It is the end of the year – a time for gatherings and celebrations.

While we may be looking forward to celebrating, it is easy to feel lost in the busyness of holiday activities-planning, shopping, cooking, MBSRsocializing, running around town– that we forget to be present. If we act mindlessly, holidays can create more stress than relaxation.

Here are three tips to guide you through a calm and energizing holiday:
1. Pause, and take a breath.
Bring more moments of stillness into your life. This can mean pausing and taking a deep breath when you are most exhausted or stressed out. Recommit to sustaining your daily mindfulness practice during these hectic weeks.
2. Be gentle with yourself.
Remember, “Under stress we regress.” So if you see yourself acting like a teenager when spending time with family, take a breath, relax, and know whatever is happening now will likely change. Forgive yourself to the best of your ability.
3. Give the gift of presence.
Sometimes the greatest gift you can give another person is your undivided presence. Practice listening wholeheartedly – without interrupting – to a loved one.
And instead of buying a present that he/she may not need, give the gift of an experience that you can enjoy together.

Starting in January, King County Healthy Incentives is hosting Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Classes as individual action plans. Schedules and the outline of the course are posted here.

May we consciously bring presence and kindness to family, friends, and those who we care deeply about.

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