Mindfulness and Grounding During the Holiday Season
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
The holiday season is upon us and with it comes many wonderful moments as well as busyness, high expectations we put on ourselves and gathering with family and friends. There are inevitably times where it is all just a little much. Our bodies tend to tell us when things are too much and this can come out in negative ways. There are ways in which we can deal with this in a positive way. One of these is through the practice of mindfulness.
Mindfulness, or grounding, as some call it, is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as:
Karen Skinner, one of National Farmer Mental Health’s Ag Informed Therapists shared some helpful tips on mindfulness on her social media earlier this year and we are thrilled that she is willing to share them with us here on the blog:
Mindfulness is something we can practice anytime and anywhere. It is all about being present in the moment, in the now. It can help create space for us to observe our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. All that is needed is an open mind where we create awareness and acceptance of the present moment. What can mindfulness look like?
Being mindful of our breathing helps us to be present. A few deep breathing tips:
- Make sure to use belly/diaphragmatic breathing instead of chest breathing as this helps get the optimal amount of air.
- Make sure to have a longer exhale than inhale. This helps send a message to the parasympathetic system to kick in.
- Try using some imagery/visualization. An example of this would be to breathe deeply through your nose as if you are smelling flowers and exhale as if you are blowing bubbles.
Activating our five senses
One example of this is using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. When our minds get busy, we are no longer present in the moment. Using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique can help ground us and bring us back to that present moment. You can easily incorporate this activity into anything you do throughout the day. It could be brushing your teeth, eating a meal, while driving, walking etc.
- What are 5 things you can see?
- What are 4 things you can feel/touch?
- What are 3 things you can hear?
- What are 2 things you can smell?
- What is 1 thing you can taste?
Mindful movement allows us to check in with our bodies and get moving in a way that can help us lower our stress levels, release inactive energy, and strengthen our mind-body connection. Examples of this are walking, running, riding bike, yoga, martial arts, horseback riding etc.
“Meditation is a mental exercise that trains attention and awareness. Its purpose is often to curb reactivity to one’s negative thoughts and feelings, which, though they may be disturbing and upsetting and hijack attention from moment to moment, are invariably fleeting.” 2
Guided meditation is a type of meditation led by a teacher, in person or through audio or video for the purpose of relaxation, which can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, promote calmness and help us recognize negative emotions. Some places where guided meditations can be found are: through an app, a YouTube channel, a podcast or website
As we navigate the holidays and the 2023 year comes to an end, it is good to have these mindfulness or grounding tools in our tool belt to help us be fully present and enjoy the moments that are before us.
Thank you so much @karen_skinner_rsw for sharing your wisdom and tips with us this month.
Karen Skinner, MSW, RSW is a Registered Social Worker and has a passion for working with individuals in rural communities to meet their specific needs. She offers virtual counselling to Ontario residents through her private practice and free short-term counselling at the Bluewater Area Family Health Team in Zurich, Ontario.