For the past 2 weeks, my days have been tireless and longer than usual. And it won’t get any easier as Christmas and New Year approaches. I’ve found myself just running from dawn to dusk tackling my day and running off adrenaline. The moment I get home, I feel drained, depleted and realize my entire day was one big fat blur.
This is the time of year when we are all tapped out. Schedules are maxed, time is limited, and lists are extra long. Squeezing in another commitment is nearly impossible. As we run-run-run and tick off the Wunderlist (I’m obsessed with this app), we are also losing touch with being present as the days pass. So the one thing that has helped me stay sane this holiday season is scheduling time (yes I actually put this on my calendar) to sit still and breathe.
Meditation helps to slow down a racing mind….calm the nerves…be more productive…live longer and fuller lives. The list goes on. But this artful technique to induce consciousness and train our minds is not an easy feat. Our so called “monkey minds” are hard to tame. It has taken me over 5 years to attain a calm and peaceful state in my meditation seat. I have tried them all but found these 4 techniques the most effective (and enjoyable) to help me get out of my own head and slow down.
– A DANCING FLAME –
I learned this technique during my yoga teacher training. Burn a candle and watch the flame flicker. Not only is it beautiful to watch but also very calming and instantly relaxes you.
– FOCUS ON SOUND –
Sound association transports us to a fond memory. My favorites are sounds of the ocean and rainfall. These sounds take me to a serene space that relaxes my mind and removes all worrisome thoughts. There are several great apps with a wide selection of calming sounds like waterfall, rain drops, and crashing ocean waves. My favorite is Calm (even their website relaxes me).
Music and melody is also a great way to tune you out. Relax Melodies App not only has a variety of soothing sounds but guided meditations that are customizable too.
– COUNT YOUR BREATHS –
Close your eyes – inhale deeply through the nose for 4 counts – exhale slow and full for 6-8 counts. Repeat. A very common and simple technique but it does take more focus as your mind can easily steer away. If it does, no worries, just stop and start again.
– MALA BEADS AND GRATITUDE –
Sit comfortably with your mala beads and think of one thing you are grateful for. Focus on that gratitude as you slowly push one bead at a time with your thumb and middle finger. Retrace the beads when you complete the string as many times as you’d like.
I know it sounds counterproductive to schedule yet another commitment in your day but remember that meditation is essentially resting the mind. So even if for just 2 minutes you capture the moment of being still and centered, you have achieved a different state of consciousness that is outside of your normal waking state or in this case, a frantic holiday state. This rest will help you find clarity and be more present as you chug away into your day. If it helps us to enjoy the holiday season just a tad bit more, I’m game. Have a Wonderful Holiday!! xo