The holidays are a special time known for love, fun, frenzy, stress and busyness. This year take a mindful approach to the holidays, honoring your spirit, self, and sanity!

Mindful eating: Beware of stress or recreational eating. The key is to savor food and pace yourself. The holiday presents an opportunity for gluttony, but we can focus on the specialties of the season. Recognize the sights, sounds, flavors, aromas while you are eating those special treats. Note the difference between eating for hunger, eating to self soothe, eating on autopilot, and eating for enjoyment.

Mindful preparations: Don’t compare and don’t overdo for you.  An extreme amount of work goes into creating the holiday. Decorations, gift giving, cooking and baking create the perfect conditions for self judgment and unfavorable comparisons. Practice self compassion, recognize any perfectionism, and appreciate your personal talents.  Don’t overdue for you means finding the right amount of all of the above to enjoy the holiday. Some people go all out on decorations and others are more minimalist. When we find our own comfort level, drop comparison and self judgment,  and drop pressure to overdo, we can truly enjoy the holiday.

Mindful event hosting:  Remember your presence is a present.  It is easy to get caught up in creating the perfect holiday, however the point is a gathering of loved ones. Balancing the responsibility of hosting and visiting with guests can be a challenge. If  we overwork it, we become resentful.  Avoid feeling overwhelmed by remembering your presence is the present your loved ones desire most.

Mindful gift giving:  Give gifts with a purpose. For many of us, more gifts equal more clutter, but we appreciate a tradition of giving.  If there aren’t clear requests, try giving a gift that demonstrates your love. A gift to a charity in someone’s name, a gift with special meaning such as one that provides employment to someone in a third world country, a gift from a small business, or a gift of your own creation all have special meaning to the receiver.  We should also be aware of our budgets and avoid overspending to impress. When money is tight and our lives are plentiful, we can make an agreement among friends and families to spend time and not share gifts at all.

Mindful relationships: Resist judging and focus on flexibility. When it comes to togetherness, tension may run high. Over-stimulated children, cranky elders, family disagreements can erupt at any time.  Focus on being in the moment and perceiving interactions as non-judgmentally as possible. Maintain flexibility as schedules may falter and picture perfect moments can become perfectly imperfect. We may want perfect and sometimes what we get is real, honest life.

Mindful spirituality: Connect to the spirit of the holiday. Maintain the meaning of the holiday, honoring tradition but also your spirituality. The holidays are special, not only because of presents, decorations, cookies and lights, but because we take time to reflect on our source, our oneness, and our humanity. Perhaps there is someone you know (or may not know) who is struggling this holiday season. Make time to connect with them in some way. Stay connected  throughout the holiday to self, spirit, those struggling, and special people in our life.


1) Make a list of what you feel most stressed about during the holidays.

2) Make a list of what you love most about the holiday.

3) Adjust your activities to reduce your stress and increase your joy.

4) Determine a few ways you will support a mindful holiday this year.

5) Create an affirmation to stay present, such as “I am surrounded by blessings” or “Our presence is our present”.

Wishing all of you the most joyous holiday season!


Helene Verdile & Kim Perone are Certified Life Coaches at The Center for Clarity, Compassion & Contentment ~ A Wellness Center. One-on-one coaching,  group coaching, and workplace wellness training. Visit for Programs and Calendars. Kim Perone, [email protected], (518) 301-3593, [email protected], (518) 470-0048. Contact us today!