Looking Ahead to the New Year

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Can you believe it? 2021 is almost over and soon we will be ringing in a new year!

What are these days like for you? Do you find yourself in a reflective space or are you just pushing through each day? Either way, I hope you find time to consider what you want for yourself in the new year (doesn’t matter if you call it new year resolutions, new year goals, or whatever else sounds good to you).

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Staying Mindful During the Holidays

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While it’s always a great idea to stay mindful throughout our days, during the holidays we are more likely to experience a change in our normal routines and activities (eg., additional friends & family visiting, change in work or home schedule, or travelling), so it’s probably a nice idea to still stay connected to mindfulness to help you navigate these changes.

Here are a few ways to stay mindful during this holiday season:

Be easy with yourself as you adjust to any change in your normal routine. For some, any changes to a normal routine can cause some anxiety and stress. It may be a good idea to pay attention, in the moment, to how you are responding to the changes in your normal routine and offer yourself some compassion.

If you are alone during the holidays, find healthy ways to cope. For some, it’s not possible to be with family, loved ones, or friends during the holidays (for many reasons). If you are alone (whether by choice or due to other reasons) consider how you might still stay connected with others (eg., zoom game night) and how you can spend your time in ways that will make you happy. It’s okay to acknowledge your feelings during this time. Notice what emotions come up and how these emotions show up in your body. When you notice emotions arising, pause and pay attention to what is happening. Try to name the emotion without any self-judgment.

Consider those who have less resources than you. While it’s a good practice to think about this often, during the holidays it’s helpful to think about those who have less resources (eg., food, warm clothing) and identify a way you might be able to support them. For example, can you make a donation to a local food pantry or community organization? Can you donate to a local coat drive? Can you share a meal with a student or another person who may not be with their loved ones? Or, can you spend 1 minute doing a loving kindness meditation while thinking of those around you who may have less resources? Find what works for you. The goal is to be present and mindful as you reflect on what you have, and to also consider the needs of others.

What are some other ways you might stay mindful during the holidays?

~ Karisse C

How I Calmed Anxiety By Observing Others Interact

one of the mandatory window seat pic 🙂

Recently I was on a long international flight and I happened to be seated next to two older gentlemen. I had the window seat and I just wanted to look out the window and not interact with anyone. I wanted to pop in my headphones and ignore everyone and everything around me. I felt anxiety about flying and the reason for my unplanned trip was also a factor in my increased anxiety. I wanted to get lost and absorbed in the podcast episodes I downloaded and forget for a few hours that I was experiencing a major shift in my life.

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Take Care of Your Mind and Body

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We’re always flooded with information about self-care and ways to practice self-care, and if I’m being honest, all the information can be a bit overwhelming at times. I find it easier and more simple to follow the lead of my body instead of the trends. After all, our bodies tend to give us pretty clear signals about what is needed for rejuvenation and sometimes (because life happens) we don’t always hear what our body is saying.

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3 Ways to Practice Gratitude Every Day

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Usually around this time of year we focus on gratitude and making gratitude lists in preparation for Thanksgiving. What if we adopted gratitude as a way of life instead of an occasional effort?

One of my favorite books about gratefulness is Kristi Nelson‘s book, Wake Up Grateful. According to Kristi, gratefulness does not only occur when something good happens, instead it is consistently being open to express gratitude in each moment. However gratitude is aligned with an event (eg., gratitude for waking up). Kristi reminds us that “when we feel grateful we are happier, healthier, kinder, more generous, more satisfied, and more resilient.” [Wake up Grateful, p. 12] Kristi also encourages us to see gratefulness as a way of being where we can place our attention and navigate life using gratitude as the guide.

Here are three ways you can start building a foundation for a life of gratefulness.

When you wake up: make a gratitude list part of your morning routine and notice what it feels like to sit with gratitude before you start your day

Before you eat: practice gratitude for the food, snack, drink you are about to consume. Consider how the earth’s resources were sourced in order to make your meal or drink possible. Think about the people involved in the production of your meal or drink

At bedtime: reflect on the day and express gratitude for the experiences throughout the day. Even when things seemed stressful, consider what personal growth you experienced and what you learned about yourself based on those experiences.

Gradually, you can increase the times you express gratitude throughout your day until it feels like a natural practice. As Kristi says, “no matter what you do to reminder yourself to take nothing for granted, how you arrive at openness for surprise, where you turn to notice beauty, or whom you choose to appreciate more fully – you are living gratefully.”

When do you practice gratitude?

How can you increase your moments of gratitude in each day?

~ Karisse C