Calm for the Holidays
We can’t believe December is here, feels like it was just Halloween. With such a busy time ahead we wanted to take a breath (or three) and try and slow down and allow ourselves to really be present for ourselves and those we love. We asked two of our favorite experts to share with us some easy ways to infuse meditation into our daily lives and how to share these practices with our children. Here’s the insightful and very practical advice they offered. Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and mindful holiday season!
Ali & Natasha
‘’My favorite easy way to get more meditation into my day is to turn time that ordinarily feels wasted into a mindful minute. Think about taking a few deep belly breaths while sitting at a traffic light, in line at the grocery store, or while you are on hold on the phone. My newest book “One Minute to Zen” has thirty-five suggestions for easy one minute meditations.
Having a daily practice can feel a lot easier if you are consistent with the time and place that you meditate, especially as a new meditator. Find the time that works for you, and remember, you can date it before you marry it! If you try a time of day, and it ends up not feeling right, try another until you hit your sweet spot.
Always think about what you CAN do, never what you can’t do. If you are convinced that you don’t have time for meditation because twenty minutes just doesn’t feel doable in your day, then think about what you CAN do. Can you squeeze in five minutes? The benefits of meditation come with consistency, so it’s better to meditate for five or ten minutes every day, then twenty minutes twice a week. When people tell me that they don’t have time to meditate I always suggest taking an honest look at how much time they spend on social media. Can they shave five to ten minutes off a day and get their meditation in? Of course!’’
- Ali Katz, Author, Speaker, Meditation Teacher
Ali’s books are available on Amazon
‘’The holidays are a time filled with family and friends, joy, and good cheer, right?? Unfortunately, not everyone feels that way. They can also be a time of stress and worry for many of us – filled with compressed time lines, exorbitant expenses, and countless holiday obligations. So, how can we be filled with the “merriment” of the holidays when we are feeling overwhelmed…especially when we want to bring the joy of the holidays to our kids?
As a mindfulness-trained practitioner and a pediatric speech and language pathologist, I believe it is important to stay grounded and centered during this time. When we are overwhelmed with to-do lists, taking time for ourselves and remembering self-care is crucial. Whether that means carving out 20 minutes in the morning to sit in peaceful meditation, with our spines straight, eyes closed, and focused on our breath, or taking a warm bubble bath in the evening after the kids go to sleep, the goal is to bring us into the present moment.
I remind many of the families I work with that when we feel anxious, so do our children, even if we think we are “hiding” it from them. Kids can feel our energy. I frequently encourage parents to involve their kids in mindfulness activities. One such activity is sitting comfortably on the floor across from your child (you can do this for 1 minute or more depending on your child’s age and ability). Notice your breath as you inhale and exhale, and then try to match your breath to your child, and have your child match his or her breath to yours. This not only serves as a relaxation activity that introduces children to meditation, but it also connects you to your child. I often do this with my own 4 year old son, and he instantly becomes calm and focused, and we both feel more connected to each other in the moment.
Another good mindfulness activity to do with your child is to walk around your neighborhood and notice all new holiday decorations that neighbors or stores have put up. Don’t just glance; really take notice. Your child will see how present you are, and he or she will stay present with you. Ask your child which decoration is his or her favorite and why. Relay a funny story about your favorite decorations when you were a child. Engage her in a conversation about what the holidays mean to her. Walk into a store together and smell the way the cinnamon spice of the holidays fills up the space. Close your eyes and invite your child to do so, as well. All of these activities will help you and your child stay present in the moment and enjoy all the sweetness that the season has to offer. So this holiday season, help your child stay present and bring back the joy of the holidays for your child – allow him or her to experience the wonderment, the merriment and the love that we all want to experience during this special time. Your children (and you) deserve it!’’
- Fia Aliotta, M.S. CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist, Mindfulness Practitioner
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