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How Mindfulness Can Help You De-Stress During the Holidays

If you’re feeling holiday stress, check out these mindful tips for managing your yuletide woes:

Savor the Joyful Moments

Let’s start this discussion with the positives. One of the best mindful practices you can do this holiday season is to savor the joy. Be present for those moments, whether that’s enjoying a cup of eggnog by yourself, taking a walk through your neighborhood with a loved one to look at the holiday decorations, or reading a classic holiday story to your child. Take a deep breath. Notice what it feels like to feel peaceful, loved, happy, relaxed, or whatever positive emotion you’re experiencing.

Enjoy the Busy

When you think about it, often the things that make holidays stressful are actually quite enjoyable: baking cookies, decorating the tree, buying and wrapping presents. When you are tempted to say you’re too busy or stressed during the holidays, try to reframe it. Your holidays are full, and you have chosen to do them that way (hopefully). Your “busy” holidays can be a celebration of family, friendship, love, and abundance. Or they can just be busy. YOU get to choose.

Engage Your Senses

Your five senses provide a way to focus on the moment, a key aspect of mindfulness. Throughout the day, pause to check in with all of your senses.
For example:

  • Feel the coziness of a warm, soft blanket.
  • Inhale deeply to smell the aromas of the holidays like fresh-baked cookies, evergreen trees, or cinnamon-scented candles.
  • Take a moment to see the beauty in the blue sky, twinkling lights, or wintery landscape.
  • Listen intently to a beloved holiday song.
  • Relish the taste of a favorite holiday treat.


When you begin to feel anxiety or stress creeping into your day, pause for a few minutes. Ask yourself what you smell, taste, see, hear, and feel. Let everything else escape your mind as you give full awareness to your senses.

Take Pause

Mindfulness cues happen during the day to remind us to reset. For example, your seasonal mindfulness cue could be Christmas music or holiday smells. The idea is when you hear the music or smell the holiday scents, you teach yourself to notice them and take a moment to quiet your mind. You might practice deep breathing, count backward from one hundred, or simply check in with yourself to see what emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are occurring at that moment.

Once you get in the habit of using mindfulness cues, they can provide you with constant reminders to get back into the moment. This is a great way to help you stay calm during the holidays.

Take 5 to breathe

This December, set aside five minutes throughout your day and simply breathe. The peace and calm you create during these moments can be summoned whenever you need them, whether you’re racing to the post office or lamenting the inability to find the perfect gift for someone special. The calm will bring you back to the moment, help you enjoy the busy and remind you what you enjoy most about the holidays.

Be Mindfully Merry this Season

Mindfulness during the holidays is about creating a sense of awareness, acceptance, and engagement. Give yourself the gift of pausing and reflecting on unique ways you can strengthen your overall levels of awareness, acceptance, and engagement during the holidays.

This might mean increasing awareness, noticing acts of kindness during the season, accepting that you can’t be with some loved ones this year, and engaging with experiences or traditions that truly bring you joy.

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