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Mindfulness Tools for the Holiday Season

It’s December and yes, as we all know it’s the most wonderful holiday cram-packed month of the year! Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, or Omisoka, all the festivities can fill us with completely unrealistic expectations and a high amount of stress. This is a great time to dig deeper in our mindfulness practice in order to thrive instead of just surviving this holiday season. We wish you many opportunities to sing and celebrate and we hope the following tips will be very useful.


Experiencing a beautiful holiday season begins by taking the time to be aware of what will be most meaningful to YOU this holiday season! Asking yourself what you need to cut out of your traditions and what you need to add in will be the best recipe for success. We hope you will “strap on your oxygen mask first” and take care of yourself, so you can better serve others.

 

One way to deepen the connection with others is to consider hosting a Jeffersonian Dinner. This summer I had the opportunity to participate in numerous Jeffersonian Dinner’s and I found them to be extremely enriching.

 

New to the idea – click on the link below to find out how it works:

Thank you to Jamie Wheal (Flow Genome Project) for this beautiful Thomas Jefferson Thanksgiving Dinner Game – It can be modified to celebrate your holiday table.

Thomas Jefferson Thanksgiving Dinner Game PDF


Thomas-Jeffersons-Thanksgiving-Dinner-Game
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Download PDF • 1.37MB


One of the most frequently discussed issues around the holiday season is food. There are endless articles on how to tame the eat and drink spiral that occurs and causes so much guilt. We both love food and believe in the philosophy of “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be the food.“ Instead of sharing one more article on what to eat, let’s talk about the mindset of getting ready to eat. Processing food all begins in your brain before you even take the first bite.


Eating mindfully is one of the most overlooked aspects to eating as digestion begins in your brain when you think about food, before you start eating. The cephalic phase, or first phase of digestion only works properly when you are relaxed and stress can actually shut down the digestive process. Therefore, relaxing and being mindful while eating is a really effective (and free) way to boost your digestion.


This phenomenon is why one individual can relax and enjoy grandma’s rich and decadent pie knowing it’s an occasional treat, while another individual is so filled with guilt about eating all that sugar that their digestive process will not be functioning properly., The secret to riding the holiday roller coaster ride of food is once again mindfulness and awareness.


On Dec. 6th, Denise and I will be participating in another five day fasting mimicking diet. I enjoy exploring different types of fasts quarterly as the seasons change. I am a bit late for fall, so it will be interesting to explore this ritual of health and healing during the month of December. A fasting mimicking diet allows one to eat certain foods that will allow the body to stay in ketosis. This process of eating slowly, mindfully and very healthy for a few days allows the body to enter autophagy. Practicing gratitude during the fast allows the mind to reset for healthy digestion. We aren’t advocating dieting in December or encouraging what you “should” eat. However we are encouraging you to ask yourself some of these mindful questions around food, so that you can enjoy holiday seasonal food in a rich and balanced way.


Susan Albers, PsyD, asks 10 Mindful Eating questions (www.EatingMindfully.com):

  1. Do I tend to stop eating when I am full?

  2. Eat when I am hungry, rather than emotional?

  3. Not “pick” at my food?

  4. Taste each bite before reaching for the next?

  5. Think about how nourishing food is for my body?

  6. Be non-judgmental of myself when I accidentally overeat?

  7. Not multi-task when I eat: when I eat, just eat?

  8. Be able to leave some food on my plate if I don’t want it?

  9. Eat slowly, chewing each bite?

  10. Recognize when I slip into mindless eating (zoned out, popping food into my mouth?


Giving – Give the Gift of Music!

“Research supports giving experiences rather than objects. This is especially true for those people in your life who are minimalists or have been Marie-Kondo-ing their home and getting rid of everything that doesn’t “spark joy!” Research shows that people who receive experiential gifts feel more connected to the gift giver than people who received material items. It’s very interesting that the giver and the recipient don’t have to share the experiential gifts in order to get this connectivity effect.” – Mindy Peterson


In an excellent post by pianist Mindy Peterson she explores “research-backed factors that contribute to meaningful gifts, and specific ways to gift music to others, because music is the gift that keeps on giving.”


Over the past several years I have been embracing the philosophy of experiential gifts and I have found it to be very meaningful. Take your loved one’s out to a holiday concert and you will “win” in many ways including an enriching soulful experience, quality time with your friends and the opportunity to financially bless fellow musicians.


Click on the link below for more ideas on giving the gift of music!


Happy Anniversary to Us! – We launched our podcast with a virtual champagne party on Dec. 20, 2020. Thank you for joining us on the journey of exploring the mindfulness of singing!

We wish you a wonderful holiday season and we hope 2022 brings you many moments to enjoy mindful singing.

Cheers to better living through singing!

Toni and Denise

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