Mental Health Mondays: A Mindful Christmas - The Joy of Presence

As our advent calendars count down faster than years before, we are now well and truly caught up in the bustle of the festive season. This is the first Friday of the year we may be reluctant to say T.G.I.F.

The last minute is upon us and I can't help but to already notice, we just aren't there. I don't mean finished and ready to go (after all, this is the exact purpose of a last minute for many), I mean, we are distracted. On phone calls, we find ourselves hearing every other word, at the shops we are grabbing at what we need with less thought than usual and as we usher ourselves through our to-do-list, we are missing out. Missing out on all the joys of being present at this time of the year.

Our conversations run through the motions of what a year it's been and what is still to be done. This is the very definition of Anxiety. You may not have a diagnosis of an anxious condition, however having the thought of what has or could have been, or what is to come takes us away from the now.

A tradition I have each Christmas is to watch Love Actually. I have seen the movie enough times to recite most of the lines - "Eight is a lot of legs, David! "- that I now often find myself doing menial tasks while it is on. I caught myself yesterday, because phone in hand as the movie started, I was culling my emails. What stopped me, you might ask? Hugh Grant's monologue in the opening scene from the arrivals gate at London Heathrow. I dropped my phone and took pause. Our airports won't look like this for a long time. Last week, I wrote about how to be there for those who aren't visiting with loved ones abroad. Today, I want to highlight how to genuinely be present with those we are fortunate enough to be celebrating with.

Being mindful takes very little effort. In a nutshell, think - Intent, Attitude & Gratitude. A few simple tips on mindfulness that will keep you present in the moment over Christmas could be:-

  • Wake up with the intention of having a great day or time.

  • Take a moment - often we can be frustrated with the trappings of busy times. Pause and think before replying or responding.

  • Leave your phone in your bag or another room - focus on the company you are with

  • Use engaging and open body language to keep conversation flowing

  • Be mindful about how much you are eating or drinking - overeating can make us tired, alcohol can effect our moods

  • Give unconditionally - if we don't get the response we expect and take it to heart, our focus becomes internal and negative, detracting from the enjoyment of the moment.

  • Express gratitude - if you enjoyed a meal, say so! If someone goes out of their way for you, acknowledge their effort. A grateful mindset is a fantastic mood booster.

  • When you are taking photos - don't worry about being insta-perfect. Capture the laughter and love of the moment in a shot or two. Taking dozens of shots for 'The One' misses the moment.

  • Give yourself and others the gift of your time - we often have to traipse across the country side on Christmas Day. So rather than rushing and forward thinking, allow yourself plenty of time for travel so you can enjoy where you are at the moment you are there.

This year has given us more than enough to be thankful for in the face of adverse conditions. I encourage everyone to take a moment this festive season. Intention, Attitude and Gratitude can be found in abundance among your thoughts. Because they are just that, thoughts - they are free, pliable and better yet - can be made anywhere at any time without much effort.

I look forward to bringing you my Mindful Mums program very soon. If you would like more information how to incorporate mindfulness into your lifestyle, I would love to help and am a phone call or message away.

Well wishes for a very happy and safe Christmas

Claire @ The Health & Wellbeing Haven

0438 198 949

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