This post, written by our friend Gina Soldano, couldn’t be more timely. As we prep to make sure we get everything done over the next 6 weeks, we need to make sure we also take care of ourselves! I know I am guilty of burning the candle at both ends all in pursuit of orchestrating the ‘perfect’ holiday for my family. With these 7 Mindfulness Exercises to help manage holiday stress in my back pocket, I can still do what I want to do, but also take care of my ‘self’ as well.
Gina Soldano is a freelance writer for hire who specializes in content creation and blogging. She uses her experience and knowledge to create mindful writing tailored to fit. When not writing, you can find her reading historical fiction, playing peek-a-boo with her one-year-old son, or hiking through the woods near her home in Southwestern Ohio. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or her website where she writes about the latest in mindful living.
The holiday season is upon you and so is the stress to get everything done. Presents, wrapping, baking, parties. Take a moment and refresh yourself with one of these mindfulness exercises.
All you need is 30 seconds and you will be back better than before. Increase your productivity. Increase your self-awareness. Take care of yourself during this stressful time.
How Mindfulness Exercises Help
Mindfulness as a practice can help you in many areas of your life from health to relationships. There’s a study that proves mindfulness can increase attention control. Wouldn’t you like to pay attention to what you’re doing?
Mindfulness exercises can help you make better decisions. This study showed improved self-regulation in just 5 days. It helps you stop reacting and regain clarity and focus.
Health plays an enormous role in our lives. You can only ignore it for so long before it pushes back. With a few minutes each day, you can reclaim your health. Check out how in this article about 5-minute meditation.
1. Mindful Breathing
Take a deep breath in while counting to 4. Then hold it and count to 2. Release while counting to 4. Hold it for 2 counts again. You just practiced mindful breathing! Congratulations!
There are a lot of different breathing techniques you can try. The one described above is my favorite. It’s easy to remember and can be done in a flash.
Try the 4-count exercise or another mindful breathing technique to stop holiday stress in its tracks. All you need is to stop what you’re doing for a moment and focus on your breath. You don’t need to change your breathing. Just pay attention to the air going in and out.
The perfect mindfulness exercise for a busy day.
2. Body Scan Meditation
If you have more than a few seconds, try a body scan meditation. This can take as long as you like. There are guided ones like this by Stop, Breathe & Think. Or you can do it on your own.
Bring your attention to your body. I always work from my toes up. Work from the head down if that’s your preference.
Take a moment and feel your body. Notice where you’re holding tension. Sit or lie down if you can. Focus on your breathing for a few breaths. Then, notice your toes. Working from your toes up (or head down), focus on every part of your body as you reach it and consciously relax any tension you find.
3. What Do You Notice?
Stop and pay attention to your surroundings. List 5 things you see, 4 things you feel, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell and 1 thing you taste.
This mindfulness exercise brings you back into your body and out of your frazzled mind. It’s more powerful than you think. It will help you gain mindful awareness and notice things you overlooked. For instance, the smell of fresh-baked sugar cookies? The papery sound of dry leaves rustling in the wind.
4. What Do You Hear?
Choose a song you’ve never listened to before, or step outside. Whatever you decide, stand still and listen.
What do you hear? Birdsong? A thrumming base? Focus on each individual sound that makes up the music you hear. Mindfully listen to everything. Hear how it fits together. Breathe.
5. Zen Meditation
This one is my favorite! I recommend setting aside at least 5 minutes for this exercise. Set a timer on your phone. Take a seat wherever you are, in a chair, on the floor, or the ground. Once seated, close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
Breathe in and out. You can repeat a word to keep your focus such as “Om” or “Ham Sa.” It’s not necessary though. Just focus on your breathing. Every time your mind wanders from your breath, bring it back. It’s totally normal, so don’t feel bad about it!
If you want more information about Zen meditation or how to make it a daily practice, check out my article here.
6. Talk about The Moment
This can be a fun activity for the whole family! The goal is to only talk about what is happening where you are right now. The cookies you’re making, the presents you’re wrapping or the birds that are singing in the trees as you walk through the woods.
Keep conversation to the present moment. It’s okay if you slip up, we all do! But, it’s a great way to raise your mindful awareness.
7. Go Outside
It’s impossible to stay angry when you are faced with a glowing amber sunset. Anyone would agree that fresh air is good for your sanity, health, and overall wellbeing.
Step outside, stand there and feel the sun on your face, or the cool of night. Breathe deep.
This mindfulness exercise can be as short as one deep breath. Or you can make a day of it, schedule activities outside with your family. Rake some leaves. Build a snowman. Go for a hike.
Taking the time to go outside and be present will leave you feeling refreshed. In my experience, it’s often the most effective mindfulness exercise. That’s why I saved it for last!
So, grab your boots and go for it. If even for a minute.
Take a Moment
No matter what you choose, take a moment. It can be 30 seconds, 30 minutes or more. You deserve a break and it will recharge you and keep that holiday stress at bay.
What mindfulness exercise do you have time for today?
To refer back to these 7 mindfulness exercises, bookmark this page or pin the following image.
Thanks again for spending a few minutes of your busy day with me today and thanks to Gina for sharing her 7 Mindfulness Exercises.
I am committed to incorporating several of these into my routine over the next several weeks and beyond.
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Until next time…