The idea of preserving and cherishing your zen throughout the holidays probably seems like an unattainable task. Who has time to sit and think about nothing when gifts need to be wrapped, cards need to be mailed, requested breads need to be baked, flights need to be caught, the perfect dress needs to be found, and a smile needs to be tattooed onto your face? There is indeed a dilemma.
But after investing so much time and mileage on my journey toward zen, I don’t wish to go backwards, however tempting the excuse of the holidays is. That’s the challenge with cultivating zen, when you feel the least like dealing with your state of mind, is when you need it the most. The truth is I’m a novice in the practice of finding my meditative state of mind, but steps are steps toward something and I don’t want to take them back.
9 things not to forget this holiday season:
1. Meditate. Dedicate time for zen preservation. Set an alarm clock and excuse yourself for twenty minutes (even if you’re grandmother asks you where you’re going and why you’re leaving and if you’re feeling ok and if you need something).
2. Drink water. With the higher intake of sweets, salts and booze during the season, make sure you hydrate well. It helps prevent headaches and strains on the body like retaining water. It’s easy to forget when another glass of champagne is easier to access than a glass of water (this can so easily be the case at so many parties).
3. Mind Control. No, not your passive aggressive aunt’s mind, but your own. Unfortunately, we can’t stop her from pointing out some imaginary weight gain, but we can stop her from affecting our state of mind by thought suppressing and reinforcing our own self-confidence internally. For example, stop yourself from asking your mom if you really have gained weight. Instead, find a mantra to say to yourself during these moments like, “I am healthy,” or “I am thankful” etc.
4. Help out. Pay attention to your surroundings. Is someone struggling to take out the trash? Is a mom looking for a quiet place to breastfeed? Is your uncle having a hard time finding a clean glass? Are dirty dishes hanging around? Get moving and let the positivity flow.
6. Ask. Ask others about their lives. Ask how they’re feeling, how their year was. Ask others if they need a hand, if they need anything. Ask yourself if you need a minute. Check in and be aware.
7. Exercise. This one can be really tough, especially if you’re traveling. I’m pretty worried about this one because I really don’t have space in my suitcase for sneakers, sports bras and windbreakers. This is a perfect excuse not to workout all week, but I’m aiming to take walks in my boots and coats. Also, I’m unashamedly going to do lunges, pushups and crunches in my underwear before showers. Weird? Who cares. Pre-shower time is your time!
9. Quiet time. Remember to take a break from the jingle bells. All the music and small talk can be exhausting for your head. Try to find quiet space for meditation, nature observation or journaling or basic rest.
Peace be in you this season!
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