As the year is winding down, the holiday season is just getting started.
How do you feel about this time of the year?
Maybe you love it, because it means you get time with loved ones or because you love warm and cozy evenings. Maybe you don’t like the holiday season because you miss loved ones who have passed or because of the financial burden it can create.
There is no doubt that the holiday season starts earlier and moves faster than ever. With some Christmas decorations coming out before November 1st, the holiday season can feel more like the “hurried season.” It is so easy to fall into the “rush” of it all.
Unfortunately, we cannot stop time, but we can incorporate some daily practices that help us stay present. Grounding techniques can help pull both your mind and body back into the present moment and away from racing thoughts or distressing feelings.
Physical grounding techniques:
Take 6 deep breaths. Imagine that you just pulled a hot tray of cookies out of the oven (picture your favorite cookie). You want them to cool off as quickly as possible, so you take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale through your mouth like you’re cooling down the cookies. Take another deep breath in through your nose and another long exhale through your mouth to cool them off. Continue this for 6 breaths. Deep breathing can have wonderful results like slowing your heart rate and allowing relaxation. Thinking about your favorite cookie might also put a smile on your face!
Put your hands in water. Head to the sink and turn the water on cold. Place your hands under the water and notice how it feels. Does it feel good? Refreshing? Uncomfortable? Now switch the water to hot. How does the hot water feel? Switch back and forth from hot to cold a few times, focusing on how the changing water temperature feels on your hands. This allows your mind to refocus on your present, physical sensations.
Mental grounding techniques:
Counting. Pick a number and count backwards. If counting backwards by 1 is too easy, then count backwards by 3 or 7. You want this to be a decently challenging exercise. This can help you recenter your thoughts and mind.
Naming your surroundings. Pick a color, and name everything in that color in your surroundings. Then, pick another color and do the same thing. Continue this as many times as needed. This practice takes some focus and brings your awareness back to your current environment.
These grounding techniques can be powerful tools to help you manage the hectic holiday season as well as daily stress or anxiety.
Staying present takes practice and will not happen perfectly the first time you try a grounding technique. But stick with it, because the more you practice, the easier it will be.