I saw a post on Facebook this morning that inspired me to write this piece on these crazy-busy holiday times.
It was a quote by Matt Kahn that says:
“The easiest way to raise your vibration is to relax your body. The most essential way to relax your body is to slow your breath. The most effective way of slowing your breath is by loving your own heart. One ‘I love you’ at a time, your breath is inspired into a slower pace, which reminds the body to feel safe enough to relax, as your vibration elevates into higher frequencies of light. This is the heart of transformation.”
I personally connected to that quote, because it talks about the one thing that is keeping me sane this holiday season: the combined practice of mindfulness and self-love.
As I type this, I have a huge list of things I need to do before I travel abroad next week to see my family. Going abroad to see my folks has always been a stressful experience, between getting things ready to travel and facing airport layovers (plus, add the anxiety on top of all that).
However, I am coping with stress a lot better during this year’s holiday season due to my mindfulness and self-love practice. No matter what kind of tight schedule you may have this season, I believe you owe yourself some “me” time for self-reflection and peace.
So I believe there are two best gifts you can reward yourself with now:
1) Your presence
It’s common to get lost in the holiday season by doing too much. We can get so busy that there is too much “doing” and not enough “being.” While there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing activities such as shopping, cooking, and planning, just remember to give yourself some time—and some love.
I really like Matt Kahn’s idea of enjoying your breath while saying “I love you” to ourselves, but if that is too much for you, simply do it your own way. Simply love yourself enough by taking some time out.
You can practice mindfulness with self-love in many different ways.
You can love yourself when you take time to savor that peppermint mocha (or your favorite drink) while you inhale its earthy and sweet aroma and feel its aftertaste in your tongue. You can love yourself when you take some time to do your favorite exercise or yoga practice. You can also love yourself by taking a longer shower than usual, or a bath, feeling the water enveloping your body and clearing all the stress away.
No matter what you choose to do, be there with the experience. Stay present.
You can also love yourself by taking a few mindful steps outside when the house seems a bit noisy, filled with holiday excitement, and you just need some time to breathe. There’s nothing wrong with walking away from holiday chaos for a bit.
2) Some loving and well-deserving boundaries
Some people think that setting boundaries is a selfish practice. I wish I could tell these people to stop saying that, because deep inside, we are programmed to avoid setting boundaries out of guilt. We don’t want to hurt people by asking them to step away sometimes, or simply by not wanting to talk and socialize.
But boundaries are necessary for building self-love. And that is what you need the most this holiday season.
If boundaries are set with love, kindness, and mindfulness, they are what keep you away from insanity on crazy, busy times like these.
So it’s okay to make decisions for yourself. It’s okay, if you are too tired, to refuse to go to your office’s party. It’s okay to call your child’s best friend’s parents and tell them you may not come to their holiday party this year. It’s okay to ask your spouse and kids for some time out.
It’s also okay, and more than necessary, to stay away from relatives who cause you pain. You don’t even need to find an excuse for getting away from Uncle Bob’s holiday party. Simply say, with kindness, that you are not going to make it this year. You don’t have to hurt their feelings by telling them you can’t stand them or something rude like that, but you also don’t have to settle with making excuses and justifying. Justifying things is what also keeps us away from self-love.
So look at your crazy calendar now. Decide what events you may want to avoid, or how you can minimize activities. Talk to your family about that. And most importantly, create time and space for self-reflection, meditation, journaling, whatever you want to do, as long as it brings you “presence.”
I notice how a lot of people react to the word “meditation,” especially on busy times like these. “Oh, come on, who has time to meditate in the holiday season?”
But simply being present is already your meditation. If you can add a few mindful breaths from time to time too, that is great. Staying present and acting with self-love raises your vibration. When your vibration is higher, everyone around you benefits from it. You’ll soon get more hugs and love from everyone who recognizes your worth.
Your “presence” is also a gift for others. It’s contagious, too—trust me!
So take some time for reflection now and decide how you want to play with it. Love yourself enough to “be” instead of only to “do.”
Because at the end of the day, the mix of presence and self-love in these busy times is the best gift you can give yourself.