With the holiday season upon us, there’s likely a feeling of overwhelm swirling around you as you try to fit in all the extra things that happen during this busy time. As parents, it can feel like the onus of a successful holiday for our family befalls solely on us. Ultimately, the burden of this expectation means stress becomes synonymous with this season.
Keeping calm can seem like an unattainable dream when you’re last-minute shopping for gifts or prepping for parties. However, it is possible to manage holiday stress by using mindfulness as your guide. How can mindfulness help? In essence, mindfulness provides a framework for being aware in the moment. So applying mindfulness strategies during the holidays means awakening to your situation and your needs while providing tools to address your stress.
Below you’ll find five tips for maintaining your sanity and embracing more joy and meaning during this time. As a special bonus, there’s a mantra or saying that you can repeat to yourself as a reminder to stay on track and focus on what’s important. Say the mantra in your mind when you start to feel overwhelmed or doubt your abilities. It’s a quick way to empower yourself with confidence, self-love, and strength.
5 Tips For Staying Calm During the Holidays
1. Presence, Not Presents
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and finding the best deals for gifts are top of mind for parents during the holidays. There’s a lot of focus and worry spent on thinking about things that we need to get done in the future. Plus, there is also a mentality of “just getting through” the busyness of the holidays. With both of these mindsets, the present moment is overlooked. So instead of focusing on the end goal, pivot your approach by directing your attention to experiencing the joys of the present moment.
One way to stay grounded to the present is to do a breathing exercise. While rooting you to the present, a breathing technique also ignites your relaxation response which moves you from a state of stress to a feeling of calm. Here’s an easy one to try: inhale for four seconds and slowly exhale for eight seconds. When you slow down your exhale, you have the opportunity to release any stress weighing you down.
Mantra: “Be here now.”
2. Hit Mute on Your Inner Critic
We all have a voice inside our heads feeding us a mix of criticisms, compliments, and an endless stream of narration. When you notice your mind filling up with negativity, stop, take a deep breath, and challenge your inner critic. Baking a pie and hearing your inner critic telling you it won’t taste good? Fire back with, “Who says?” There are many thoughts that pop up that we can’t control. However, we can intentionally infuse our minds with positivity so our minds can hear and hold on to a different perspective.
Mantra: “I am doing an awesome job.”
3. Give Yourself the Gift of Care
During this season of giving, our focus on others can translate into neglect of our own needs. Just like everyone else in your life, you deserve some love and attention, too. If you have a hard time prioritizing yourself, reframe your perspective on self-care. It isn’t selfish. Instead, consider self-care as a chance to decompress, enabling you to continue giving to others during this holiday season. When you’re depleted, you have nothing left to give. When you’ve taken the time to replenish yourself, you have the mental, emotional, and physical capacity to continue supporting your family.
Mantra: “I am worthy of love, care, and rest.”
4. Let It Go, Mama
Some parents get very ambitious during the holidays and try to do all the things. We want to be and do everything for everyone. But with that mentality, you’re bound to crash. So even though your intentions are born out of love, it’s okay to let go of tasks that aren’t crucial. Split your list into must-do’s and extra stuff. If you get through those essential tasks and have the capacity to go after those other tasks, use discretion when doing so. In addition to letting go of unnecessary tasks, let go of expectations you’ve placed upon yourself. They are heavy to hold. Give yourself permission to just be and honor your needs.
Mantra: “I do not have to be everything to everyone.”
Remember What It’s All About
In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we can forget what it’s really all about. Not the gifts, parties, decorations, or all the other distractions. Instead, it’s about the people with whom we are celebrating. Viewing your situation from the lens of gratitude and a focus on your connections can shift you from a perspective of lack to abundance.
Mantra: “I am grateful for this time with family and friends.”
When the chaos of the holiday season starts to chip away at your energy and your ability to enjoy this special time, hit the pause button. Take a deep breath and repeat one of the mantras to yourself. You’ll ignite your inner calm so that you can savor the festivities rather than succumb to stress.