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    Mindful Holiday Guide

    The holidays can be a time of great excitement, joy, and connection… but it can also be extremely overwhelming, and may bring up feelings of grief, disappointment, sadness or even anger. Our natural tendency might be to push the latter away and fully dive into the holiday spirit. If that doesn’t feel like the best route for you this season, consider what it might feel like to engage in a mindful holiday season.

    Presence vs. Presents

    It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of receiving (or giving) the perfect gift around this time of year, but today we are talking about a different type of “presents”- PRESENCE. We might find that our mind often lives in the future (I need to do XYZ before my parents come into town., I wonder what everyone will think of my new recipe?, How in the world will I fit in all the holiday parties?!) or the past (I wish I could travel to see my family like I have in previous years., How could I enjoy the holidays without –insert loved one– there this year?) Future or past thinking can be helpful in moderation, but when we find ourselves living in that space, we can feel extremely disconnected from the here and now.

    To be connected with the present moment, we have to practice being intentional with our focus. You can practice being present during any activity by bringing your full attention to the activity you are doing- yes, that means no more multi-tasking! If your mind easily wanders from the task at hand, use your 5 senses to keep you grounded (i.e. What am I seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling / touching, smelling in this moment?). Some festive ways you can practice being present:

    • engaging in your favorite holiday tradition
    • observing holiday lights / décor
    • baking / or being your favorite chef’s taste-tester
    • connecting with a loved one

    *Remember, the trick here is to immerse yourself fully and solely on this one activity

    Gift of Self-Compassion

    As noted above, sometimes we can feel the pressure of being “merry & bright” during the holiday season. But what if that is not truly how we are feeling? Just like we make space to put out our holiday decorations, we must intentionally make space for our emotions- no matter what they may be. One way to do this is practicing mindful check ins with ourselves.

    Take a few minutes each day to ask yourself:

    • What am I feeling in this moment?
    • Where am I noticing this emotion show up in my body?
    • What thoughts are running through my mind?
    • How do I want to respond to this situation (instead of just reacting)?

    It is truly an act of self-compassion when we acknowledge how we are feeling in any given situation, without the need to change or criticize it. 

    Bountiful Boundaries

    Another way to show up for yourself this holiday season is to consider what boundaries you will need to practice to feel safe and respected. A few areas to consider boundaries might be around your…


    “I will only be staying at the party until 7:30pm.” “I’m sorry, I am unable to make it this time.”


    “I can only bring 1 dish to the holiday dinner.” “I am not able to pick you up from the airport this year.”


    “I’m not really a hugger, I prefer handshakes.” “I am feeling tired, I am going to take a break.”


    “I would prefer not to talk about XYZ, please don’t bring it up again.” “I appreciate your advice, but right now I just need you to support me by listening.”

    Reflection, not perfection!

    The holiday season is conveniently placed at the end of the year, creating a wonderful space for growth, reflection, and gratitude. Focusing on things, people, or events you are grateful for has been found to improve mood and sense of connection with others. Reflecting on what has gone well in the past year or what could have gone better, allows you to consider what you would like to cultivate in the coming year and what may no longer be serving you. Ways to practice this could be…

    • Journaling 3 things you are grateful for
    • Setting intentions for the new year
    • Visualizing a specific moment in time when you felt joy and gratitude
    All In Bloom wishes you a safe & gentle holiday season.