging for adaptation. When we think about what we do automatically in our daily lives, even the smallest additions can greatly impact our bodies.
Lowering the expectations for yourself and others this holiday season will help in being more mindfully present. With a greater understanding that many experience additional stress this time of year, the greatest gift we can give is to be mindful of this nugget and be present.
Consider picking up a pen and paper and comparing and contrasting from last season to this season. Ask yourself, did you have expectations you held for yourself or others, and how do they compare? What does it look like when you shift set and approach this season being mindfully present?
“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.”
Body Scan | Reflection Time
Find a check-in phrase and do a complete body scan. A good example would be if you find yourself feeling extremely fatigued, use a hashtag or phrase #sleepmore or #findrest and start your body scan, here’s how:
-Close your eyes and take a couple of breaths
-Do a couple of shoulder shrugs
-Sit quietly for a few minutes
-Ask yourself, “what do I need?”
Keep breathing and then ask what do others need? Use your phrase when you feel overwhelmed. Whatever you need to move through the holiday season and stay present.
One of the greatest pulls on people moving through the holiday season is to have a perfect holiday. Unfortunately, perfection is not guaranteed, especially with outside elements that are beyond our control.
When we are actively mindful and present, we have created mental space for things to flow just as they are – reducing any added stress that can be caused by the holiday season or the winter months. Happy Holidays from the 9paths team. Remember to take care of yourself and your needs first. Need additional support this season? Give us a call and let’s connect!