Holiday Mindfulness Activities for Adults 

There is a lot of anticipation – and sometimes stress – tied to the holidays when you’re an adult. Family relationships, in-law drama, or even financial uncertainty can arise as you try to pick the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Sometimes you are so focused on other things that it feels like there’s no time for yourself around the holidays. But it’s time to change that push-through mindset and take time for some mindfulness before the holidays get too overwhelming.  

Mindfulness is the opposite of the holiday season’s multitasking mindset. Mindfulness is the act of being consciously present in the moment, and giving yourself time to fully think, feel and appreciate the present. It means thinking about the people who you are surrounding yourself with at a family event – not skipping ahead in your brain to the house where your next party will take place. It means taking time to thoughtfully write out a holiday message in a card, or think about a person as you’re shopping for them, and not letting your mind run ahead to the next item on your lengthy to-do list. 

Making time to be mindful during the holidays can give you a deeper sense of satisfaction about how you celebrate – and the people you choose to spend your holidays with. Here are some mindfulness activities that adults can practice this season. 

Balance obligations with your own needs. Don’t let your holiday be dominated by a list of things you “should” do if they are actions that cause stress, according to advice shared by Psychology Today. The same goes for people who tend to take the joy out of the season. Keep these events and interactions to a minimum, or at least make sure to balance them with activities or people who create a sense of happiness. An example: Cut the day-long gathering with bickering relatives to a short appearance, then spend the rest of the time doing something that gives you joy.  

Tips to Stress Less During the Holiday

Self-care as a necessity. Holidays are often a time we think of others, but it’s not selfish to be compassionate toward ourselves. We typically ask a lot of ourselves during this season – shopping, cooking, traveling – and in order to feel healthy mentally, we need to be giving ourselves some grace. This means making sure we’re eating well, getting enough sleep, and making time for daily walks and other forms of exercise. 

Let go of criticism. Holiday gatherings can be a space where we find ourselves judging others more frequently. People are sometimes not on their best behavior in groups. Kids get cranky. Tempers can fray. Instead of being critical, if you notice yourself being judgy then try acknowledging it and letting it go. Feeling those negative opinions float away instead of assessing them and sharing them will keep you in better spirits – and not dwelling on the past. 

Time as a gift. Being present for someone else can be a gift. Think about the people in your holiday circle. Instead of a wrapped present, would someone benefit more from an invitation to a home-cooked meal or an afternoon spent together? Instead of buying someone something, would it be better to be present with them and share a memory-making trip or outing? Being present in the moment with someone else can mean so much. 

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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