THIS time of year always carries mixed emotions…anticipation and stress coming up to Christmas, the gloomy dread of volatile weather, hope (or dread) for the New Year.
Immense pressure is placed on us earlier and earlier each year when it comes to buying gifts, avoiding the flu, decorating our trees (I’m looking at you, over-eager neighbour with Christmas lights up on November 1st). But there are a few things we can do to make it more enjoyable…
1. Don’t Give In To The Pressure
Easier said than done, but you can separate yourself from the incessant buzz of materialism mania this season.
Yes, we live in a capitalist society that is more concerned with what kind of iPhone your five year old has than how happy they are as a person, but YOU don’t have to succumb to it.
I use a great mindfulness technique: watch the goings-on as an amused, impartial observer. As if it’s all a crazy television show.
Don’t spend what you don’t have, teach your kids to appreciate the smaller things and remember that the best parts of Christmas can’t be bought (a timeless cliche, but true)…arguing with siblings over the dinner table and watching crap TV.
Seriously. They rarely come to fruition, and studies suggest that if you verbally tell others about a goal, you are less likely to achieve it.
Your brain thinks, ‘Oh well, I’ve said I’m going to lose 50 pounds in January so it’s basically a done deal.’
Nope. Come Spring you’ll most likely be sitting crying into your tub of Ben and Jerry’s loathing yourself for your lack of willpower.
Implement small acts towards change that bring you closer to your goals on a daily basis. Seeing gradual results in the present is what will motivate you to succeed, not grandiose and unrealistic hopes for the future.
It’s not the latest fad, it’s not just for hippies and it really works. The basic principles of slowing down, being mindful and bringing your awareness to the present are simple techniques that anyone can learn.
Scientists suggest just ten minutes of meditation a day can produce significant benefits, and over time can actually alter the way your brain functions in the long term.
Regular sessions can greatly reduce stress, anxiety and depression, while making you more efficient, productive and able to cope with difficult situations.
People tend to think of meditation as something they should probably when they ‘have the time’, but taking a small part of your day to come back to the present and give your mind this time to restore should definitely be a priority.
4. Artificially Regulate Your Sleep Patterns
Sounds weird, I know. But ‘Wake Up Lights’ can be a godsend on dark winter mornings, mimicking the steady sunset and sunrise in your bedroom so you can defy nature and encourage more natural sleep.
Technology can be awesome sometimes, take advantage of it.
Click HERE for one highly recommended on Amazon.
5. Think Like A Kid
Do you remember when snow was the most exciting thing ever? Adulthood makes us over-think.
We become suffocated by our stresses, giving them too much energy and forget to just experience life without so much attachment.
Children tend to naturally live more mindfully, seeing the beauty in things we as adults overlook.
So climb a tree, build a fort, listen to the rain for no reason…you’ll be surprised at how fast your mood shifts.