In stores across the country, on the first of November, the spooky costumes and miniature candies from Halloween are rapidly replaced by a sea of red and green. Holiday ads begin popping up on social media, TV, email inboxes, and in the physical mail. The bombardment of advertisement and societal pressure to buy material gifts, matched with the desire to feel love and connection during the holidays can sometimes lead to a bit of a frenzy.
The winter holidays are often nostalgic, a time when families are reunited and everyday problems are temporarily put on pause. For this reason, it can be easy to overspend and consume in preparation, wanting to ensure happiness during the holidays. However, it is important to remember that money cannot buy happiness. The following are three ways to practice mindfulness this season:
When stress takes over, self-care is often the first to be neglected. Try not to let anxious thoughts dominate actions. Bring yourself back into your physical body by concentrating on your breath, doing some yoga, or taking a walk in nature if it is not too cold. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, as long as it allows you to feel grounded and find stillness. With the mind calm, it is easier to organize and plan for the festivities. This also allows you to put conscious thought into the gifts you choose to buy.
Across the country, materialism is evident. The overconsumption of material items leads to the build-up of clutter within homes and then in landfills once the items are discarded. Consider making DIY gifts, regifting an item you already have, gifting an experience rather than a physical item, or supporting a local business.
If you choose to shop for the holidays at the mall or at large department stores, try to enter the store with a plan rather than aimlessly wandering. Reduce the incidents of “impulse buys” by knowing exactly what you are looking for and what your budget is. Try to remember that buying something on sale that you would not have otherwise purchased, is still spending, not saving money.
Gadgets and shiny objects can be incredibly distracting from the true beauty in life. There is magic to be found in the ordinary moments. The exchanges of laughter and feelings of love highlight the human experience. Focus on all that you are grateful for this holiday season and encourage those around you to do the same. Spread the love and joy to everyone you encounter. You never know what someone is going through or how a kind gesture can make someone’s day. Lastly, take the time to celebrate connection, between humans and the world around us.