No matter which holidays you celebrate in the wintertime, if any, you might feel an increase in stress this time of year. With final exams at school, coworkers out of the office, a slow job search season, family and friends visiting you, you visiting family and friends elsewhere, gift-giving, and more, it feels like there’s more on our plates each November and December than other times of year.
When it starts to feel like too much, it’s easy to feel like you might snap, and that there’s not enough time or space to take a break for yourself. But actually—there is. This year, give yourself the gift of a mindful minute and try out what even one minute—60 seconds—can do to help you relieve stress and maintain balance.
What’s a mindful minute? It’s one minute of doing a mindful activity like deep breathing, guided meditation, noticing the things around you, or otherwise just hitting the pause button and taking a moment to fully be in the present moment. Here’s some ways to try it out if you’re new to mindfulness.
Conscious, intentional breathing that slows our breath can help to calm us down. Try it out by breathing along with the shape below – breathe in as it grows, and out as it shrinks. You can also practice this by counting slowly to 5 (or 8, or 10, your choice!) as you inhale, then hold your breath for the same count, then exhale for the same count.
Another way to practice mindfulness is becoming more aware of what’s around you in the present moment. You can practice this easily with a 5 Senses exercise.
If you want to go beyond a mindful minute this season, try out mindful eating at one of your holiday meals. Mindful eating is basically being more attentive and present as you eat your meal, engaging all of your senses in the food. You can practice this by turning off your phone or other distractions while eating, eating slowly, chewing thoroughly, and stopping when you feel full. To learn more, check out these articles from Healthline and Zen Habits.
Want to learn more about mindfulness and balance? Check out this post on work-life balance, and attend the DU Women’s Professional Alliance event Healthy Holiday Survival Guide on Tuesday, December 5.