Guided Meditation: Managing Your Mindset Over the Holidays

Guided Meditation: Managing Your Mindset Over the Holidays
What comes to mind when you think of the holidays, especially this year? For many, it’s a time of reflection and cheer—an opportunity to spend quality (virtual) time with loved ones and celebrate the season. Yet for others, it may bring about a sense of anxiety, overwhelm, and obligation that is, or at least seems, unavoidable. So, how can you shift your mindset to find harmony in how, and with whom, you spend your time?

Tune Into Tradition

This is a good time to remember the lessons of your elders, tradition, culture, or religion—the holidays are a time for feasting and celebrating. It is important to learn to be more present, to express gratitude, and to surround yourself with those you love most. Perhaps there was a point in history where your ancestors gathered in such a simplistic way that there truly was a sense of peace, joy, love, and connectedness—even if just for a day. Today, however, you’re often driven to buy into pop culture’s expectations that you overspend, overindulge, and, ultimately, do things that you don’t want to do. This can create an inordinate amount of stress.

The holidays are not just about spending money, though. They are also about how you’re spending your time and energy. There’s usually at least one point during the holidays when you feel obligated to spend more money than you have or spend your time doing something that isn’t in alignment with who you are—often times, it’s both and it happens more than you probably care to admit.

Understand Your Persona

The issue you’re faced with is one of setting boundaries, and it’s also one of taking a look at how the expectations of society lead you to create personas that are out of alignment with who you are. A persona is a mask or an act that you put on as a way of expressing yourself to others. Think of the various roles an actor plays throughout his or her career. Each role is a different persona. You have several personas, which are aspects of your character that others use as a way to perceive you. You have a persona as a mother or father, as an educator, or a business person. You have personas that you present to your friends and others that you express around family.

When your personas are in conflict with who you are, it creates problems—big problems that can leave you feeling like you are spiraling out of control. Personas in and of themselves are not necessarily the issue. You only run into problems when the persona you’re putting out isn’t representative of who you are on the inside.

Put On Your Happy Face

You see this a lot during the holidays when you have to put on your happy face. Sometimes, it’s an overwhelming feeling of obligation—to buy gifts for everyone at the office, to decorate your home, or to virtually attend a Zoom gathering from everyone who sends out an invite—that perpetuates your sense of overwhelm, anxiety, and stress. Gone unchecked, resentment builds and you find yourself loathing the holidays and wishing you could bury your head in the snow until the new year arrives.

To be fair, there’s a solid percentage of the population who thrive on the business and the busy-ness of the holiday season. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, if you’re able to manage your mindset during this crazy time of year, it’s possible to shift your experiences to being more exciting, heartwarming, and joy-filled.

Guided Meditation for Aligning Your Personas

Let’s explore how to check out your personas for alignment and make a favorable choice. For the process below, you may choose to open your eyes for a few brief moments during each step and jot down some notes in a journal for later reflection.

  1. Find a quiet, comfortable space where you can be alone. Turn off your cell phone and minimize other distractions.
  2. Put on some light, comforting music if that feels appropriate to you.
  3. Close your eyes and begin to take some slow, deep breaths in and out of your nose. This will help you to settle into feeling calm, centered, and at peace.
  4. Bring into your awareness something you are feeling obligated to do during the holidays—something you don’t want to do or don’t feel is “you.”
  5. Begin by identifying the persona—the act or the role—you need to play in order to fulfill this obligation. Who or what do you need to become or pretend to be?
  6. Next, ask yourself, “What am I giving away, or giving up, if I choose to become this persona and do the thing I’m not feeling aligned with doing?”
  7. Take the time to visualize playing this role and notice how it makes you feel. Become aware of how your energy shifts, what thoughts you’re having, what emotions you are feeling, and how your physical body is reacting.
  8. Next, ask yourself, “What will I gain, or how will I benefit, if I choose to honor my needs and make choices based on what is realistic and true to who I am?”
  9. Take the time to visualize playing this role and notice how it makes you feel. Become aware of how your energy shifts, what thoughts you’re having, what emotions you are feeling, and how your physical body is reacting.
  10. Take a few more slow, deep breaths and, when you feel ready, open your eyes and come back into the room.
If you found that this meditation stirred up substantial emotion and you’re still experiencing somewhat of a negative state, you can practice a technique known by the Hawaiians as Hakalau to help you dissolve the intensity of the emotion you’re feeling in the moment.

If this guided visualization brought you to a place of seeing how you can benefit from choosing to do what is right for you and what is in alignment with who you are, then you have likely already decided the best course of action. Keep in mind that sometimes, in order for you to nurture yourself and not get caught up in the seasonal frenzy, you need to set and enforce healthy boundaries with family, friends, loved ones, and colleagues.

At the end of the day, you need to make compromises. Life is about co-creation, collaboration, and an exchanging of energy. It’s up to you as an individual, to discern where the line is and how to show up as authentically as possible. One thing you know for sure is the holiday season is here to stay so why not find a way to make it more enjoyable, especially this year.

Join Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra for our 21-Day Meditation Experience: Creating Peace from the Inside Out, to learn how to resolve conflict in challenging relationships and connect with yourself.