Ahhh, the holidays. The season of extra errands and awkward family and social interactions. We try to be selfless and kind, but it can be hard when things around you can be so chaotic. This holiday season, I invite you to be just a little selfish in order to help the world be a better place.
You. You are so important. You are constantly working hard to make it through each harrowing day with a smile on your face so that at the end you can collapse and do it all again tomorrow. As the hero of this story, don’t you think you deserve a moment?
We are going to meditate, people. Oh yeah, it’s happening.
Do you need to carve out hours per week? No way. All you need is five minutes, if you use that five minutes wisely.
Before you get out of the car to walk in to work, or the mall, before you turn off the light to sleep at night, before you leave that bathroom stall, wherever you can find one, pick a moment. Turn off notification tones (you can set a timer if you need to) but you are going to do your best not look at your phone for five whole minutes.
Now, close your eyes. Take three long, slow, deep breaths. Try to bring the air all the way down to the bottom of your lungs and then slowly fill them all the way to the top. Then, exhale, gently pushing the air out from the bottom up.
Don’t think about what you have to get done; that’s not important right now. What is important is your well-being.
Imagine yourself in a nice place. Wherever that is, take a moment to appreciate its beauty. Maybe you’re in a hammock in the forest and the sun is shining through the leaves making patterns with the light. Maybe you’re at the beach, lying in the warm sand and listening to the waves rolling in, watching them turn the shells over in the foamy surf.
Focus on those images in your mind and enjoy being there for five relaxing minutes. Let your thoughts and worries float away like dandelion seeds on a gentle breeze. Let this imaginary sanctuary you’ve created warm your heart. Let it take up residence there.
When your time is up, softly open your eyes, take three more deep breaths and collect yourself. Feel how much more centered you are and try to carry that with you for a little while.
Know that the more you are able to take these tiny moments, the more balanced you will feel going forward. The more you practice, the easier it will become. You may even find yourself slipping away to your tiny sanctuary in moments of stress. Just take a deep breath to transport yourself there.
Now it’s time to get back to it. You are the hero after all, and the world needs saving. Remember that kindness is the currency of the heart. The more you give, the better you will feel. This includes being kind to and giving to yourself, because when you are kind to yourself only then can you truly be kind to others. Don’t worry, you got this.