This Holiday Season Take Time To Meditate

The holidays are great and all, but there’s no denying that this time of year can also be a very stressful time of year for many people. Whether it is because of financial strain, travel delays, or simply not having enough time to get everything completed by the big day. There is so much going on that it would send anyone into a holiday frazzle!

That’s where meditation comes in. It’s one of the hottest mind-workout trends of the year and is a key tool I use with my clients to create a healthier and more balanced life. And for good reason; it works. Science shows that combining meditation with exercise can decrease depression, reduce stress, relieve emotional pain, and even make you happier and more compassionate. In other words, it’s exactly what you need leading into the holidays.

In the fitness industry, I often see a decline in workouts and commitment to mindful eating in December and a huge increase in January following the New Year’s resolutions. However between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the time we need to exercise, meditate and pay attention to what we put into our bodies the most. As we all know, exercise can help to combat the extra pounds and to also increase endorphins to make us feel more vibrant and happy. Meditation is also key to enhancing a sense of joy and peace. When we feel we have no time for ourselves is when we need that time the most.

This holiday season make time for you, even if it is just twenty minutes of exercise and five to ten minutes of meditation daily. This important time is well spent and necessary for your overall wellbeing. The efforts that you put in now and during the holidays will result in a renewed sense of clarity and energy in the New Year. In my coaching practice, I prescribe at least 3 workout sessions a week along with 5-10 minutes of daily-guided meditations to my clients. This ensures that they look and feel their best throughout the holiday season and that they gain mental clarity so they can cope with any stressors that may arise.

But before you unplug for those few minutes—which you can turn to as often as you need, take a moment to memorize these stress-relieving tips that will have you going into the holidays as cool as a cucumber.

Breathe

If there’s one thing to focus on in meditation, it’s your breath. And that’s exactly what’s going to get you through those pull-your-hair-out moments with your mother-in-law and insane shopping days at the mall. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by challenging moments, pause and take one mindful breath. Close your eyes, follow your inhalation all the way in, hold for a count of two and then slowly exhale allowing your body and mind to let go. By taking a couple of deep breathes will take you out of the stressful situation and back into a moment where you can respond mindfully rather than react on emotion.

Recognize Your Similarities With Others & Have Patience

When you’re feeling annoyed by the differences you have with friends or family, or you’re feeling hurt by a family member take a moment to put yourself in other’s shoes. Recognize that this person has wants and needs, just like yourself and they want to be loved, just like you. By doing this simple exercise, it can remind you that we’re all in this together, that we are all doing the best we know how. It helps to decrease the blame and encourages compassionate responses and understanding of others.

Be Compassionate

Showing compassion for others creates a sense of peace with most people or situations. However it is important to understand that being compassionate does not always mean being passive and that you have to forfeit your own passions and beliefs just to keep the peace. Sometimes the best thing to do is to walk away from a situation when it gets to be too overwhelming. And if you can’t walk away, then focus your attention on your breath and bring yourself back to a centered frame of mind. You may not be able to control the situation but you can control your reaction to it.

Pause to Acknowledge Your Feelings

During moments of overwhelm or if you’re feeling lonely, which can happen when you’re frantically trying to cross items off your to-do list with no help, or if you are alone for the holidays. Stop and center yourself. Put your electronics away, find a quiet place and take a deep breath. Repeat to yourself “You are loved, you are not alone, I’m here for you” Stop your inner critic voice from coming out and making you feel bad for how you’re feeling. Taking that moment allows for you to pause and to acknowledge those feelings of being overwhelmed and to come back to your awesome, taking-care-of-business self.

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Karen Gallagher

Karen Gallagher

Karen has over 20 years of combined experience as a personal trainer, nutritionist, transformation expert and holistic health coach. Her holistic health coaching offers an individualized process to help you move forward in life and to end the diet/binge cycle for good.  Karen has had tremendous success working with people of all walks of life including high profile athletes and executives. She truly believes that every […]

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