Mindful management for the holidays

Kudos to you! Taking time to read this in the midst of the pre-holiday “make it happen” rush, showing up for a moment for yourself when we’re counting down to the biggest holiday of the year! Give me a minute–that’s all this takes!

You are one big battery, buzzing through the holiday prep. How many activities zap you, drawing energy, as you aim at multi-tasking? Consider this recent research: we only have so much energy. Energy that you direct to goal #1 (wrapping?) takes away from goal #2 (cheerfulness?). You become less efficient. Pretty soon you are drained, and the lights begin to dim as you exhaust your energy. Or you implode in the grocery store line.

The fix is easier than you think. Focus on one task at a time. Ask if you are mindfully putting your energy where it really matters. Is this really the task you want to emphasize? Apply the “when I’m 80” test. When you are 80 years old, is this where you will be glad you poured out your precious energy? If yes, carry on. If not, stop and revise.

To hone your ability to be more mindful in each moment, help your brain develop the mindfulness habit with one of these three focusing-in-the-moment tricks:

1) At every red light, stop and breathe, notice your body, tune into each of your senses in turn.

2) Before you answer the ringing phone, take a breath, count to three, and smile. Your “answering voice” will be transformed.

3) As you reach for any door, pause as you breathe in as you count 1, 2, 3, hold for 1, 2, 3, and breathe out as you count 1, 2, 3.

Pick one. Practice it. In the total scheme of even the busiest days, you have the 60 seconds this might take. We all have daily triggers to remind us to be mindful in the moment. And with each mindful moment, our brains develop the habit, easing into this brief coping respite more smoothly.

It’s a positive spiral, increasing your stress management skills, offering great return on minutes invested. Saving your energy for what matters.

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