BEING MINDFUL DURING THE HOLIDAYS
We all know the Holidays are a time to reflect on what we are grateful for in our lives. It is also a time to come together with family and friends and focus on the most important things; love, spirituality, and mental and physical health.
There are plenty of reminders throughout the season to focus on the important things whether it be gatherings or what we see and hear through media, which is so wonderful and a blessing.
With all of the positives of the holiday season, there also comes the aspect of overindulging and consumerism which can really take away our focus on what’s truly important. With that being said, it’s important to understand why human beings seem to always be in the state of wanting. Once we can find awareness with this, we can learn how to be mindful during the holidays.
What drives us to always be in the state of wanting? Many Psychologists believe the main reason humans become consumed with materialism is because we do not address our psychological needs and our feeling of inner disconnect. As human beings, it is normal to have feelings of “separateness”, or feeling isolated. These feelings can trigger negative thoughts and increase our desire to find something that will soothe those thoughts. We purchase material items in good faith that it will in return give us happiness. And while it may give us a sense of satisfaction, it is usually temporary. Looking to material things is typically an ego-driven act and aims to fulfill a desire to make ourselves feel whole and significant. This brings us down the rabbit hole of comparing ourselves to others. It becomes a pattern, where we always find ourselves wanting more and more without alleviating this psychological conflict within ourselves. The only way to feel whole is by working on ourselves by practicing methods of mindfulness and having gratitude for what we have.
What is mindfulness?
You might be wondering what mindfulness means. Sure you have heard the word before but do you have a real understanding of its meaning?
mind·ful·ness – a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Mindfulness can be practiced during the Holidays for many things. We can practice it during our time of gift giving, eating, and choosing who we surround ourselves with. It is an important technique that allows us to check in with ourselves and be honest about what we really want in life and whether it will serve us positively or negatively.
Being mindful when making purchases can end up saving you money in the long run. You first want to start with awareness. Not only do you want to be aware of how much you are spendingbut also you want to be aware of what you are buying and whether it’s something that will bring value to you or the person you are buying for.
After bringing focus on awareness, you want to also make sure your intentions are there. Shopping with intention means we are shopping with a purpose and in a manner that reflects our values and morals.
For example we might buy items that might be pricier but better quality and last us longer. Or we might choose to buy from companies that run ethically and reflect our values. It can also simply mean we take the time to research our purchases before just jumping in blind. The last bit of mindfully purchasing is acceptance. After deciding what you want to buy, focus on the present and look at the purchase with unconditional acceptance. This can mean not judging yourself if you feel like you’re financially on another level than your friends or family. It’s important to remember everyone’s financial situation is different because everyone’s life is different.
In summary, when looking to purchase goods for yourself or for others remember to be aware, set intentions, and find acceptance. In the end, this will help you find peace and gratitude with material items and save you money!
Mindful Gift Ideas When thinking about what gifts to buy someone, think about what they might need first, then think about something they are passionate about. When buying gifts, think creative, not expensive.
Gift cards for groceries, gas, etc
Buying a few months worth of a cleaning service
Buying a few months worth of a food delivery service such as Blue Apron, Home Chef, Sun Basket
Gift Cards/ certificates to yoga, massages, etc…
Themed gift baskets: craft basket, food/ beverage basket, art basket …
Personalized album, calendar, etc..
Donating your services
Whatever your gifts or purchases might be, always remember to check in with yourself and ask yourself “will this bring value to mine/ their life?”.
As the world gets seemingly faster, it’s more important than ever to build the strength of presence within ourselves and in our families. Please take this time to slow down and focus in on all the joys the holidays bring and really be in the moment. Try steering clear of social media , or maybe just pause and look around and take in the sweet moments of food cooking and family laughing.
After a trying year, it's more important than ever to reflect on all the good that is with us and lets take that feeling right into the new year!