• Mindful Mondays: How can Mindfulness Help Us Connect to What’s Important to Us This Holiday Season?

    The holidays are an extraordinary time of the year.

    They are often joyous and filled with tradition and ritual and good food. It is a time of celebration and excitement and lots of frenzy! It can be especially exciting for our kids, and their excitement is palpable as you walk through school hallways. 


    The excitement, changes in routines, and expectations probably have lots of children beside themselves. And if you’re one of their caregivers, it can be hard to balance the excitement with the day-to-day things that still need to happen. You might notice that your children are distracted and having a harder time focusing and completing tasks. It can be frustrating for all involved. 


    Consider inserting mindful breaks and bringing kind awareness to those instances. Bringing attention to their excitement can help our kids get to know what they’re feeling, which can support self-regulation or, at the very least, a needed pause. It will also help you pause and understand how you’re feeling in the moment, which is just as important. The mindful pause also helps us get clear about our kids’ needs in the moment, and that can inform what we do next. For more tips, read “Three Challenges Kids Face During the Holidays, and How You Can Help."


    For us adults, trying to balance our work and family demands—as well as prepare for festivities—brings additional challenges this time of year. The high expectations and the frenetic energy can be extremely hard for us and for our kids, who oftentimes are just following our lead. Taking time for mindful breaks throughout the day and making self-care a priority when we have time off should be part of our holiday rituals. For more ideas on how to find balance during the holiday season, read “Three Steps to a Low-Stress, High-Joy Holiday Season” from Greater Good Magazine and “Five Mindful Tips for Navigating Holiday Stress” from Mindful magazine.

    Using our mindfulness practice during the holidays can also help enrich our experience by connecting us to who or what is important.

    Taking time to pause and appreciate the distinct smells, sounds, and sights of the season can help us feel awe, an emotion that promotes feeling connected to our self, our community, and something greater than our self. The holidays offer us a great opportunity to bring kind awareness to each moment. This NPR article does a nice job of explaining why presence instead of presents is the most important aspect of the holidays. Also, for those of us who want to make mindfulness a greater part of our new year, check out these helpful tips from the New York Times and these audio practices from Mindful.


    Last, we want to end by saying we are grateful for your generous attention. We thank you for being part of the mindfulness in education community. We are continuously inspired by the myriad ways you support and show up for the children in your life. We hope that the New Year greets you with lots of love and prosperity.

    Our greatest wish is that you may all be happy, healthy, and filled with peace.

    This article is part of our Mindful Mondays initiative. Receive weekly emails with instructions for the practices of the week, links to guided practices, and suggestions for implementation by registering. The program is free for all. Sign up now to access this week's recorded practices for you and your students!


    Argos Gonzalez is a teacher, lecturer, and mindfulness and yoga instructor.  He has 13 years of experience teaching high school in the Bronx and teaches pre-service and in-service teachers at Hunter College School of Education in NY.  Argos is certified through both Mindful Schools and Little Flower Yoga (LFY), and currently serves as the director of professional development for The School Yoga Project, a program of LFY. 

    For more information about Little Flower Yoga and The School Yoga Project, visit www.littlefloweryoga.com. Contact Argos by email at argos@littlefloweryoga.com

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