Mindfulness through the Holidays + December Random Acts of Kindness
2020 has most definitely been a year to remember. And with this year as unique as it has been, we have to know and accept that the holidays will look different this year.
Even more reason to ensure we are checking in with ourselves regularly.
How am I doing?
What will I need to meet my emotional needs during this time?
And as we move deeper into the season, please be sure to pause, and take deep breaths. I encourage you to be strategic about your time by intentionally scheduling time for yourself. Taking time for yourself will allow you to hit the reset button so that you can avoid burnout!
I think that we also need to acknowledge that this year may be more emotionally challenging. The global pandemic, racial unrest, and unprecedented political drama may be adding to the stress we are feeling this year. With the pandemic restricting our ability to spend time with friends and family as we would typically, we can expect that the holiday moods may be a bit of a rollercoaster. Additionally, many of us have recently experienced the loss of loved ones, and a time that would usually bring joy and cheer may be disheartening and melancholy. I want to say that my prayers are with you and that I will most definitely be keeping you in my thoughts during this time of grief. All that being said, I have some suggestions for how we can soften these emotions and hopefully bring ourselves back to a space of positivity and peace.
1) Remember the real reason for the season!
First and foremost, we must remember the real reason for the season: our Savior Jesus Christ; he is our greatest gift. When we stay mindful of the real reason for the season, we can remain grounded and at peace even when chaos surrounds us. We see more clearly that this gift of the Savior's birth transcends any amount of money we have spent or the number of presents given and received. Jesus is truly the greatest gift of love ever given! And I hope that the love of Jesus Christ surrounds you, comforts you, and keeps you this holiday season. Additionally, I try to encourage this same mindfulness in my children as well. As they make their Christmas list and wait in anticipation of what Santa will bring, I remind them of the reason we celebrate Christmas because it helps keep us in a state of gratitude rather than in a mindset of insufficiency and a constant desire to want more.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
2) Leave space for things that bring you joy!
I know this may be a little more challenging to do this year, especially if those things that bring you joy are outside of the home and are not available to you due to various restrictions. However, let's not settle for not making it happen. Instead, let's get creative to ensure that it will happen. That being said, our schedules can fill up quickly with Christmas parties over zoom, and holiday shopping, decorating, etc., and pretty soon, we've committed to a whole lot of things but have yet to schedule the time for ourselves.
Please be sure to carve out that space for you, and most importantly, don't spend your precious time and energy doing things you don't feel like doing. So, I encourage you to start by making a list of things that you want to do this holiday season, keep it simple and reasonable. Begin to put those things on your calendar while permitting yourself to say no to other things you're feeling obligated to do yet do not want to do. Maybe your list will include things like taking a candlelight bath and doing face masks, baking gingerbread cookies and going to see the lights or watching Hallmark Christmas movies for hours in pajamas, or hosting an ugly Christmas sweater party over zoom. Whatever it is for you, please be sure that you make time for it! Listen, please free yourself of unnecessary pressure, and hold space for yourself to do the things that bring you joy.
3) Think of others!
Ok, here comes the challenge! A few years ago, I started a December challenge, and it was because I was a victim of it first. I came out of the store to find a simple note on my car that said, "remember, you are loved." It was the sweetest message, and it brought me to tears because this random note from a random stranger was exactly what I needed to hear that day! I thought to myself that the world needs more of this, and I decided that I wanted to spread that same love and kindness. I thought about various small yet impactful gestures that I could do throughout the month to help fight the holiday gloom and hopefully positively impact others like I was the day I received that note.
I started doing random acts of kindness throughout the month to help spread the holiday cheer, and I would love for you to join me!!! We all could agree that this year the world needs a little more kindness. This challenge doesn't have to be burdensome; in fact, it should in no way feel like that! It can be very small things, and you decide how frequently you would like to do them. Below, I have listed the first week's focus, and already this week, I have paid for a car behind me in a drive-through and bought food for a homeless person. It's super easy. Not only will it impact the person on the receiving side, but again helping us stay mindful about giving to others this holiday season fuels the joyfulness inside. I hope that you will pledge with me to spread more kindness this holiday season.
December Random Act of Kindness
Week One: "Spreading Holiday Cheer"
Buy something small for someone that isn't expecting it
(can be a stranger or friend).
Some suggestions: paying for the car behind you at a drive-through, get a gift card and put in the mailbox for the mail carrier, or buy a meal for a homeless person.