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  • Writer's pictureMichele Andorfer

Mindfulness During the Holidays: Strategies for Staying Present and Centered

The holiday season is fast approaching, and the whirl of activities will soon be ushering in a new year. Unfortunately, what is supposed to be a time of gratitude and family gatherings can quickly become an ongoing, dreaded list of things to do.


As the year winds down, it’s important to keep our focus on what truly matters. For me, it isn’t about the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. It’s about the connection with family and friends. Making an effort to practice mindfulness will help you stay present and centered when your to-do list starts to fill up!


Why Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness is the practice of checking into your present feelings. Particularly when life gets busy, it is easy to gloss over emotions and get into a rhythm of task completion, looking at every day as something to conquer rather than to savor and enjoy.


Ironically, the holidays can only exacerbate this issue. Instead of staying present and honoring each moment as a gift, we tend to be wrapped up in what needs to be done rather than the “who” or “why” of the happy season.


So, how can you stay present and centered this year?


Strategies to Stay Present and Centered

Being mindful of your surroundings and trying to enjoy the season is important. Here are some of my favorite strategies to use when things start to feel out of control:


Delegate Your Duties

Even in the regular day-to-day, it is easy to take on too many responsibilities. Saying “no” to unnecessary tasks is the best way to start. Before saying yes, pay attention to your reaction to a new obligation. If you feel yourself bristling or feeling overwhelmed by one more thing, give yourself permission to say “no.”


After you have reflected on the things that you feel are a necessary part of your life, consider if any of these tasks can be delegated. Members of your household or work team could collaborate or take on chores to help, depending if it is a personal or professional obligation.


Push Aside Pinterest-Worthy Perfection

Many people feel they have to live up to impossible expectations based on what is posted on social media. Are there people who have picturesque holiday tables, complete with hand-stitched cloth napkins and gracious guest favors? Probably. But it’s also worth noting that time, money - and, likely, stress - went into it. A picture doesn’t always capture the whole truth!


Hours of preparing food will almost always end in a meal consumed in far less time with crumbs and stains adorning the meticulously placed table settings. Painstaking efforts taken to wrap gifts will still result in crumpled papers on the floor. Decorating efforts will also eventually be placed into totes and bins for the next time around.


Prioritize What Truly Matters

Get rid of the idea of maintaining a picture-perfect atmosphere. This will help you prioritize what really matters! The focus on time with the special people in your life doesn’t require ironed linens or a buffet spread that shames Gordon Ramsay. Whether you serve pizza or a ten-course dinner, enjoying time with those you love, and giving yourself peace of mind in the process, should be your goal.


As the adage says, less is more.


Mindfulness can be achieved in the busiest of scenarios. By focusing on what truly brings joy to yourself and the people that you love, you can stay present and centered this holiday season!


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