OneThe dvent calendar is traditionally used to count down the days to Christmas. Sometimes you open the paper windows on the calendar to reveal painted scenes underneath, or even better, chocolates or other candies. Objectively, it’s a delightful holiday tradition.
Now, I love chocolate as much as the next person, but what if we changed it up with this year’s Advent calendar? As a meditation teacher, I suggest adding mindfulness to the mix to relieve seasonal stress and help you find moments of calm despite this being the busiest time of year. Meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety, regulate emotions, and even change the way we react to others. What better time to practice it during the holidays, when stress can run high?
To help, I’ve put together 25 simple meditations you can use to stay calm during the holiday season. All you need is yourself, a comfortable place to sit or lie down and five minutes. Yes, you heard that right: just five minutes a day!
In this self-guided calendar, you’ll find a variety of mindfulness techniques. When using them, keep in mind that it’s really normal to experience thoughts while meditating. That means your brain is working properly and that’s part of life. When you start to notice that your mind is getting noisy, simply bring yourself back to your point of focus (i.e. your breath or a mantra).
Got more time? Extend your meditation time to 10, 15, or even 20 minutes. Whatever suits you best.
Keep reading for 25 Days of Holiday Stress Meditation to help you balance this season:
Day 1: Focus on natural breathing
Natural breathing (or breath awareness) is used in traditional yoga and mindfulness practices, and it’s all about focusing on the normal rhythm of the breath without trying to change it in any way. any way. Just engage your awareness of inhaling and exhaling during your five-minute period. Do this over and over again whenever your mind starts to drift.
Day 2: Repeat a calming mantra
A mantra is the silent inner repetition of a word or phrase. It’s called the “mind vehicle,” because it helps bring your mind into a state of stillness. Repeat the “I am calm” mantra to yourself during the five-minute practice to bring yourself to a quieter place.
Day 3: Reflect on gratitude
Meditations related to gratitude are a great way to reflect on all the good things in your life. Start meditating by asking yourself the question “What am I grateful for?”, then reflect on what comes to mind. Breathe gently as you do this. Really feel gratitude moving towards your heart.
Day 4: Send health to friends
Loving-kindness, traditionally known as “metta,” is a meditation technique that involves sending energetic love to oneself and others. We do this by repeating a phrase the same way we repeat a mantra. Difference: imagine someone in your mind and send surname that love. For today’s exercise, picture a friend in your mind and wish them well by saying “Wish you well”.
Day 5: Visualize the most patient version of yourself
Visualization is a great tool to connect with the feeling you most want to feel. Especially during the holiday season, it’s important to make the best of the situation and try to present it as best you can. Start visualizing the most patient version of yourself today. Picture them moving in their day. When the five minutes are up, keep that vision with you for the rest of the day to show patience.
Day 6: Extend the exhalation time
For today’s breathing meditation, focus on making the out-breath longer than the in-breath. This helps to signal to our body and brain that it is safe to relax. It works wonders for your nervous system! Inhale for four counts, exhale for five counts, or just rely on feeling. As best you can, try making your exhalation one or two times longer than your inhalation.
Day 7: Express your own peace
Bring peace to your mind today, cursed holiday chaos, by repeating the mantra “I am at peace” during meditation. Even if you don’t feel it right away, stay with the mantra for a full five minutes and open your heart to the possibility of peace in your life. It will come eventually, if you allow it to flow.
Day 8: Take time to appreciate your body
Today, let’s start with a reminder I am grateful to my body for… Sit in quiet contemplation. Maybe you’re grateful to your feet for getting you where you want to be. Maybe it’s your heart to protect you, or your nervous system to help you sleep. As you meditate on this, you may even begin to feel a smile on your face.
Day 9: Send happiness to your loved ones
For today’s exercise, think of a family member in your life who could give more love or care—maybe someone you won’t see this holiday season or someone is going through a tough time. Once you’ve thought of someone, picture them and start repeating the phrase “wish you happy” over and over in your mind.
Day 10: Visualize your dream life
Imagine you are moving through a day in your dream life. Start meditating by declaring to yourself, “My dream life looks like…” and let your mind wander, almost as if you were watching a movie. Where are you? What are you doing? Who stayed with you?
