As we head towards what is often one of the most stressful times of year, it feels like a good time to reflect on what Christmas stands for and how we might approach it so that we are able to reduce our stress levels, stay in the moment and fully appreciate the true meaning of Christmas as we begin the traditional preparations.

Naturally Christmas is a very busy time for many people but it is important to not get too wrapped up in the lists and the planning and the shopping and the cooking and all the doing. Throughout the Christmas period remember to spend time appreciating the joy and really being with our senses – moment by moment – as much as we can. So here are my thoughts of how we can stop often, to appreciate everything that is special about Christmas.

The Smell of Christmas

Make sure you stop regularly to notice how beautiful Christmas smells. Stand still and smell the cooking, a real tree or the scent from a Christmas candle. Really notice the scent and how it makes you feel. Enjoy it, again and again…

Listen to Christmas Music

As I write this my pc has spookily started playing Christmas music, and I have stopped to listen and notice how I feel. I can sense a gentle tingle of happiness,excitement and peace. Music can be very evocative, stirring many emotions, but for me Christmas music summons a deep feeling of peace, hope and connection to people across the world. I am noticing how this feels deep in my body and enjoying the moment.

Really Taste Christmas

We eat so much food at Christmas, chocolate, cake, mince pies, Christmas dinner and with all the excess it is easy to eat it mindlessly, without really appreciating the flavour at all. So take some time to slow down and notice the food you are eating, appreciating its presentation and smell even before you put it in your mouth. Then experiment with eating each mouthful slowly and quietly. Really notice the different flavours and the textures, and appreciate the long journey the food has been on before it arrived in your house this Christmas.

Look and See Christmas

We put a lot of effort into getting our house ready for Christmas but when the festive period arrives do you make time to stop and really look at your decorations? Watch the glittering lights, spend time watching a candle burn or the flame of a natural fire if you have one at home and observe how noticing all these beautiful things makes your body feel – content? happy? relaxed? excited? peaceful? What ever you notice in that moment when you stop and observe, make sure you really enjoy it and treasure the pleasure.

Touch the Spirit of Christmas

Last but not least, lets remember to enjoy touch at Christmas. As we meet up with special friends and relatives remember to enjoy the sensation of making contact with them, hand shakes, bear hugs and kisses…. Its all good, its about connecting with special people in our lives, make sure you are present at that moment and feel the joy of connecting with other human beings.

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