Today, I am delighted to share with you a guest post from a special friend of mine, Jemima. She’s a yoga teacher and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner, who specialises in stress reduction. Like me, Jemima is also passionate about nutrition and meditation, recognising the positive effects they undoubtedly have on our physical and mental well-being.
In this post, Jemima is going to share some tips on how we can maintain a sense of calm in the busy weeks leading up to Christmas. You’ll also get to meet Jemima as she’s kindly made a short video tutorial for us on how to do a simple breathing meditation. It may be simple, but it’s extremely effective. If you haven’t tried meditating before, I hope you’re encouraged to give it a try!
With no further ado, let me pass you over to Jemima…
So, here we are…Christmas lights have been officially switched on in town, adverts are bombarding us at every opportunity and the great race to consume as much as possible before the 25th December has begun. Many people would rather not be drawn into these manic and soul-less preparations but how do we resist? How do we avoid the prickling panic sensation of not having bought enough for our families? How do we banish the temptation to over-eat, over-drink and over-spend when that is the norm at this time of year for so many?
Whenever I face a tough question or emotion, I have found it useful to ask – what do you want instead?
What do you want instead?
It’s really easy to list all the things that we DON’T want and to become caught in a negative cycle of constantly trying to push things out of our way, creating more problems for ourselves as our brains don’t have the capacity to process a negative. (Try this – don’t think of a red box, you can’t help it can you?) So instead of thinking – “I don’t want to overspend this Christmas” or “I don’t want to put on weight this Christmas” – try stating what you DO want.
As if by magic your brain will then look for all the ways you can make those things possible, because the brain wants to find evidence to support what it believes to be true… So you could have “I’d like to give heartfelt gifts this year and stay within my planned budget” or “I’d like to eat food that nourishes and energizes me”. You’ll be amazed at how many solutions seem to appear out of thin air.
Stay in the moment
There is a saying that goes “Anxiety is born of living in the future and depression is born of living in the past”. While I think this is oversimplifying to some extent, I do believe very much in the benefits of tuning into the present moment. An easy way to do this is to focus on the breath. Take a quick look at the video below and I’ll show you exactly how to start right now…
This is one of my favourite ways to feel good when I am in need of a boost. Take a pen and pad and find a comfy spot. Make a list of everything in your life that you are grateful for. No thing is to big or too small, get it all down. From your house, food in the fridge to the smile your daughter gave you this morning, from indoor plumbing to the love you share with a special person. Run with it, keep writing even if you get stuck. This exercise can be very profound and may cause leakage from the eyeballs which is absolutely 100% OK. After 5 minutes stop and read your list back to yourself. Relish the feelings that come up, all the sensations, let the gratitude fill you up until it starts to overflow. Tomorrow, make another list.
These 3 specific tips have helped me stay grounded and calm and you may find that they help you to tune into your true nature again and fill up on all the good stuff whenever you want (– not only at Christmas!) the stuff that we can never over-consume and that is truly nourishing, namely love, gratitude and peacefulness.
Wishing you all an amazing Christmas and with special thanks to Sharon for asking me to guest blog here.
And thank you Jemima! ♥
If you’d like to connect with Jemima, you’ll find her here: Sunshine Yoga Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.
Do you find that your stress levels rise over the festive period? I know it’s the most testing time of the year for me. There always seems so much to do and the days fly past quicker than ever!
Do you have your own methods for avoiding stress at Christmas time? If so, please do share below.
Also, I’d love to hear whether you’ve tried meditation.