Feeling Festive – Summer Mindfulness

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Jackie Hillegers provides some timely advice to make the most of the festive season and to ensure the summer break doesn’t break you.

Summer is here and Christmas has surely crept up on us. The festive season can be one of the most stressful times of the year so here are some mindful ideas so you don’t get your tinsel in a tangle! We put so much pressure on ourselves to create the perfect day that we can forget to enjoy it! 

Family from Afar

With overseas and interstate travel still up in the air we need to put plans in place to still incorporate family who may not make it. Zoom or Skype are great platforms to connect with family and friends, so organise a time during the day that suits everyone to come onboard. Family and friends are still able to watch the kids opening their presents online or it can be recorded to be shown later in the day. I will be spending my Christmas day online with family overseas so I really get to feel like they are present and very much a part of our day too. Christmas is a day to celebrate with loved ones and with online options we can still feel very much connected. 

Going to a restaurant for Christmas dinner can be another way to enjoy your Christmas Day when loved ones cannot make it, at least you will be surrounded by other families in the same situation. Best of all, there is no food prep or cleaning-up to do and with all the time you saved yourself, head out for a lovely relaxing mindful walk afterward. 

Share the Load

If you are the ‘Mumma Bear’ who spends weeks preparing the Christmas food for all the family, why not have a pot-luck meal this year. Allocate each family a list of food to bring along and scale back on quantity as there is always so much food leftover. Buy a casserole dish or salad bowl from the second-hand shop to bring your food in so that you can leave the dish behind or ask that it be passed on next time they go for a pot-luck meal. Choose cold meats and salads on the day so that there is less preparation if you want to spend as much time out of the kitchen enjoying Christmas Day too! Even the kids and teenagers can do their share by handing around platters, collecting plates and cutlery or organising the entertainment for the kids. 

Home-made Gifts

The best gift is a happy family all wrapped up in each other. The second-best gift is… recycled or re-used gifts, as they have such thought and meaning behind them. Give the gift of a book you have read but forward it to someone you know would also enjoy it; add a personal message inside the book and wrap it with hand-made recyclable paper. That is a true gift from the heart! Paint a picture for a loved one in their favourite colours, make a body scrub from kitchen ingredients or create a photo album of memories spent together. We focus way too much on buying and giving expensive gifts but the personal touch is what tugs at the heartstrings the most, and costs the least. 

Let family and friends know this year is more about ‘Recyclable Gifts’ and it can take the pressure off everyone financially as well as saving the planet. Everything in life is temporary, scaling things back this year does not mean next Christmas will have to be the same. 

Creating Mindful Memories

Give or send each ‘family’ a mason jar of cookie ingredients, sprinkles and cookie cutters. Everyone has to make and bake their own Christmas cookies and ice them on Christmas Day. This activity creates a family fun moment, you could always have a competition for the best looking or tasting cookies. 

Create a Paint ‘n’ Sip kit with a bottle of wine, canvases for each family member, paints and paintbrushes and spend a few hours together in person or online creating your masterpieces and having a laugh. This activity helps you relax and reduces your stress and anxiety by focusing on your creativity and having fun. You will find your Christmas day flies by! 

Go for a family walk in the afternoon, which is when you always feel full from too much food. Walking slowly and mindfully in nature helps improve your digestion, reduces your anxiety and boosts your mood. Don’t forget to practice listening with curiosity and speaking with intention. 

End of the Day 

At the end of your Christmas day ‘talk together’ about the things you enjoyed most, talk about the traditions you would like to continue each year and take the time to relax and let the day finish on a high. We need to step away slightly from the traditional and over-the-top and create our own original, more relaxed day which fills our heart with happier memories and less stress. 

As the saying by Roy L. Smith goes… “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree”.

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