SoulCare® Practices

Mindful Holidays

The holiday season is upon us and for most people the holidays are a busy time of year. We are often focused on the busyness and stress of the season, fueled by longer “to-do” lists, full calendars, and family dynamics. Then sprinkle in the commercialization of the holiday season and we might be missing the mark on the true meaning of the season.  


The word holiday comes an old English word for “holy day” and is related to a German word meaning “blessed”. In Hebrew, the word “holy” means to set apart. Wherever our religious or spiritual beliefs land, the holiday season is a time of year that is “set apart”. We take time out for reflection, renewing our faith, gathering with family and friends, and time off from our daily routine.

How do we reconnect and reframe to create deeper more meaningful connections during the holidays? The answer is a simple one: be present. Simple, but quite challenging in our worlds that are over-full of distractions. Cultivating a regular practice of Mindfulness is the “how” of being present.


What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness means to be aware of your surroundings and to make a conscious effort to be fully engaged in the present moment. The beauty and simplicity of mindfulness is that we can practice it anywhere, and it can be applied to everything we do. Mindfulness begins by slowing down and focusing on what is important to you in the “here and now”, i.e., the present moment. It means bringing your full attention to where you are, what you are doing, and who you are with. We notice our feelings, our thoughts, and our surroundings, all with a backdrop of self-compassion and without judgement.  A powerful anchor to the present moment is with our breath. We cannot breathe in the past or in the future, we can only breathe in the present.


What are Mindful Holidays?

Mindful holidays begin with a commitment to bring present-moment awareness to all of your activities, conversations, and interactions during the holidays. We can be mindful shopping, standing in along line, or having a conversation with a challenging family interaction. Being fully present puts us in a calm, thoughtful and responsive state as opposed to a stressed and reactive state. Mindful holidays are a choice of where I want to focus my attention. Navigating the holidays with Mindfulness can actually reduce stress and allow for more enjoyment of the season that is “set apart” and only comes around once a year.  


Two powerful questions tore-frame and re-focus the holiday season:

Our minds believe what we tell it, so why not tell it an outcome you want? Start with setting an intention for holiday season with our first question:

Who will you “be”?

Consider your state of being-ness. What are 3 ways of being that will be your backdrop for the holidays? (ex: “I will be grateful, kind and flexible”)

Next, our second question:

How do you want to feel?

Visioning a desired outcome gives our mind a point of focus. Take a moment to reflect on how you want to  feel after the holidays. What will be the bright-spots of 2023 holiday season?


Easy tips for practicing and experiencing Mindful Holidays:

  • Embrace the moment
  • Express gratitude to someone
  • Unplug, turn off screens
  • Savor the sweets
  • Be flexible

Another idea: Practice the “Daily 3s”

  • 3 Gratitudes
  • 3 Belly Breaths
  • 3 Mindful Moments