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Jingle bells or jangling nerves? Reclaim your Christmas spirit

Jingle bells or jangling nerves? Reclaim your Christmas spirit

When you’re surrounded by images of jolly, festive families, feeling stressed, anxious, lonely or angry can fill your mind with negativity. Here at Weleda we want to help you feel well, so we’ve got 12 days of great mindfulness advice that can help you this Christmas.

Let our 12 days of mindfulness bring back the lost magic and excitement of the season

Follow our daily tips and you might start to see Christmas as one of the most relaxing times of the year. Sign up for our daily emails and take one mindful step each day towards seasonal magic and merriment.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is is a state of full, whole-hearted attention to the here and now. You can practice this, just as you would any other new skill and, over time, mindfulness will become an easy state to reach, whatever you are doing.

A typically mindful meditation involves paying full attention to your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Focusing on each breath in this way allows you to observe thoughts as they arise in your mind and, little by little, to let go and stop struggling with them. This simple act can bring you to the profound understanding that thoughts and feelings (including negative ones) are transient. They come and they go and you have a choice about whether to act on them or not.

When you are mindful, you observe without criticising – you are compassionate with yourself. Unhappiness or stress can be just black clouds in the sky, which you observe with friendly curiosity as they drift past. They’re not personal, or sent to persecute you – they just are, and you can let them pass.

Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness not only helps prevent depression, but also positively affects brain patterns. Day-to-day anxiety, stress, depression and irritability might arise, but they dissolve away more easily. Other studies have shown that regular meditators see their doctors less often and spend fewer days in hospital. Memory improves, reaction times are faster and even creativity increases.

With all of these benefits ready to unfold for you, our 12-days of mindfulness is a true Christmas gift – from us to you, and from you to yourself.

Day 1 – Take a three-minute breathing space

A three-minute breathing space could be what you need to deal with anxiety, exhaustion or anger. It’s an ‘emergency meditation’, which can help dissolve negative thoughts and calm an agitated and frantic mind.

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Day 2 – Set up a mindfulness bell

Daily actions can be mindfulness bells, reminders to stop and pay full attention. Choose actions you know you will be doing – in the kitchen, wrapping gifts – and let the moment make you fully aware.

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Day 3 – The ten-finger gratitude exercise

Granny used to say it, and sometimes traditions really help. Count ten things you really appreciate on your fingers – and don’t give up just because it gets hard after three or four!

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Day 4 – Take a relaxing bath

A bath meditation can be spiritually and physically uplifting, so take 15 minutes, lock the bathroom door and concentrate on nothing but soaking stress away.

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Day 5 - Get your life back

There was a time before this frenzy. Remember back to a time, recent or distant, when you did something which made you feel good. Make a date to recapture that experience today, or soon.

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Day 6 – Go for a short walk

Walking is exercise, stress relief and mood booster all in one, so get out for half an hour and put your mind to physical movement and a tonic for the senses. Move, breathe, enjoy!

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Day 7 – Do something pleasurable

If Christmas jollity feels forced and nothing brings you much enjoyment, turn back towards the things that you used to like – music, friends, quiet hobbies. It’s time to remember what brings you joy.

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Day 8 – Look after yourself

Christmas can be a lonely time, with painful memories, so take care of yourself today and make a gift of space and kindness. Go easy on self-judgement, and give yourself credit for getting through.

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Day 9 - Mindful queueing

Sooner or later you’ll find yourself in a queue, so why not make it a positive experience? Enjoy the view while you wait, and catch the chance for stillness amongst the bustle.

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Day 10 – Go to a film – any film

Choose a friend, a time and go to the cinema, but don’t pick the film until you get there. Unexpected events often make you happy, so make the space to immerse yourself in screen magic.

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Day 11 – Do what you can…

Never mind what everyone else has already done – appreciate yourself for what you have achieved. Feeling good and being in a positive mood starts from recognising what’s possible. Well done you!

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Day 12 - Wrapping presents: from mindless to mindful

If wrapping gifts is a drudge it will suck energy from you, so enjoy the process and put your whole mind to it Thoughtful wrapping lifts you, and can be a gift in itself.

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