Day 11: Count your breaths
Breath counting is great for getting back to the present moment, especially during times of high stress (hem, holidays). As you inhale, count to four. As you exhale, count to 4. Repeat this for the duration of your practice. If possible, inhale and exhale through your nose. This activates something called the vagus nerve and helps us relax more deeply.
Day 12: Remind yourself of your support
Winter break can be a time of isolation especially for those who have a difficult relationship with their family. Fight that loneliness or stress today by repeating the “I am supported” mantra throughout your practice. Let’s keep it simple, let the spell do the job.
Day 13: Reflect on meaningful relationships
For today’s meditation, reflect on all the people you love in your life. Think about what their presence means to you and how they enhance your quality of life. Once you’re done meditating, carry that feeling of gratitude with you for the rest of your day. Maybe even call your best friend to let them know how much they mean to you.
Day 14: Sending comfort to a stranger
Kindness: the alien version. Maybe it’s the face of someone you see on the street or the barista who made you midday coffee. Don’t think too much about this, let it be the first one that comes to mind. Visualize them and start repeating “May you live comfortably.”
Day 15: Visualize a peaceful day
Cultivate calm with a brief visualization. When you start meditating, set the stage by saying to yourself, “The calmest version of my day looks like…” Fill in the blanks by thinking through your head and wallowing in serenity.
Day 16: Refocus on your breath
For the 16th, we’ll be using a specific breathing technique that helps with focus—great for getting you through your year-end to-do list. Breathe deeply through the nose. Once you have reached the peak of your breath, hold it for one to two seconds (or for as long as you feel comfortable). Then exhale completely. When you’re out of breath, hold your breath for a few seconds again. Repeat this pattern for five minutes.
Day 17: Believe in your mantra
Today we will use the mantra “I trust” for your meditation. Let this mantra ease any uncertainty you may be experiencing in your life right now, ease your mind, and bring calm to the situation. Repeat for the duration of your meditation.
Day 18: Realize the abundance in your life
It can be easy to see that the glass is half empty, especially when compared to family members or high school friends you only meet at this time of year. To combat this, reflect on the pre-existing abundance in your life during meditation today. This could be the food in your fridge. The trees on your street. Abundance doesn’t just mean money, it permeates all other areas of your life. Open your mind to look at all the things you do yes, the opposite of what you are missing.
Day 19: Sending love in one place
This may sound weird or even uncomfortable at first, but for many of us, places make sense—even more so during the holiday season. If you have a strong impression of a place, picture it in your mind and repeat the phrase “Good luck to you”. It could be your childhood home, which now has a new tenant. It could be your favorite beach, or even your favorite country.
Day 20: Walking in nature
Nature has a healing effect and this can be easily seen when we spend enough time with it. For today’s meditation, imagine yourself somewhere in nature. You can imagine yourself walking in the woods, swimming in a lake or lying on the beach. If you can reach it easily and safely, do this meditation outside in the real world for a breath of fresh air.
Day 21: Link inhalation and exhalation
On the 16th, we held our breath. This practice will be the opposite of that. When you sit or lie down to meditate, link your inhales and exhales so that they blend easily. Eliminate pauses between breaths and let your breath move through a loop. Repeat for five-minute sessions.
Day 22: Feel the love
You are so lovely. Today’s mantra is a reminder of that. Repeat to yourself “I am loved” over and over again. When you meditate, really let that knowledge seep in.
Day 23: Thank your home
Reflect today on what you are grateful for in your home. Maybe it’s the fluffy blankets, the way you can totally be yourself or the people (and fur babies) sharing the space.
Day 24: Sending freedom to all beings
Today, we’ll be using our meditation to embody the true holiday spirit and create a sense of community. To all sentient beings everywhere, send a loving word that says “May your stress melt away. Hope you feel free.
Day 25: Imagine a peaceful rest
Congratulations! This practice marks the end of your self-guided meditative adventure calendar. To end it all, picture a peaceful day. A place full of smooth sailing, love and joy. Let your mind think of the best-case scenario, knowing that whatever happens to you today, you’ve got this.