The holiday season is LOUD. The kids are out of school, so your house is loud; the hustle and bustle of looking for the perfect last-minute gift is loud; and, you know what else is loud? Your mind and all the thoughts running around in it. Let’s talk about how meditation can help you keep your cool this holiday season. DeeDee Jones, a Spiritual Guide and Meditation Facilitator with Soul Technologies, offered some helpful advice on how to get started (and how to get the kids involved, too).
Jones got her start with meditation and yoga at a desperate time in her life. She found her mental and physical health declining, with the gentle routine of yoga and meditation being her salvation, and quickly fell in love with both practices.
“Over the years I have found myself less prone to anxiety, illness, and self-judgment. I used to move so quickly that I would leave things everywhere and trip all over the place! I am a much more mindful person so that isn’t happening. The most beautiful part is that I am an even more mindful daughter, wife, and friend…so I have been told by my mom,” shares Jones.
As for the holidays, Jones believes that they can make a person feel ungrounded. To remedy this feeling, she recommends meditation since it is the process of becoming a non-judgmental watcher of your thoughts and emotions, enabling them to process and be released.
To get started at home, Jones recommends talking to your children to set up healthy boundaries and openness with them. Let them know you are practicing and help them understand why so that they will feel as if they are contributing to your happiness by giving you space to meditate.
When it comes down to actually practicing meditation, you need to find a space in your home where you are most comfortable. Once you’re comfy in a chair, guided meditation videos or apps on your phone can help you get started.
“I do not recommend sitting on the floor unless you stretch or do yoga beforehand. Ancient Yogis used the practice of Yogic stretching to prepare the body to sit for long periods of time. When your body is ready, get a meditation cushion,” advises Jones. “You can also try Yoga Nidra, which is a reclined meditation. This is great for beginners and by far my clients’ favorites.”
In a time crunch or in the car, YouTube will be your best friend. There are hundreds of channels with meditation music and guided meditations. Jones recommended starting out with a 10 or 15-minute breathing meditation or the help of apps like Insight Timer or Calm. Jones’ own YouTube channel, Soul Technologies, has helpful beginner videos for belly breathing, Sheetali breathing, and body scan meditations.
To get the kids involved, you’ll have to let them get their energy out first since they’ll definitely be very excited to join.
“A family practice could go something like this: light stretching first to help them let go of their day. Let them play with the poses, and make it light. Once you feel they are winding down, have them get into a meditation pose and breathe to give their minds space to rest. This would be so much fun outside,” says Jones. “If this feels intimidating, try Cosmic Yoga on YouTube. There are lots of fun yoga journeys.”
If you’re feeling skeptical about the whole thing, you’re not alone. The idea of meditation is met with many misconceptions, the most common being that you must stop your thoughts or have a completely silent mind. However, this is simply not what meditation is about. Jones notes that if you focus on this idea, you’ll continue to struggle with your thoughts, and then they’ll get louder.
To her, the key is to become a present witness, allowing your thoughts to move through your awareness. By anchoring your focus to your breath or affirmations, you’ll watch your thoughts go as you become a “spacious companion to your thoughts, just as you would for a friend.”. Meditation is about developing self-compassion, learning about yourself, and lessening the chaos and anxiety of the mind by simple self-assessment.
“The beauty of meditation is the journey you take understanding that when you sit down and feel as if you are doing nothing, you are actually doing a great deal for your mind and body,” shares Jones.