Tips for Staying Grounded in December

December can be really intense. As the year winds down, everything else seems to ramp up!

From a spectrum of events—social gatherings, work commitments, and school activities—to managing Christmas gifts, shopping, budgeting, holiday planning, and sorting out kids' arrangements during the holidays, the list goes on.

It’s a lot.

Much of it feels beyond our control. However, where we do have control is in finding ways to infuse mindfulness into December.

It might seem like an extra task in an already busy time, but the essence lies in spending a little time on mindfulness and connection, both within yourself and with your family.

This can change how we feel internally while dealing with everything, making the ride smoother.

The good news is, you don’t need to do much to start feeling the impact.

Here are some ideas to try...

Gratitude Rituals: Establish a daily or weekly ritual where family members share something they're grateful for. This can be during meals, bedtime, in the morning, or with a gratitude journal. It helps shift focus to the positives.

Mindful Mealtimes: Share meals together during the week, adding a special touch—lighting a candle, playing music—to make it feel special. Take your time with the meal, deliberately setting aside the to-do list and focusing on the joy of being with the people you love the most.

Nature Walks or Christmas Light Walks: Even short walks around a few blocks can create mental space, and offer a lovely opportunity for connection either with yourself or the kids if they join.

Family Journaling: Incorporate journaling into your routine. It’s a quick but wonderful mindful activity with numerous benefits.

Tech-Free Time: Designate tech-free hours, possibly during the walks or while journaling, playing board games, or having distraction-free conversations.

Bedtime Reflections: Encourage each family member to reflect on one positive thing from the day before bedtime. It’s a simple practice that ends the day on a positive note.

Mindful Breathing Before Sleep: Practice a short breathing or relaxation exercise before bedtime to unwind. For instance, try box breathing—visualizing the sides of a box while breathing in, holding, breathing out, and holding again for a count of four each.

Choose Your Calm: Discover what brings you peace. Whether it's waking up early for a silent cup of coffee or having a weekly bath, choose what works for you.

I recently heard a beautiful example of this from Shannon Wong-Nizic, Teacher and Author at ‘Oh Creative Day’, who streams the audio version of Trent Dalton’s Love Stories during her daily routines in December.

It’s become her cup-filling December tradition as she navigates school runs, work commutes, and festive events. She highly recommends it for weary souls, describing it as “the perfect balm to end the year.” 

Just remember, the key is to consciously immerse yourself in the moment and relish whatever activity you choose. Grant yourself grace if it feels challenging at first.

And know that introducing these practices to your kids is a gift in itself—showing them ways to support themselves regardless of circumstances.

Wishing us all some calm in these final weeks of 2023 🫶.