Do you ever find that the anticipation of a thing is more satisfying than the actual experience? I’ve felt this way about the holidays before. I look forward to the ample time with family, away from work, eating and drinking, giving and receiving. But sometimes when I’m in the thick of it I notice myself anticipating the next thing.
This year, I’m setting the intention to experience the holiday season with more presence, joy and acceptance. (This is actually my heart’s calling most days, but if I’m not intentional my head gets in the way.)
Here are my top 3 go-to tools and practices for making the holidays extra special and nourishing this year:
1. Practice embodied presence
Where mindfulness is nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, embodiment is a felt sense of being in your body, also without judgment, in the present moment — including awareness of sensations, breath, sound and emotions.
Breath awareness is one of the very best ways I’ve found to make embodied presence the primary way that I move through the world. With practice anyone can do this.
The next step beyond breath awareness is to get into your sensuality. Sensuality is all about feeling what’s there. Feeling the breeze or soft fabric of your clothes agains your skin, feeling sensations in your body, feeling your breath, and yes feeling your emotions.
For an embodied breathing and touch practice, guided by me, go to the EmBody Self-Care Challenge (Day 3) >>
2. Practice radical self-restoration
Give yourself the deep restoration your body, mind and spirit need. No, this is not a reward for hard work, this is just you loving yourself. You being kind to yourself.
Deep restoration might look like: taking space from technology, email or social media, sleeping in, taking naps, spending time in woods, taking a walk on the beach, taking a break from caffeine, snuggling on the couch, watching a movie, saying something you need to say, journaling, painting, dancing, creating, setting boundaries…
Take a few minutes to get quiet with yourself and ask your intuition, what would feel restorative for me? What do I need? Take some space to go do it.
3. Practice emotional (self) attunement
Emotional attunement is simply the practice of being aware of and in harmony with your emotional experience, whatever it may be.
Sometimes the hardest and happiest feelings come up around those we love. For example, we may feel: frustrated, anxious, angry, insecure, provoked, unseen, resentful, irritable, bored, overwhelmed, loving, connected, joyful, grateful, excited, happy, nostalgic, playful, silly, proud, accepted…
Now, fill in yours: What range of emotions do you tend to experience around your family?
Often the impulse when hard or uncomfortable feelings arise to to fix them, make them go away. And sometimes we’re so busy or in our head thinking about the next thing that we’re not even present for the good feelings either!
I know you and I know you don’t want to stuff your feelings (stuff the turkey instead — wow that was really bad but hopefully it made you smile). Which is where emotional attunement comes in…
Ways to practice emotional attunement include: placing your hand on the part of your body where you feel the emotion (often at the solar plexus just above the navel, or over the heart), journaling about how you’re feeling, offloading to a trusted confidant about how you’re feeling, telling someone how grateful you are for them or why you appreciate them, crying, screaming, letting yourself have a tantrum (so long as you’re not causing yourself or anyone else harm) if you need to for release…
Bonus Tip (to fuel connection): Practice speaking empathy
Just like I am encouraging you to attune to your feelings, see if you can attune to the feelings of those around you. If you’re a fixer, or grew up around fixers, this may not feel natural. If a loved one vulnerably shares something hard that they are going through with you, your impulse might be to spout off ways that they could fix it. But instead I encourage you to feel with them while expressing your support (if they ask for your advice, you are free to give it of course.)
Here is some language you can use to speak empathy:
- Wow, that’s so hard, I’m here for you.
- I feel with you.
- I don’t know what to say, but I’m so glad you told me.
- Is there anything I can do to support you?
I hope you find these tools and practices helpful. I wish you a deeply nourishing and connected holiday season.
About the Author: Allie Andrews
With a decade of experience in the wellness and coaching industry, Allie has partnered with 65 companies and helped hundreds of achievers and workaholics find a pace and rhythm to living that feels sustainable and nourishing.
As a coach, Allie helps her clients grow their impact while prioritizing their health, deepening their relationships, and following their joy.
Allie is a lifelong student of personal growth, certified health coach, yoga teacher, and intimacy and relationship coach.