“The lead up to Christmas begins well before December. The ‘whirlwind’ of thoughts begin…for some, it could be related to preparing for travel over the holiday period, maybe you’re hosting Christmas at your own home, perhaps you are working or volunteering during this busy time. The question of ‘what do I need to do’ to prepare for this time of year is the initial thought to the borage of ‘to do’ lists”.
If we look at ‘reverse planning’ from Christmas to the present moment we can often create easy and effective tools and strategies to support the process and even enjoy it along the way!!
5 Easy Steps
Your attitude towards not only Christmas itself but more importantly the lead up to Christmas is a significant powerful ingredient that can affect your enjoyment of Christmas.
Saying to yourself that you will practise being open-minded and calm in each present moment without expectation will prepare you for an enjoyable time. Here’s why…practising living in each moment allows you to experience the present joy of whatever is happening and if your focus is on the present you are less likely to dedicate valuable time to thoughts of what you should be doing or achieving.
The effects of stress are felt differently for each of us. Maybe you are already feeling irritable, tired, moody, and forgetful, and have tension in your neck, shoulders, mid back or even lower back. Maybe you have headaches, have high blood pressure, chest pain and even have broken sleep patterns. So why I ask, would you do this to yourself?
Let’s extract those ‘to do’ lists from your thoughts and put them to paper!!
Get a small note pad (nothing expensive) and write down categories that are relevant to you; for example, Events, Family, Road Trip, etc.
- Then within each of these categories create subheadings. Then again beneath the subheading write each group or task and continue breaking down each step into manageable parts until you can’t go any further – and that my friend is where you begin!
- Creating a map may also help in order of where to start first then second, third, etc.
- Okay now that you are mindfully prepared and have note pad in hand you are ready to go out and begin ticking off each item as you are able – mindfully.
- It is OK to have tasks remaining on your list until another day…remember mindfulness versus expectation.
Enjoy each success as it occurs rather than dismissing it and moving on to the next task.
I know for many this is like a swear word; however, let me share with you its importance.
You are probably already familiar with the whole ‘70% of our body is made up of water’. It is much more than that. If we approach this from a different perspective and think about that when we go ‘shopping’ more than likely so is everyone else, right?
Every other person is wanting to achieve what you want to achieve – your ‘to do’ list.
Have you noticed in the past, tempers run high, parking is difficult, service is congested, stock may be low and we are all watching the time – leading to frustration and often verbal abuse.
When we are hydrated, we are able to concentrate and make calm rational decisions. Together with mindfulness we display patience, forgiveness and offer help where needed, smile, and generally, we are going to enjoy the whole process a lot more!
So take a drink bottle with you in your hand bag, replace it when needed and take a break here and there and nourish yourself well prior, during and after.
My experience is that when I am cooking for the sake of cooking the food seems to be…well…..bland. Whereas when I prepare food with a smile (literally), perhaps a hum or a song if the radio is playing, smelling the aroma of each ingredient – the food is full of flavour!
Allow yourself to experience your senses! If you have watched Eat, Pray, Love you will know what I mean.
Whether you, friends or family have assisted in preparing food, drinks or props or have practised mindfulness, using strategies to support yourself, celebrating the journey together is my interpretation of ‘soul food’. Feeding the body on all levels; personal success, feeling valued, joy in giving (this may even be when you returned a trolley left out in the car park) is part of loving who you are – that is worthwhile celebrating!
May each and every one of you experience joy in the gathering of family and friends, preparing food together, the sharing of food, rich conversation, story-telling, smiles, laughter, joy, gratitude and fun…soul food.