A Mindful Christmas

A Mindful Christmas

After weeks and weeks of build up, Christmas is finally just around the corner. For me, I think I’ve just about got everything in place and I’m looking forward to seeing the faces on my little ones as they realise that Santa has finally been!

I know though that Christmas can also bring huge amounts of over-excitement, over-tiredness, changes in routine, and can be a recipe for anxiety, stress, or just general boisterous moods! So I’ve pulled together 10 festive activities that can help to turn the dial down and create a little space of calm. Hope you enjoy!

1. Make (and drink!) a hot chocolate

I love a good hot chocolate and it is easy to turn making and drinking one a mindful practice. Take time over the task by making the drink in a pan rather than in the microwave, enjoy the smells that fill the room as the chocolate warms up. When it’s ready, make sure you have fun with finishing off the creation with the toppings. Using an array of toppings to choose from can add another dimension to the process, take time to take in the colours, smells, flavours and create a wonderful topping with whatever you fancy – marshmallows, chocolate dusting, chocolate drops, cream! Then the final stage is to take time in having that first sip. Holding the cup in your hands, notice the warmth coming through the mug and pay attention to the connection and sensations on your hands. Bring the cup to your mouth and notice the aromas and any thoughts or sensations that arise. Then take that mouthful, notice the tastes and sensations fill your mouth before swallowing and enjoying the rest of your drink!

2. Gratitude snowflakes

Making paper snowflakes is such a fun task and I love that moment when you unfold your paper to see what pattern you have created. If you’re not sure where to start with making snowflakes then follow this link for a great step-by-step guide. Whilst making the snowflakes is a wonderful mindful task on it’s own, you can add to this by writing on the snowflake things that you are grateful for this holiday season. You can create a beautiful snowflake scene that help remind you of all the things that you are thankful and grateful for.

3. Christmas yoga

Why not spend time creating your own Christmas yoga routine?! Let your imagination go free to create your own Christmas story with movement. There’s the Christmas tree pose, perhaps child’s pose can represent a bauble, star pose, mountain pose can turn into a candle and you can finish off with a snow angel relaxation, breathing in as you raise your arms and out as you bring them back to your side. If you’re not feeling very creative then Cosmic Kids has lovely Christmas special that you can find here.

 

4. Giving to Others

I fundamentally believe that Christmas is just as much about giving as receiving presents. So why not create some festive treats such as mince pies, shortbread, or chocolates and leave them as a surprise on your neighbours doorstep. A rare time that your child can ring the doorbell and run away!

5. Tea light meditation

Candles provide a wonderful focus for a meditation. Light a candle and create a comfy seat for yourself in front of it. Take 3 deep breaths and, as you do, bring your focus to the candle. Hold your attention on the candle. If your thoughts wander, know that that is fine and bring your attention back to the flame. This can be a hard meditation so why not start with a timer at 30 seconds and try and build on it each time you do it.

6. Set intentions for 2019

I always find this time of year a time of reflection and thinking about the year to come. Instead of resolutions why not set some intentions for 2019. This can be a lovely family activity, perhaps create a collage or picture that you can put up for the year to help remind you all of the intentions you have made for 2019.

7. Mindful Christmas colouring

Colouring is always a favourite mindful activity. If you don’t have a mindful colouring book then there are loads of free printable online.

8. Go for a walk

Sometimes the easiest way to calm things is by getting out of the house for a walk! Wrap up warm and take a mindful walk away from busyness, technology and new presents. Try a simple mindful walking exercise by slowly and carefully walking and paying close attention to how your foot feels as it connects with the ground. Or set an intention for the walk such as to notice five different types of tree or to notice as many colours as you can.

9. Stop & pause

I regularly use this exercise with my little ones when I feel things are just moving into that over-excitement, boisterous place. Use a sound to focus the attention. Singing bowls are great for this as you encourage your child to listen right to the end of the sound. I usually don’t have mine to hand in these moments so my favourite object to use is the rain stick we have in the toy box! I invite my toddler to listen to the sound and then invite him to see if he can make the sound last a long time by turning it slowly. We turn it into a little game by seeing how long he can make it ‘rain’ for.

10. Bedtime meditation

With all the excitement of the day, switching off and going to sleep can be even harder for little ones. Here is a little bedtime meditation script for you to try…

Lying down in any way that is comfortable for you, take 3 deep breaths and feel your body relax into your bed. Gently close your eyes and listen to the story. 
Imagine that you are outside resting somewhere warm, cosy and safe. You look up and see hundreds of stars shining and sparkling overhead. It’s a beautiful sight and, as you watch the stars, you notice a warm, magical feeling start to fill your body. 
Relaxing in your safe, quiet spot, as you gaze into the sky you spot a shooting star. What a magical moment! Suddenly you notice more shooting stars whizzing across the sky and then disappearing. It’s a fantastic sight. Taking a deep breath, you start to gently blow any worry thoughts or wishes you have up to the stars and watch as they disappear into the night sky. As you breathe in and out you send all of your worries and wishes to the stars. 
You feel calm and peaceful under these stars. As the shooting stars quiet and stop, you curl up feeling
happy and grateful for what has been and what is yet to come.

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