How Parents Can Practice Mindfulness During The HolidaysDec 20, 2022
The holiday season is filled with joy and celebration. Still, it can also be a time of stress and overwhelming demands. Between shopping, cooking, cleaning, and attending holiday events, parents can easily get caught up in the hustle and bustle and lose sight of the present moment. That's where mindfulness comes in.
As defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, mindfulness is the practice of bringing one's attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental way. It involves being fully present and aware of one's thoughts, emotions, and surroundings without getting caught up in them. Research has shown that mindfulness can help reduce stress, improve mental and emotional well-being, and even boost the immune system.
Here are six tips on how parents can practice mindfulness during the holiday stress:
- Take time to breathe. One of the simplest and most effective ways to bring yourself into the present moment is by focusing on your breath. When you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. This helps to calm the nervous system and brings a sense of clarity and peace.
- Practice gratitude. It can be easy to get caught up in everything we need to do and all the things we don't have during the holiday season. Instead, try focusing on what you have and are grateful for. This can be as simple as taking a moment to appreciate the warm fire in your living room or the smell of freshly baked cookies. Gratitude helps to shift our focus from stress and negativity to appreciation and positivity.
- Engage your senses. Mindfulness is all about being fully present in the moment, and one way to do this is by engaging your senses. Take a moment to really notice what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. This can help bring you into the present and away from your racing thoughts.
- Practice mindfulness during daily activities. Mindfulness doesn't have to be reserved for special times or activities. You can practice mindfulness during your daily activities by paying full attention to what you are doing. For example, when washing the dishes, focus on the feel of the warm water on your hands and the suds as you scrub. When driving, pay attention to the road and your surroundings instead of getting lost in your thoughts.
- Take breaks from technology. Technology can be a great tool, but it can also be a major source of stress and distraction. Take breaks from your phone, laptop, and other electronic devices to allow yourself time to disconnect and be fully present. This can be as simple as setting aside a few minutes each day to sit in silence or taking a walk without your phone.
- Practice mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a formal practice in which you sit quietly and focus on your breath, an object, or a mantra. It can help bring clarity, calm, and a sense of perspective. There are many different types of mindfulness meditation, and it's important to find one that resonates with you. You can start by setting aside just a few minutes each day to sit in silence and focus on your breath.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool to help parents navigate holiday stress and find balance and peace. By taking time to breathe, practicing gratitude, engaging your senses, incorporating mindfulness into daily activities, taking breaks from technology, and practicing mindfulness meditation, you can cultivate a sense of presence and well-being that will serve you throughout the holiday season and beyond.