Mindfulness is a state of living present in the moment, but what if that moment is comprised of stressful holiday travel? There are several calming mindfulness techniques that can help you cope with the added anxiety of your voyage as well as ensure that you get the most out of your time with family and friends.
Just as you plan for your trip by booking hotel reservations, plotting out directions, and scheduling time with family and friends once you reach your destination, you can also plan ahead for the stress of travel with a few easy mindfulness methods. I find that meditation helps me quiet my anxious thoughts when taking a trip and I am able to remind myself that much of this stress is only in my head. If you are new to adding stillness into your routine, check out these helpful tips on meditation for beginners.
Another good technique is to use the holidays as an opportunity to connect with the people and the world around you. When navigating through airports or stopping at a busy rest stop, say “hello” to your fellow travelers or simply acknowledge someone with a friendly smile. You will find that for that moment, you are present and engaged rather than stressing about the next leg of your trip or worrying about what you may have forgotten at home. This will also warm you up so that you can be truly present when you reach your final destination.
Here are a few additional mindfulness techniques to incorporate into your travel itinerary.
Enjoy the Journey
For me, traveling by plane is absolutely the most stressful way to get from point A to point B. In order to cope with a long flight, I like to have activities that I enjoy at the ready. Journaling is a great hobby to help you stay present while flying as it gives you a quiet way to express what is on your mind, calming your nerves in the process. Knitting a scarf is another one of my favorite activities for flying, especially during the holidays. Besides involving a meditative, repetitive process, knitting also gives me a chance to allow my mind to appreciate whomever I am planning on giving the scarf to once it is finished. A simple scarf can easily be finished during a flight, so you can greet your cross-country loved one with a handmade gift rather than gripes about a tough trip.
Connect by Disconnecting
Screens are constant distractions to living life in the moment, regularly interrupting conversations to draw us back into work emails, funny tweets, or amusing video games. In order to really connect with loved ones this holiday – disconnect from technology and be present in the moment.
Now I know this is easier said than done, so I find that it is best to have a game plan. It is unrealistic to think that we can make it through an entire weekend with our cellphones turned off, so instead of setting yourself up for failure, schedule time that you can check your messages without taking away precious moments from your holiday hosts. First thing in the morning and near the end of the night work best for me as it leaves the bulk of the day open to live in the moment of the holidays which will be gone before we know it.
Create New Memories
Eating good food, watching football, and opening gifts are definitely holiday staples, but a great way to get everyone engaged in the moment is to create a new memory. Build a snowman as a family, go ice skating at the local rink, bake cookies and give them to neighbors – these are all great ways to organically add smiles to the faces of your loved ones as everyone enjoys the event at hand.
If you are having an especially difficult time experiencing mindfulness during a holiday trip, try doing something brand new with your family. The possibilities are endless and can include everything from indoor skydiving to organizing a scavenger hunt to taking a group line dancing lesson. A new activity is the perfect way to get everyone to focus in the moment and truly appreciate the opportunity to spend time together with the ones you love.
What are some of your tips and techniques for keeping a peaceful mind during holiday visits? Leave us a comment below or share your ideas with a #GoodMatters tweet. Here’s to a happy, stress-free holiday season!
Image Sources: Laurie Fanelli, Wikimedia Commons