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MoreMind: How to stay Mindful amid Christmas Madness – 5 minute read

December can be a pretty crazy month with the never-ending social gatherings, non-stop Christmas marketing (which feels like it’s on steroids this year) and preparing for the big day – it’s no wonder there is very little time left for your own wellbeing! 

So how can we stay mindful amid this madness? Now don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and it’s the perfect opportunity at the end of the year to spend time with friends, family and  loved ones. It’s also the perfect time to brush up on your mindfulness skills so you can keep a cool head in the Christmas chaos. 

Step 1: BREATHE 

If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed; maybe your Dad just brought up a family feud from 2009 or your Aunt has asked you why you’re not yet married and you’ve not stepped foot on a yoga mat in days then remember to stop and take a few Deep Breaths. You can try the S.T.O.P method: 

Stop – wherever you are, stop whatever you’re doing. 
Take 3 deep breaths, feeling your lungs expand. 
Observe your breathing and find a comfortable pace with your breath. 
Proceed with a positive intention. 

Breathing deeply and consciously can help to take us from our sympathetic nervous system, our fight or flight, into our parasympathetic, our rest and digest mode.

You can also try gently extending your exhale, counting the inhale for 5 and exhaling for the count of 7…. notice the difference after giving yourself a moment to breathe. 

Step 2: PRACTICE MINDFULNESS 

According to the NHS, Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that mindfulness is all about focusing our attention on the present moment without judgement and by doing so we are able to enjoy the moment we’re in.

“It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour,” he says.

“An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs. Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment. It’s about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives.”

Mindfulness can be as simple as pausing, putting your phone down and connecting to the present moment by noticing what’s around you, what you can feel, what you can see, what you can smell and what you can hear. Try listening, really listening when someone is engaging in conversation. We live in a time of distraction and over stimulation so give it a try and this Christmas instead of constantly checking instagram, try practicing some mindfulness, try being present and see what magic unfolds. 

Step 3: BE GRATEFUL 

Gratitude is another powerful Mindfulness Practice that can bring us into the present and help us to remember all we have, rather than wanting more or comparing our lives to those of others. Being grateful can be transformative, it can turn a negative into a positive, a lesson into a blessing and a meal into a feast. 

This time of year can be a great opportunity to be thankful for all you have and to give back to those who are in need. What do you get the person who has everything? Why not buy something for someone who has nothing. 

Check out our charity of the year, Choose Love’s, pop up shop on Neal Street or their website where you can buy crucial supplies and gifts for people who desperately need help. https://choose.love/ – the world’s first store that sells real products for refugees. We’ve also installed donation points in our studios! 

Choose Love London
47-49 Neal St, Seven Dials, 
London, WC2H 9PJ
29/11/2019 – 24/12/2019
Mon-Sun: 10:00 – 19:00

About Liz Joy Oakley

Liz Joy Oakley is Head of Vibes at MoreYoga, co-running our MoreMind Project & coordinating events and workshops around Holistic Wellbeing. After starting her career in the fast-paced world of luxury fashion Liz came to Yoga after being diagnosed with Malignant Hypertension and Generalized Anxiety and began teaching with the goal of helping others to lead healthier lives holistically.

Liz spent a year volunteering at the Safe Childhoods Foundation in Bali, an NGO committed to combatting crimes against children which she describes as a time of total transformation. Here she began to understand the true benefits of Yoga as a therapeutic tool and returned to complete her YTT (200 hours) in 2014. Liz is passionate about helping people achieve a happier lifestyle through Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation. She loves bringing people together, encouraging authentic connection and is happiest when facilitating retreats, workshops and events based around Yoga, Positive Psychology and Wellbeing.

Liz teaches Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin & Restorative Yoga, specialising in teaching Yoga, Mindfulness & Meditation to improve stress & anxiety. She recently completed her training as a Wellbeing Coach & is dedicated to spreading Joy through her work.

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