This is the time of the year when everything seems to get intensified. Our work schedules are usually extra busy with end of year or seasonal deadlines. Add to that all the events and pressures of the holiday season, whether it’s your office party or planning for the holiday dinner you committed to make or sending out cards or shopping for gifts. There’s a certain joyous frenzy to it all. It can be a fun time of year. But it’s just as likely to be a very stressful time of year when we find ourselves going through the motions of the season without any presence of mind, in a kind of dissociative trance. We become so wrapped up in doing things that we forget our being completely. We become completely unbalanced.
Paradoxically, this is a great time of year to just let yourself be. Taking some time each day to sit and breathe is critically important especially during high stress periods like the holidays. Even ten minutes a day of breathing can make a huge difference. Who has time for that? you might ask. How sad that we so often neglect to connect to ourselves. What does all the giving of the holiday season mean if you’re not able to give yourself the gift of your own attention? You’re not being selfish. You’re honoring your own mental and physical health by taking time out to breathe. To become still, silent, and simple. In that silence and stillness we can reflect on what’s important to us, about the kind of year we’ve had, about our successes and failures and our aspirations for next year. Even during a busy day you can remember to practice STOP whenever you feel you need it — just noticing your breath, your body sensations, and acknowledging whatever thoughts or emotions happen to be present, without needing to change how things are but simply opening to how things are.
So please, give yourself the greatest gift in the world this holiday season – the power of your own attention and self-care.