What’s the primary emotion you feel when you think of the holidays? Do you tense with anticipation, feel a sense of dread, or are you excited about spending time with loved ones and family? While Thanksgiving is a time of gathering, it can often come with a lot of energy. Chaos, stress, travel, last minute shopping, and loved ones all come into the picture, for many of us, at the same time. Some people check-out, they aren’t fully present during these times, while others choose to avoid holiday events all together.
Because of the increased energy in the air during holiday season, I find it the best time to be diligent with my meditation practice. It helps me to stay calm and refrain from reacting to the increased holiday activity, like the pushy people at the grocery store. During these times, I do my best to avoid unnecessary travel or making too many plans. I keep things as simple as possible because it’s easy to get twisted in the mix of so many things happening at once.
The experience of holiday activity can for some of us be an ungrounding experience, as if the earth is shifting beneath our feet. It’s not uncommon for people experience more accidents and mishaps during the holiday season. It can be an emotionally charged time, especially if you have family members who know exactly how to push your buttons. Because of this, it’s important to stay centered. When you feel impeding forces, let yourself connect to a sense of spaciousness. Take time to return back to your heart.
Here are 3 essential meditation tools that will help you stay sane and enjoy your time this week.
- Center Yourself – Whether you are preparing Thanksgiving dinner, hosting family or shopping, take time to center yourself. Imagine gathering all your energy into your centerline and ground it to the earth. See yourself as a pillar: strong, relaxed and open. I like to imagine my core centerline wide and deep, anchored right into the center of the earth. The more centered you are, the less likely you’ll get “off-center” when your family member says that “off-handed comment!” You’re likely to bounce back with a calm, cool and collected.
- Slow Down – During the holidays, it’s easy to get into a tizzy with a lot of doing and busyness. Yes, there’s a lot to do but you don’t have to do it all at once. Take more time to consciously slow down. Slow down your movements, slow down your breath. When slow down your inhale and exhale, it sends a signal to your brain to relax and this actually slows down the rate of your thoughts. It helps you feel more at ease – and sane!
- Practice Compassion – Compassion alleviates a great deal of inner-tension and stress. It can be easy to get activated around our family. We may make snap judgments or feel pressured to make a delicious dinner. There can be old issues that come to the surface. During these times, it’s important to remember to practice compassion, for both ourselves and for others. It not only relaxes us, but it opens the space for true connection.
Remember these 3 simple practices this week. If you need to anchor yourself, you can practice this metta meditation which encourages lovingkindness for ourselves and others.
May all beings be safe
May all beings be healthy
May all beings be free
Travel safe and enjoy yourself this T-day. When you feel the holiday stress, remember: there is always something to be grateful for. Meditate on what you’re grateful for and it will help you release any extra tension and stress.