This time of year is when we most need to lean in to our meditation and other practices that help us to thrive. Ironically this is also the time when most of our good habits fall victim to old habits- procrastination, self care prioritized to the bottom of the list, high emotional content, motivation tanks… You count the ways we devolve as we count down to New Year’s Eve.
About seven years ago, around September, I decided that the slip and slide of fall-into-winter’s toll was not doing my health, relationships or students any favors. I decided it was not going to happen this year, and I succeeded in being a little bit better at keeping my routine!
I made a promise to:
- maintain my personal practice
- keep free of over commitment
- take care of myself so I can care for others
So right about now, I can really dig deep into my reserves to do a little better at all of these during the busiest and perhaps most personally challenging time of the year.
Every year I get a little bit better at riding the rollercoaster towards the end of the year. The result is GREATER ENJOYMENT! I have fun and at the end of the year am not completely wiped out. Sound like something you desire? Well, I always say that every day is a new beginning; every breath is a new start. Here’s an excellent way to support your resolve to keep off of the holiday slip and slide. It will only take about 10 minutes, but the results will last throughout the year!
Find a quiet place to sit comfortably, in a chair or on your sofa. Have a pencil or pen and scrap of paper ready, or if you are a phone-note taker, your phone set to notes to write down a quick note without getting distracted when you pick it up.
Place your hands on your thighs or knees, and close your eyes. Think of how you would like to feel over the next few weeks. If that triggers too much, think of how you would like to get through this day. Examples might be “to feel content”, “to act with kindness”, “be patient with myself and others”, “smile more often”.
After you have the feeling in mind, see yourself in a few interactions of your day, with these characteristics. Breathe in, and out, deeply and often, see yourself content, kind, patient, whatever you have chosen.
Pause and focus on your breath for 5 cycles.
Now think of a few things that you can do that would support you in this quest to be (kind, patient, content, etc). Examples might be “have a cup of hot tea by myself mid morning’, “gaze out a window for 5 minutes”, “meditate for 10 minutes upon waking”, “take 15-minute walk”, “say no once a day to a request”, “look at my calendar before saying yes to ANY request of my time”, and so on.
Now open your eyes and write down three things that you can commit to doing, at least one of once a day. Commit the list to memory.
Pro-TIP: Put the list on a piece of paper. Put the piece of paper with what I call “transfer items” like your metro card, chapstick, lip gloss, wallet, etc; things that you transfer from one jacket to the next, or between purses. You’ll forget about it, except those times when you go to transfer and unfold the paper to see what it is! Having forgotten what it was, you look at it, and it’s a reminder to check in on how well you are doing with this new promise to yourself.
Let me know how it goes, and any changes you made to make this work for you!
Happy Holidaze! XoR