You are currently viewing Having a Mindful Holiday Season: Reflective Questions
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Even under more normal conditions, the holiday season can be a bit fraught. 

In today’s world, families stretch across states or even countries. Touched by difficult circumstances, losses of all kinds, and challenges of living in a changing world, the holiday season can prove stressful.  

Perhaps it is your first season without someone you love. Or maybe it’s your 20th season without that beloved individual. Maybe separation or divorce has impacted your sense of family, holidays, and traditions. Whatever your loss, the holidays may spark memories of traditions of the past. Under changed circumstances, the holiday season also calls for reflection and redefining what’s most important now. It can be challenging to navigate the past as well as create a sense of something new and healing. 

As you look ahead into the holiday season, reflect on how you would like to feel now. 

You get to choose what feels like the best thing for you and your family. It can be overwhelming to recognize your ability to choose. It can also be an opportunity to be curious and creative. 

Here are some self-coaching questions to assist you in discerning how to live into this season. 

Think about traditions in your family or community. What are the things that have touched you deeply across the years of your life? What are expressions of those traditions – foods, practices, gatherings? This is an opportunity to honor things that have been meaningful in the past as well as tap into new meanings. 

Who would you like to spend time with this holiday season? 

If, for instance, you are living in a new place and don’t have family nearby, who would you like to invite now? Would you like to be surrounded by new friends? Or would you feel more comfortable having a quiet time for yourself on this holiday? 

Foods offer us the opportunities to use our senses to remember as well as create. When you think of one of the upcoming holidays, what foods would bring you closer to your good memories? What foods would you like to explore for the season you are in now? 

Scents can be deeply connected to the holiday season. The smell of baking, of a Christmas tree, of foods prepared only once a year. Maybe you don’t want to prepare some of the same foods or perhaps these scents will be the comforting thing during a new holiday. Identify foods as well as scents that bring you peace during this season. 

Starting new traditions can also be part of your holiday season. 

Rather than participating in things you’ve “always” done, consider what you might do that is inviting now. For example, are there community events that might appeal to your sense of something new? Is there a holiday kick-off? Are there restaurants offering meal specials so you don’t have to prepare a big meal? Are there places you would like to visit? Search online for activities or events in your area that might be fun to try. 

The Irish do not say they are sad. Rather they explain that sadness has come upon them. In the season of change, you find yourself; you may feel sadness has come upon you. For good reason, we need to honor our sense of sadness, change, and loss. At the same time, we can look at the season ahead with curiosity, kindness, gentleness, and care. We get to acknowledge what feels hard about the season. We get to explore what will feel comforting. 

What’s one thing you’re doing to prioritize your well-being this holiday season? Share your tips in the comments below!

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