Tips To Practice Mindfulness During The Holidays

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Tips To Practice Mindfulness During The Holidays

by Anubha Charan
October 17, 2023

It's the holiday season, which means family, friends, great food and loads of laughter. Although, it can also mean overloaded schedules (cooking the family meal and visiting eight different houses, anyone?), strained budgets, frenzied gift shopping, and a ton of socializing.

Just practicing some mindfulness during the holidays is the best way to make sure your days are more fun than fervor all through this joyous season.

Remember This Time of Year is for Gratitude

When faced with a difficult situation — such as having to spend time with difficult people or having your finances overstretched with buying gifts — it's easy to spiral into negativity. The answer? Focus on giving gratitude.

Research proves that the simple act of expressing gratitude actually changes neural pathways in the brain that can make you feel happier, boost self-esteem, lower stress levels, improve cardiac health and strengthen emotional resilience.

And it doesn't need to be complicated. Here are a few simple tips to incorporate gratitude into your life.

  • Write a gratitude journal. Start writing down three things you are grateful for every day. It could be something as momentous as seeing your grandparents after a long time apart or as simple as savoring a rich cup of hot cocoa. You don't even need to get a "gratitude journal" — writing down your thoughts in a plain notebook will suffice to get you into the holiday mindset.
  • Express your thanks. A beautiful way to practice mindfulness during the holidays is to write thank you notes to the people in your life. Tell them how much you appreciate them and how they make your life richer. Mention specific incidents from the year, if relevant. Just a few lines are enough to bring a smile to their face, and yours.
  • Focus on what you have rather than what you want. This year, spend time taking inventory of your life and write down everything that you already have. A safe home, food on the table, supportive family, even the glossy red handbag that brings you so much joy. Tangible or intangible, put it all down there, and you will find the days brightening up whenever you look at the list of your blessings.
  • Deploy social media. While social media is blamed for so many ills, it can actually be a great way to practice mindfulness during the holidays when used properly. Tweet a thank you message to essential service workers, promote a small business, showcase a friend's talents — it all counts.

Serve Your Community

The holidays are the perfect time to serve your community. Not only will this help create a happier world in which we all co-exist, putting a smile on someone's face is a surefire way to boost your own emotions and get into a healthy mindset. Plus, helping the less fortunate is a reminder of our own blessings. So, here are a few simple ways to get involved this holiday season:

  • Organize a food drive. You could get your family and friends together to organize an independent food drive with the donation of pot luck style dishes, money or non-perishable items. Or, you could contact the local shelter or food bank and see what they need the most, then fill in the deficit to the best of your abilities.
  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Homeless shelters are busiest during the holidays due to the cold weather and more people needing a warm place and a hot meal. Even a few hours of helping in the kitchen, serving the food or cleaning up will go a long way.
  • Help a neighbor. If you have elderly or physically disabled neighbors, check if you could assist with some of their tasks. It may be putting up the Christmas lights, snow removal, running some errands or doing small repairs.
  • Pitch in to clean up. Public spaces like parks and streets can become messy during the holidays, with large gatherings and events. Take the extra burden off essential workers by helping to clean up. Even a couple of hours spent picking up the litter will go a long way!

Spend Time With People You Love

So often the extraneous things — like shopping or laying the perfect table — get in the way of actually spending time with loved ones. For many, this may be the best chance to properly reconnect with family or friends through the normal chaos of the year, refresh your emotional bonds and create precious memories. The following activities will help do just that:

  • Find an activity you all love. There are so many holiday activities that span generations and genders. Whether its baking and decorating cookies, driving around to look at the holiday decorations, having a game night or even just camping out by the Christmas tree, find your family's vibe to have a great time!
  • Exchange meaningful gifts. Gift giving (and receiving!) can be a major source of joy during the holidays, so make it meaningful. Take some time and actually figure out what the recipient needs, loves or desires but wouldn't buy for themselves.

    Neutrogena® Skin Vitals Hydration Duo is perfect for someone who's been bemoaning their dry skin, while the Neutrogena® Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Cream + Hyaluronic Acid will be a treat for those staring skin aging in the face!
  • Prioritize your time. Remember you don't need to accept every single invitation. Prioritize depending on your time and energy. It's the holiday equivalent of putting on your own parachute first — if you are drained, you won't be able to bring happiness to anyone else!

Emphasize Self-Care and Treating Yourself

A major part of practicing mindfulness during the holidays is to look after your own self — both for your physical and emotional well-being. Here are some simple tips that will help you stay grounded into the new year.

  • Schedule some me-time. Stretching yourself thin over the season's demands is the easiest recipe for burnout. So, schedule some regular time for yourself every single day. This could look like zoning out with a favorite book, chilling with your favorite beauty products or just drifting away to music (headphones help create me-time!).
  • Treat yourself. Among all the gift giving during the holidays, there's one more person you should add to the list — your own self. After all, who knows what you want better than you? Whether it's a book you've been wanting to read or an outfit that's on your bucket list, this is the best time to indulge.
  • Remember that skincare equals self-care: Taking time out to do your skincare or self-care routine can be a calming oasis in a chaotic day. And it's not even an indulgence but a necessity. Remember that stress triggers cortisol, which slows down skin's natural exfoliation and results in a buildup of dead skin. Add in the fact that skin tends to get more dehydrated in the winters, and you have all the makings of a dull, dry and sensitive complexion. However, it's a simple fix: Stock up on hydrating skincare products, like the Neutrogena® Skin Hydrating & Anti-Aging Duo Set for the perfect antidote!

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