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The Harvest Herald Newsletter



Click here for the current NOVEMBER 2017 issue


 Read December’s Full Health Article Below  



Mindfulness is a way to be open and aware of what is happening in the moment, being present both internally and externally. Mindfulness has been shown to improve relationship satisfaction, reduce situational stress, and increase empathy. Mindful practices help reduce internal stress and anxiety.  Though the holiday season is a time of joy and family gatherings, it can also be a time of stress.  Instead of being overwhelmed or exhausted by the many demands of the holidays, it can be a different experience, one involving more “being” and less “doing”. The results could mean connecting more fully with your holiday experiences and your life in general as you begin to feel more alive and present.

1) Practice active listening.  Active listening works best when you minimize distractions, so put away your smartphone, turn off the TV, and turn down the music so that you can hear what people are saying. Acknowledge and encourage people to communicate by giving a simple nod or smile and respond by engaging directly with what they said.

2) Be open to the emotions of others. By being attentive and receptive to the people around you, you can increase your ability to connect. Observe how people are feeling during the holidays, and be open to communication of those feelings.

3) Be open to a range of emotions in yourself. Holidays can bring up a whole host of different emotions, and not all of them happy or celebratory.  You might experience difficult feelings, especially when loved ones are absent, so allow yourself to make space and acknowledge whatever emotions come up for you rather than try to get rid of them.

4) Let go of old habits or patterns that might be holding you back. Holidays come with traditions and memories but sometimes, old patterns can perpetuate negativity.  Notice thoughts and feelings that are happening now, and try to be curious about what is happening, rather than being stuck in thoughts or feelings you might be carrying from the past.

5) Expand how you communicate care. The holidays often means gift-giving for many cultures, though there are many other ways of showing that you care.  Are there additional ways to show that feeling or care, such as spending quality time, expressing how you feel about them directly, or doing something nice and supportive?

6) Let go of judgment—both for yourself and others. Conflict with family and friends during the holidays can lead to judgment and self-criticism.  Take a step back and try to loosen those feelings and even if it’s hard to let go of criticism completely, simply notice when it is happening without entangling yourself in those thoughts  and give yourself distance from the feeling.

7) Balance the obligations with awareness of your own needs. Holiday obligations can be important but operating on obligations alone and trying to please everyone’s expectations can lead to resentment and burnout. Rather than focus solely on planning the perfect dinner or getting perfect gift, observe how these expectations affect you. Make sure to take the time and space you need to nourish yourself in the meantime.

8) Practice self-compassionDuring a busy holiday season, don’t forget to take care of yourself and be good to yourself. Get regular sleep and exercise, and take time to do relaxing or fun things so that you can recharge.

Resource:  Mindful, December 2010; Psychology Today Blog 2016


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The Harvest Herald Newsletter Archive:

• August 2017
• July 2017
• June 2017
•  May 2017
• April 2017

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