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Too Tangled Up in Preparations to Enjoy the Season?

Article / Review by on December 13, 2011 – 10:39 pmNo Comments

Too Tangled Up in Preparations to Enjoy the Season?

Too Tangled Up in Preparations to Enjoy the Season?

As a child, a blanket of fresh-fallen snow or the buttery scent of warm sugar cookies was all it took to arouse that delicious sense of wonder.

Somehow, as an adult, that thrill is harder to come by. Maybe it’s because, rather than snuggling up and watching the Charlie Brown special, you’re pulling late-nighters to dutifully manufacture cookie trays, shovel driveways, unravel knotted lights, and battle paper-cuts (and sore backs) during gift-wrapping marathons.

But does it have to be that way? Do hectic preparations have to dominate the weeks leading up to the celebration? What if, rather than focusing on the “big finish” or making a future moment perfect, we slowed down and made a point to intentionally enjoy the season, stress and shopping and all?

Practicing mindfulness – a fancy way of saying “being in the moment” or “tuning in” – can be a solution, says URMC internist Dr. Michael Krasner. An expert on the art (and science!) of intentionally “appreciating the journey,” Krasner travels worldwide training physicians as to how they can bring “intention, attention and reflection” to their clinical practice (thereby reducing stress, heading off burnout, and improving patient care).

But can his insights apply to your holiday hubbub?

Definitely. Granted, you can’t buck those time-intensive traditions altogether (bah, humbug!), but Dr. Krasner says we can find ways to enjoy the planning, and the season, itself. In this week’s clip he offers some practical tips for unwinding, including:

(1)    Setting the tone. Lighting a spicy fragranced candle or whipping up a special hot drink before setting to work on a wrapping or baking bonanza makes a big difference.  This cheerful tone helps to make those must-do chores part of the fun – rather than something to rush through.

(2)   Making it social. Not only do you split the work when you invite pals to tag along – but you transform a task you’ve been avoiding into a special gathering.

(3)    Slowing down. To avoid the post-holiday let-down, let up on the gas. Pause to enjoy aromatic sensation of baking, the textures and colors of fancy wrapping supplies, the glitter of the lights in your neighborhood. If you want to treasure vivid memories of the season, you have to slow down, like a child, and take time to wonder afresh at its beauty.

To learn more about Dr. Krasner’s work training physicians to be mindful, click here.

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*  The above story is adapted from materials provided by University of Rochester Medical Center

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University of Rochester Medical Center

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