A festive holiday is supposed to be a time to relax and unwind, right? But after a few years of unwanted filler in the form of Covid, the high expectations for Christmas 2022 may be adding extra pressure to many of us. Stressors like social anxiety caused by the resumption of work parties, economic uncertainty, and the cost of living crisis can be a lot to deal with — all while we try to get everything out of our offices before the end of the year.
So, among all this, how do you maintain your sense of calm, and if not peace on earth, then at least in your mind, this Christmas?
Try these mindfulness tips for the holiday season (and beyond):
1. Give yourself the gift of morning meditation
Do you access work emails on your phone as soon as you wake up? Before you do anything, start your day with 5 minutes of meditation. Use an app, like Insight Timer (free), that guides you through morning meditations, or simply gently close your eyes, relax your jaw and focus on the sensation of the breath in and out of your body. Just remember to prop yourself up in bed so you don't fall back asleep while doing this!
2. Plan ahead to overcome social fatigue
Too much noise and too many people? If the return of the office Christmas party makes you want to hide under the covers until 2023, or socializing with large groups of friends and family is stressful, make a plan in advance.
- Where possible, try to space out social activities so you can recharge your energetic batteries in between.
- On the day of the event, promote meditation time.
- If you're feeling anxious during a gathering, instead of leaving the meeting all together, find a quieter place for some time and take some calming breaths, or huddle with a colleague you trust.
- Finally, make a plan to get home safely and don't feel bad for not staying until the wee hours of the morning.
If there's something that's really having a big impact on your life, consider contacting your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if your employer offers one — most include free, confidential professional help, which can be done over the phone.
3. Put yourself on your “to do” list.
What gets written down, gets done, so in between hitting deadlines this December, remember to prioritize yourself too. What this looks like will vary from person to person, but it could be escaping to a quiet corner in your office or home to read for 20-30 minutes or heading to a yoga class or the gym – which are usually quieter this time of year. . Taking a break may seem unrealistic, but you'll be more productive as a result.
4. Have a festive picnic
Getting outdoors is a great way to defuse any stress at the office or home, while getting some space and a walk away from mince pies at the same time. Live or work somewhere in an urban area? Create your own mini Christmas lights tour by taking a few laps around the building – enjoying the sparkling decorations along the way. Go with someone? Just for fun, try to spot which building is best dressed! Do you live in a more rural place? As you walk, take time to take in the changes in nature like winterberries and holly, and you might even spy a red robin.
5. Charge your batteries during the day with yoga nidra
Feeling exhausted but the idea of a power nap is out of your reach? Try some yoga nidra. It's basically a guided meditation (no yoga leggings required) that takes you into a blissful state between sleep and wakefulness, and is said to be more effective than a short afternoon nap, helping you tackle afternoon tasks with more energy.
We hope you find these tips helpful during the holiday season and into the new year, and remember:
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, even you.” -Anne Lamott
Author: Jane Burton | Wellness Specialist | Work life okay
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