Enjoying the Holidays Mindfully

What comes to mind when you hear the word “holidays”? A magical time of love, peace, snowflakes, and candy canes? Or, does stress sometimes get in the way of your enjoyment of this celebratory time?

Studies show that stress does have a real effect on our health, including keeping our digestion from working properly, raising our chances of coming down with a cold or flu, increasing blood sugar, and promoting weight gain. Also, when we have high levels of stress, our bodies have higher levels of inflammation which is one of the biggest risk factors for many diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, depression, and heart disease.

Stress can affect our health in many adverse ways, but what can we do about it? One proven technique to combat stress is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being fully aware of the present moment. It is accepting our emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations, without judgement. It also reminds us that our feelings are fleeting, and do not define us.

The good news is that we have many tools to increase mindfulness and help reduce stress! Here are some things to try when you feel stressed out this season:

  • Bring yourself into the present moment. Take a few minutes to focus on the sights, sounds, and sensations that you may normally never notice. Make yourself a hot cup of Soothing Lemon & Honey Lift and slowly savor the warmth, taste, and smell.
  • Breathe. Taking deep, slow breaths is a simple, but effective way to relax the body and mind. Try “belly breathing”: completely fill your lungs, allowing your belly to rise and fall with each breath.
  • Eat Mindfully. Take the time to slow down and notice your food and the way it makes you feel. Instead of eating candied nuts by the handful, eat them one at a time, noticing the smell, taste, and texture.
  • Feel gratitude. Take a moment to think about something for which you are grateful. It can be anything, big or small. Studies show this increases happiness and can even decrease doctor’s visits.
  • Perform acts of kindness. Research shows that doing simple things for others can decrease our daily stress levels. This can be as simple as making an extra effort to hold the door for someone.

Reduce your stress this season, and have a merry, mindful holiday!