Practicing mindfulness with your resources:
The holidays are a complicated time of year. While the holiday season can certainly be joyous, the said and unsaid pressures to take part in all the various holiday activities can be draining. Whether it’s welcomed or not, this is a time of year when we’re collectively encouraged to spend our resources and give of ourselves without considering the intention behind it.
I’m sure you’ve been there: you’ve spent more money than you planned and you feel completely depleted; you’re knee-deep in baking cookies for your family and you feel exhausted; you have a stomach ache after eating four slices of holiday pie. That feeling of being drained or, on the flip side, overfull, is what results when we don’t pay attention to the ways we spend and consume.
Just because it fills someone else’s cup doesn’t mean it has to fill yours.
Maybe you used to love baking for everyone or hand making gifts for your family, but now it feels overwhelming. Just because you used to love it doesn’t mean you have to continue to love it forever. Just because you used to do something out of obligation doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it that way, either. And just because your sister or your best friend does something one way doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Honoring yourself and your resources opens you up to deeper fulfillment. When we act with intention, we honor our truth.
How do you want to use your resources?
Your resources come in many forms. Consider them.
Your resource of time
Who do you spend your time with?
The people we spend our time with have a significant impact on our mood, energy levels, and fulfillment. The more we spend time with people who share our values, reciprocate kindness, and lift us up, the more we can be that person for others, too. The people you spend time with affects the person you are around everyone. Nurturing relationships that fill you up helps you be the best version of yourself.
What do you spend your time doing?
Think about something you spend time doing that feels meaningful to you. Perhaps it’s walking around your neighborhood, meditating, sharing a meal with a close friend every week, volunteering for a cause you care about, or making something beautiful. While these activities might not be the same things you do to relax, they’re just as important to cultivate.
What do you spend time consuming?
I recently stopped listening to several podcasts because I noticed they were negatively affecting my mood. It didn’t take long before I realized how much better I felt for it.
The information we take in online, by watching television, and by consuming media in general, impacts our thoughts, feelings, and actions. There is so much available to take in these days that we can avoid ever truly having quiet time. The less quiet time we have, the less space we have in our minds; that makes it harder for us to listen to our bodies, intuition, and make balanced decisions. That’s why it’s vital for us to pay attention to the type of media we’re consuming, how much time we spend consuming it, and taking regular breaks.
Screens and media captivate our attention. It can be addictive! It’s okay to keep listening to your favorite podcast or watching your favorite show, but we also suggest scheduling daily downtime to rest, meditate, and give your mind a break.
Try this: For every hour you spend consuming media, be it a podcast, television, or social media, meditate for ten minutes.
Meditate with us:
- Free guided meditations: Follow along with our guided meditations and breathing exercises.
Your resource of energy
Are you getting enough sleep?
Are you moving your body?
What kind of foods are you eating and how do they make you feel?
Are you working to the point of exhaustion? How might you be able to give back to yourself if you have a demanding schedule or you have others you’re responsible for?
Do you have sustainable work? Even if you’re not working much or at all right now, not having work can be extremely stressful and depleting. What might be an activity you can do right now that would feel energizing? What are some ways you might be able to call on your community to feel supported?
If you’re struggling with feeling a lack of purpose, how might you create more meaning in your daily life?
These questions are meant for reflection only. Rather than focusing on what everyone else is doing or what you think you should be doing based on something you’ve heard, seen, or read in the past, we want you to think about how you feel. How much sleep do you know that you need in order to feel energized? What kind of movement makes your body feel good (not strained or overworked)? What makes you feel your best and most energized isn’t going to be the same for everyone. Pay attention to what you need and be curious about the answer.
Your resource of money
What are you spending your money on? Whose hands made it?
Do you consider purchases before making them?
The holidays are a time that come with a lot of pressure to buy. There are sales, holiday parties, and gift giving traditions. It’s easy to buy things we don’t need or want at this time of year. While gift giving or taking advantage of sales can be great, consider what you’re buying. Is this gift coming from the heart or am I just buying something because I feel obligated to? Do I really need a new pair of boots or am I buying them just because they’re on sale?
