7 ways to have a mindful Christmas

‘It’s easy to slip into auto-pilot running up to Christmas.’

Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of year, but busy shops and family stress can make the festive season a tough one to handle.

‘It’s easy to slip into auto-pilot running up to Christmas, putting too much focus on what you have to do and not enough on how you want to feel and be,’ says Kelly Pietrangeli, author of Project Me For Busy Mothers. ‘You should notice when you’re depleted and do something to recharge your batteries each day.’

So, this year, instead of running yourself ragged, why not take a step back, draw a deep breath and have yourself a mindful little Christmas instead? Here’s how.

1. Manage your own expectations

Rosy-cheeked smiling children, midnight carols by candlelight, a roaring fire that never splutters and dies…it’s easy to fall into the trap of idealising the season. ‘For many of us Christmas evokes memories of times past – as a result of these we may have many unrealistic expectations,’ says yogi Michelle Moroney from the Cliffs of Moher Retreat in County Clare, Ireland. ‘Taking the time to reflect upon this and to recognise that expectations are potential disappointments frees us up to enjoy Christmas as it is.’

2. It’s not all about you

You’re likely to be the one organising everything, but family gatherings are not a reflection of your perfect entertaining skills. People come for people, says Kelly – ‘It’s the conversations and the occasion that make the memories.’ Also, don’t visualise yourself as the pivot around which all responsibilities must evolve. ‘Your partner may not wrap gifts as prettily, or you might have a different idea of what to buy his mother,’ Kelly adds, ‘but if it frees you up to do other things, let go of perfection and take help in whatever form it comes.’

3. Don’t get sucked in by social media

As soon as Bonfire Night is over, out come the competitive Christmas tree posts on Facebook and Instagram. If the thought of even finding the decorations fills you with panic, ignore the social media show-offs. ‘It causes you to focus on others more than yourself,’ says pharmacist Abbas Kanani at Chemist Click. ‘Constantly being reminded of others’ accomplishments can have an impact on your mental wellbeing. Social media presents a distorted version of reality and what you actually see is probably far from the truth.’

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