A Merry Mindful Holiday
December arrives and suddenly the pressure amps up: “Okay… now I really have to get things done!”
It is a time of year where we can get hijacked by the busyness of it all, which is why I think it is a great time of year to practice mindfulness, and to take time to reflect and be grateful for what we have while we ready for the holidays.
Have you ever noticed how people’s greetings change in December? Instead of “Hi Meg! How are you?” it switches to “So, are you ready for Christmas?” I am usually thinking “Now that you mention it… I should probably be shopping” but instead my response is a meek “I’m getting there.”
Incorporate Mini Mindfulness Breaks Into Your Day
This year I am committing to building in regular ‘Mini Mindfulness Breaks’ (‘MMBs’) to help me stay present and to keep from feeling overwhelmed.
Research has found that the biggest release of stress hormones takes place within minutes of waking. Apparently, thinking about the day ahead triggers our fight or flight response causing cortisol to be released into our blood.
To counter this, I have a technique for you to try: When you wake up, and even before you swing those legs over the edge, spend 2 extra minutes in your bed simply noticing your breath. Take deep breaths while counting 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 for the inhale and 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 for the exhale. When thoughts come into your mind, acknowledge them and then let them pass, in much the same way as if you were standing on the street corner watching cars go by.
Let the thoughts pass, and simply focus is on your breath. The counting helps you stay centred on your breath.
Reframe and Refocus to Start Your Day on the Right Foot
Mini Mindfulness Breaks help us reframe and refocus, so we can start our day with a clear mind and be set up for success as we tackle all the demands that come at us. During this MMB, your attention is all your own.
You can take these MMBs when opportunities arise through your day.
- Take a 2-minute MMB at the start your work day – whether that be just before your shift, or when you sit at your desk right before you open your inbox. This will help you become centered and ’Boost your Brain’.
- Take a quick MMB during the afternoon when you might start to feel a bit fatigued or on your commute home.
Take 2 – 3 minutes to focus your attention on your breathing – counting with each inhalation and exhalation. When you feel your mind wander, bring it back to the breath. Acknowledge the thoughts that come through your mind and then let them go.
Mindfulness is not a relaxation technique, but ultimately it can help us calm our autonomic nervous system. It helps us reframe and refocus which is a definite benefit any time of year!
More posts? Bring it on!
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