As we begin the marathon of holiday festivities and tasks, Dave Johnson, PhD, CNS- BC, LMFT, employee assistance specialist, Parkview Health reminds us to slow down and tune into our senses.
There is so much to take in this time of year. We can prime our mindful muscle to savor all the season has to offer, by tuning into our senses. What am I seeing? What am I hearing? Feeling? Pausing periodically throughout the holidays is a good practice. We can wake up and set the intention to be present, and even find cues in our everyday routine. The sound of bells, for example, is synonymous with the holidays. Maybe the bell becomes a call to come back to present and wake up to notice.
Learning to savor
I think we need to savor. It’s alright to partake in foods or beverages we only have once a year, but we have to be mindful not to overconsume. Savoring is about noticing what these dishes really taste like or smell like. It’s about slowing down the process. The practice of savoring with food flows over to savoring other things in our lives.
When we insert an intentional pause, we can notice the joys taking place around us and watch through the eyes of children or elders. We can listen to stories and savor our connection to other people.
A mindful break
Over the years, I’ve learned to occasionally step outside and reboot. I’ll go into another room just for a bit and come back to the festivities. This practice gives me an opportunity to reconnect and reenergize myself with being present. As we practice mindfulness, we become attuned to things like assessing whether we’re in a safe space or we need to make an exit. Perhaps our kids are starting to meltdown or the adults in the room are starting to get a little hot. If we pay attention, we might notice tension in our jaw or chest, and we can come to a place of curiosity and notice we’re getting worked up. This allows us to disengage and walk away and start a different conversation.
Being present to experiences
Sometimes we have an expectation about how things should go based on how they went in the past. We spend a lot of energy trying to create peak experiences, but most peak experiences show up when we’re available and ready to receive them. I encourage you to wake up and notice what’s right here, right now. Ponder what was a peak experience in the past and be present for the unfolding of this year’s experiences. Happy holidays, everyone.
For more on mindfulness during the holidays, read “Being mindful of holiday stress and joy” and “Mindfulness, busyness and the holiday jeer”.