Holidays can be more of a holidaze with all the shopping, sipping, toasting and traveling that bewilders and besmirches the month of December. It’s not all bad, of course; there’s celebration, lots of socially acceptable indulging, and loving family time. Staying afloat and calm while swimming through aisles of garland and navigating mall traffic is no harder than simply being.
Esoteric? Maybe. Somewhat simple? Absolutely! It’s called meditation: the act of sitting and trying to calm the mind while detaching from your thoughts and being present with your breath. If you’re like many people who think that sounds less than desirable because, who really wants to sit with the cobwebs of their mind anyway?—don’t fret! It’s not as scary as it sounds. Plus, if there’s any time to enjoy the busyness of the season, it’s the holidays.
Let’s set one thing straight: Meditation doesn’t have to take two hours of every morning under the boddhi tree to reclaim your state of sanity or transcendence. It can be done while walking the dog in the morning, or dedicating 5 minutes to enjoy warm lemon water at night before hitting the hay. For simplicity purposes, let’s refer to this simple meditation as “me time.”
Shift your morning, lunch or night routine—just a bit—to commit to yourself, your thoughts and your breath for as little 10 minutes a day to start reaping the benefits of meditation (read more on the benefits here).
Ready to give it a try? Here are our 5 tips to make meditation part of your day:
It seems more difficult than it is when life feels hectic from morning to night. First, think of a place where you have privacy – a place that is both quiet and not highly cluttered. Even places where you hear traffic or white noise can help you detach from your day and find a feeling of peace. Maybe that spot is your car after dropping the kids off, on the patio first thing in the morning, or a little corner of your bedroom in a comfy chair. Once you claim it, start sitting there during your “me” time.
We often rush through our days not even aware of all the hard work our body is doing for us by simply breathing. Deepak Chopra is a world-renowned thought leader and innovator in integrative medicine who talks about the breath as a resource to find centering and calmness, and provides specific breath exercises that could help you with starting a more consistent meditation practice. So begin your “me time” with a few conscious and grateful breaths.
Like we said: coming out of the gates with the intention of meditating for 2 hours every day, though may be necessary this holiday season, probably isn’t sustainable. Start with 5 to 10 minutes, then work your way up from there. The most important thing to focus on is to limit distractions – that means no radio, music or TV that would let your mind wander. And if there is ever a day that all you seem to have time for is a few solid deep breaths, well that’s great too!
Insight Timer, available for iPhone or Android, is a meditation app that guides you, times you, and connects you. With Tibetan singing bowls to bring you in and out of your chosen length of meditation, it lets you share and connect with other users to create a zenned-out community and offer support for when you’re needing a little extra love. Headspace is another app we love that allows you to trial a 10-day meditation practice free.
Starting a meditation practice takes dedication and time, and may not be easy for you to implement. That’s okay. Keep at it, eventually the time between thoughts will increase, your distractions will decrease and you will begin to truly value the time to yourself. Remind yourself that fostering your mind will allow you to be your best self for your family, friends, career and the holiday craziness. Your body and mind is a pretty incredible thing – be kind to it.
So give it a try and let us know what works for you! Merry meditating, friends!