Make Your Holiday Gatherings Mindful

The holidays can be one of the happiest times of the year, but

they can also be stressful and exhausting! Cooking the holiday dinner, prepping the house for guests, buying holiday gifts for the family and friends — sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. But what if we could eliminate some of that stress by making our gatherings a little more mindful?

Incorporate some of these tips for a mindful holiday season.

Start Your Meal with a Loving-Kindness Meditation

If your family doesn’t say grace before a meal, start a new tradition of following along with this loving-kindness meditation. Allow one person to lead the meditation while the others silently repeat the phrases in their head.

May we be happy.

May we be healthy and strong.

May we be peaceful and filled with ease.

Feel free to adjust these phrases to fit your family and current situations.

Eat with Mindfulness

We put so much time and effort into making the most perfect and elaborate Thanksgiving dinner, but then we gobble it down in less than a half-hour! Instead, take time to enjoy the food!

Take your first few bites is silence, savor the flavors, notice the textures of the food, smell the delicious aromas. Don’t just vacuum down the food on your plate! Learn more about eating mindfully every day.

Mindfully Listen to Dinner Conversation

Regardless of who is talking and what they may be talking about, listen to them — and I mean truly listen. Don’t halfway listen and allow your mind to wander and hear just what it wants to hear. Be present at the dinner table.

Find out What Everyone Is Thankful for

This is a tradition in so many households around the country, and if it’s not one in yours, it’s time to make it one!

Go around the table and have everyone state one thing they’re thankful for. It could be a thing, an event, a person — whatever comes to mind! Or be a little different and share your favorite Thanksgiving or holiday memories. It’s sure to get the conversation flowing!

Create a Random Act of Kindness List with the Kids

Since Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks and giving back, sit down with the kids and have them make a list that includes things like:

  • Old toys they want to donate (since Santa will probably be bringing more soon)
  • Holiday gifts they’d like to purchase for a local toy drive
  • A place they’d like to volunteer over their holiday break

Be Mindful While Cleaning up the Aftermath of the Gathering

We love holiday get-togethers, but no one loves cleaning up afterwards. Make the most of it by practicing mindfulness while you’re doing it! Don’t let your mind wander to the next to-do on your list or get overwhelmed by how much you have to clean up — just focus on the task at hand. Focus on the sounds, the smells, the movements you make.

No matter how you’re spending your holidays, try to make mindfulness a part of your day.