Mindfulness for the festive season

Richard Symon, Trainee Clinical Psychologist at Salomons Institute and former psychology graduate volunteer at Sussex Mindfulness Centre, shares some tips to enjoy the festive season with mindfulness.

As we move through December, our thoughts tend to focus on the festive season, whatever that means to you. For many of us, the hope is to bring together family and friends and to connect with others.

It’s easy for this time of the year to become one of heightened stress, rather than nourishing and recharging experiences that taking time out from the routine or spending times with loved ones could be.

Presents to buy, food to prepare and social engagements to juggle may leave us feeling frazzled rather than refreshed. Or maybe you don’t have family and a lack of engagements can be equally distressing.

Disruption to regular routines may leave us more tired than usual and more susceptible to some of the challenges this time of year can bring.

Tips to enjoy the festive season:

  • If you’re rushing around more than usual and feeling stressed, take a moment to notice your breath–are you holding it in?
  • Notice the tension in your neck and shoulders and remember this moment will pass, December is just another month.
  • See if you might find something that brings some pleasure or connection (and that might not be what we feel we ought to be doing at this time of year).
  • This may be an opportunity for you to reconnect with others or spend time differently. It is also a time for making new memories. Notice and accept the interplay of family and friends around you. Or just a time to relax and take time out.
  • Practice mindful eating. It is a time of year where we often eat more. Be present in these moments; focus on your senses during these times and encourage others to do the same.
  • Thoughts may naturally take us to experiences we have had over the last twelve months. Notice how these reflections make you feel with a subtle, relaxed alertness, accepting what has happened is in the past and how it may guide us in the future.
  • Speak kindly to yourself, and to others.

You might want to join us for a free lunchtime mindfulness session in January 2024, to bring mindfulness into your daily life. There are range of events and retreats, led by the Sussex Mindfulness Centre on this page.

Many thanks to Brighton and Hove Independent, for allowing us to repost this article.