Most of us love Christmas, but it can be a time when whatever isn’t working in our lives is magnified, particularly if we’ve experienced a loss such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, a break-up or illness, or if we find ourselves without family or alone. And even if we are with family at Christmas, any family relationships that are difficult get magnified too. Finances can be stretched at Christmas, which can create an underlying anxiety. Add to this the expectation or hope that we’re going to feel connected and loved, there are plenty of good reasons to stay mindful and aware at Christmas. So here are some suggestions to keep you mindful, present and peaceful this Christmas.
- Look after yourself before you take care of anyone else. The better you feel and the more energy you have, the more able you are going to be to cope with whatever Christmas throws at you. Meditate or find some quiet reflective time for yourself everyday. Practise gratitude. If you are drinking more than usual, look after your liver by drinking lemon juice and warm water first thing every morning and hydrate regularly with water.
- Stay mindful. The energy on the roads and in the shopping centres is frantic leading up to Christmas. By being fully present and imagining a bubble of white light all around you to protect your energy, you won’t get caught up in the craziness. Stay mindful around family too. Old dysfunctional dynamics and emotional reactions are far more likely to play out at Christmas than at any other time.
- Be the eye of the storm. If you have difficult family members to deal with on Christmas Day, imagine being “the eye of the storm”. You don’t have to be a part of the storm! You can be the still, calm eye of the storm. Sit back and be the observer. Choose to respond in a mindful way and not react from the ego.
- Spend less and focus more on experiences and the senses. Studies have shown that happiness levels have little to do with spending more or having more. Whether or not you are financially constrained, you will find that by focusing on beautiful experiences (an outing to see the Christmas lights, decorating a Christmas tree while listening to your favourite music, mindfully preparing a Christmas meal with love, deeply engaging with loved ones) and focusing less on “stuff” (expensive presents, organic ham, turkey and champagne) your Christmas will be a rich one.
- Change traditions. If you have experienced the death of a loved one, a break-up, a divorce or any form of loss, Christmas can be a dreaded time of year. Realise that Christmas doesn’t have to take the form it always has. You can create whatever kind of Christmas you feel will help you through the season. If you are alone, plan something to treat yourself – it doesn’t have to be Christmassy – or help out at a soup kitchen if that appeals to you. Don’t be frightened of being alone and feeling the sadness. Be your own best friend – nobody knows you more than you, so who better to spend Christmas with?
And remember what the true spirit of Christmas is – Hope and Rebirth.