The holiday season is fast approaching, bringing a flurry of Christmas and year-end festivities and social events. The holidays are about giving: giving to others, giving of yourself and giving to yourself. But along with celebrations comes swarms of shoppers, crowded supermarkets, stretched budgets, possible family squabbles, work commitments and other potential complications that can lead to feelings of overwhelm.
Using a mindful approach in times of busyness can help you to retain a sense of clarity and control over the holiday break. Here are some suggestions to help you to focus on how to best achieve the holiday season you would like to enjoy:
Value your time and focus on what’s important, like making memories with loved ones and getting some rest. Try not to get swept up into doing too much and end up feeling worn out.
Remember that you can say NO if you start to feel overloaded - you don’t have to complete every task before Christmas. Set goals of items to complete before the holiday and be kind to yourself if you need to re-evaluate these goals before the break.
Practice mindfulness by being present and in the moment. Put down those distracting electronic devices and notice what’s happening around you. Take a longer than usual morning shower, or feel the exhilaration of swimming in the ocean, or focus on the environment around you or listen mindfully to conversations with family and friends. It takes practice to be truly mindful but is well worth the effort.
Put yourself first and make time to recharge – no one else can rest you, or walk you or breathe for you - only we can do this for ourselves.
Have some fun! Never underestimate the value of a good laugh with family, friends and colleagues. Having fun releases hormones which help us to feel good about ourselves and our lives.
Look out for others – taking the focus off ourselves by reaching out to someone who may not have the comfort of close relationships in their lives, or helping out with a local charity program can provide us with some perspective about our own blessings.
Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or require assistance to cope with challenges you may be dealing with. Remember, support is available from AccessEAP, the University’s Employee Assistance Program. AccessEAP provide confidential professional counseling 24 hours a day free-of-charge to ACU staff members* and their immediate families. You can contact AccessEAP on 1800818728. In addition, ACU staff can access a range of resources, including relaxation and mindfulness meditations, in the Client Area of the AccessEAP website by taking a few seconds to create an employee login using your ACU email address.