Christmas is almost here!
Are you ready for one of the most important days of the festive season? Have you done all your gift shopping? Are the presents all wrapped? Have you decided on the menu? Have you done the necessary food shop or are there last minute food items to purchase? Have you planned which member of the family is responsible for which course of the meal? And the list goes on!
It is so easy to feel overwhelmed by all the preparations and the lead up to this festive time that we may forget to enjoy the experience, to just be in the moment and remember what Christmas is all about. To just be PRESENT.
In this Blog we are featuring Mindfulness Coach Lucy Woods of Presence of Mind.
Lucy is trained with Mindful Academy International, who are an accredited CPD training company, that use the MBI-TAC standards developed by Bangor University CMRP.Lucy started her journey as a Mindfulness Coach after a career spanning 20 years as an HR and Training Manager in the City. Lucy had always practised Mindfulness herself but left her City career to retrain to teach as she was acutely aware of the stress that we experience on a day to day basis at work or at home. So Lucy had the desire to bring the benefits of mindfulness practice to as many people as possible.
Lucy is currently studying for a masters in Mindfulness at Bangor University.
Christmas is nearly here and for many it is a time of celebration, presents overeating and drinking! For others the festive period can be difficult and, even those that appear to be coping well will at some point or another suffer with difficult emotions, stress or even grief. We often have so much going on that we spend half of our time living in our heads worrying about the past or future and not being fully present to enjoy what is actually happening right now. Should we wait for the stressors to affect us before we take action?
There’s so much to do to prepare for this busy time that we often forget to give ourselves some space to enjoy the festivities. We can allow the organisation of Christmas to become so overwhelming and stressful that we miss out on the actual experience of the special day! So, what can we do to remind ourselves to turn up?
I bet you’ll have a plan for what time you start cooking the meat and when the vegetables need to be on (I usually get my other half to do this), so why not plan in some actual “being” time instead of “doing” time. It may be as little as ten minutes of focused time with your loved ones, perhaps opening presents, but when it’s time, really choose to be present and notice every little thing. The mind will really want to wander off to thinking about the gravy, but as best you can be present for that allocated time and when your mind wanders (which it always will), just notice that and bring yourself back to that moment. Finally, when the cooking is done and you finally sit down to eat, you can choose to be present again. Savour each mouthful, enjoy every laugh and every smile.
Just like going to the gym to keep fit, mindfulness is practiced to keep mentally well. To paraphrase Jon Kabat-Zinn, you can’t build your parachute as you are falling. Regular mindfulness practice enables us to be able to relate to our thoughts and emotions more effectively and we learn to really experience the wonderful feeling of being present.
Give yourself and your family and friends the best present this Christmas.
Be present for Christmas!
Lucy Woods is the founder of Presence of Mind, Mindfulness tuition in North London.
Visit her website www.pom.org.uk