With breath comes balance.
When we feel off center, we spend more resources trying to find our center. Intentional breathing brings your focus inside, which gives you a sense of power.
In reality, we as individuals have control over very little. We can’t control the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others. However, we can shift our thoughts, feelings, and actions. We start with our breath.
Try this: Take five minutes right now to close your eyes or soften your gaze and breathe. If you’re reading this, we’re guessing you have five minutes.
There’s no better time than right now. Allow your breath to slow. Take a moment to relax your muscles and let any worries fall away.
When we slow the breath down, we slow the mind down. Your emotional state follows the mind. Your actions follow your emotional impulses. Your actions are different when you’re feeling calm than when you’re feeling anxious, for example.
The breath is extremely powerful! Don’t underestimate its value. Be willing to spend some of your resources of time to cultivate a mindfulness practice. With practice, you will reap benefits that you can’t buy, such as deeper sleep, decreased anxiety and tension, increased clarity, and greater fulfillment.
The holidays are a time of increased consumption, especially here in the United States. Consumption isn’t bad, but just like anything, it can be overdone. And though consuming things like television, sweets, or new products can bring us some joy, a deep sense of fulfillment can’t be consumed or purchased. It has to be cultivated inside of yourself. We build our inner worth, peace, and fulfillment through practice, just like any other skill.
Pay attention to this moment. Ground into the present. The more we pay attention, the more we recognize our truth; and the more we can make intentional shifts.
Questions to consider in your mindfulness practice:
- Where do you want to put your resources of time, energy, and money?
- Does this merit your resources of time, energy, and money?
- Notice the sensation of consuming. Are you chasing a feeling? Is having this going to have the desired effect?
- Are you spending resources to grow areas of your life that really matter to you?
- What are some things you want to leave behind in 2021? What no longer serves you?
- How are your actions affecting yourself and others?
- What do you want to cultivate in your life?
- Practice focusing your attention on the things that matter most to you. Remember, just because it’s a societal, familial, or other type of expectation doesn’t mean it’s bringing you true joy or fulfillment. We all have to do things sometimes that we don’t want to do. We’re not suggesting you quit your job if it’s not bringing you deep fulfillment. However, we do suggest that you consider how you can make shifts that would bring you more fulfillment. Beginning a meditation and mindfulness practice is a great place to start. The power of your breath can’t be overstated.
- Share your resources to grow them. As Lynne Twist says, “What you appreciate appreciates.” What you give expands in your life. The more you share, the more your resources grow. What do you have to give and what do you want to share with people right now? A strong community always shares their resources. When we all share with each other, we help each other thrive.
- Increase your physical balance. A study from Brigham Young University found that people who have good balance are more likely to weigh their options carefully when making purchases. This also suggests that when we improve our physical balance, we improve our balance everywhere in life.
- Pay attention to the here and now. Notice when your attention wanders and where it goes. Can you bring it back to the present? Ask yourself throughout the day: What is happening right now?
The power of a mindfulness practice:
Mindfulness helps us recognize our subconscious actions and make shifts. Focused breath is at the center of all mindfulness practices. It’s incredible how many things we can miss when we aren’t taking time to be present.
Schedule time when you don’t take in anything, you just breathe. There is so much shame around being still in our culture that it can be uncomfortable to sit quietly without doing something. But it’s in that quiet that we have the space to recognize ourselves. The present moment connects us with our higher self.
Use the resource of your breath to heal areas of your body that hold stress, tension, and tightness. To cultivate calm and release stress and anxiety, focus on the length of your inhale and the length of your exhale. Practice long and deep breathing.
Gifts you can give yourself this holiday:
- Time with your breath
- Time in nature
- Time with those you love
- Taking part in activities that feel meaningful to you
Why guided meditation?
While breathing on your own is quite powerful, guided meditation gives your mind a place to land.
From all of us at SDG Meditation: we wish you a holiday season full of new experiences and deeper connection with yourself.
Brigham Young University. (2013, August 26). Shopping in high heels could curb overspending. ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130826100052.htm