The holidays can be an especially difficult time since, even in the happiest moments, so much it happening. Whether you are traveling or welcoming guests, attending a gathering or hosting the meal – or simply trying to figure out how everyone is going to get along, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed. Bad weather may keep you from getting out of the house but there is something that you can do just about anywhere – meditate. Even if it’s just a few minutes behind the locked bathroom door, this simple practice can help restore and maintain your sanity. Here are some of the strategies regular meditators use to get through even the most frustrating of situations:
Being mindful is all about living in the present moment in an intentional, accepting way. We focus our attention on our thoughts, emotions and sensations without judging the experience. If you are washing a sink full of post-turkey dishes, for example, you might make note of how the water and bubbles feel on your skin, the sounds the utensils make when they hit each other and how wonderfully full your belly feels. It’s amazing how restorative it can be to just live in the moment.
Take Deep Breaths
If you feel like you are starting to get overwhelmed, angry or irritated, try to take a few deep breaths (but not too many – we don’t want you to hyperventilate!). When we are stressed, anxious, or upset, we tend to take shallow breaths, depriving ourselves of much-needed oxygen. This can make us feel worse. Even if you are surrounded by people at the dinner table or in a crowded car, you can discreetly make a point of filling your lungs up to maximum capacity two to three times and then slowly releasing the breath. You will feel better.
Meditate Before Bed Every Night
Make an effort to set aside some time every night to meditate. Thirty minutes is ideal but, if this is not realistic, even five minutes is better than nothing. You may search the internet for resources on how to get started or you can download an excellent guided meditation app such as the Insight Timer, to help you establish a good routine.
Act (and React) With Love
One of the things that meditators strive to do is to act with love towards each other and themselves. If we have empathy and compassion for others (even those who are doing things that we can’t understand), we are less likely to be affected by their behavior. If you lose your cool or make mistakes, apply that same warmth to yourself. You will accomplish a lot more than by reacting with anger.
Let Go of Judgment
If you are feeling frustrated, if someone is in a terrible mood, if things don’t turn out as planned, don’t let yourself fall into the trap of becoming judgmental. Things happen and people have bad days. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world and no one has to take the blame for it. Life is filled with ups and downs and, when you are in a down moment, accept it and move on.
Regardless of how much fun you have, you will likely encounter moments during the holidays that push you to your limits. Put some of these meditator tricks to use and watch how easily you navigate through the rough patches.