Monday, December 28, 2015

End of Year Stress Reduction

I once saw a video of a grizzly bear running into a river stream to catch salmon.  It was so excited about the abundance of fish that it would catch one and rush back to shore with it, get it half eaten, and then notice another fish in the water, at which point it would drop the one it had and rush back in the water to get the next one.  Then it would do the same with the next fish and before you knew it, the bear had two or three fish going at once and was actually missing out on the full experience of eating each one because it was so distracted by wanting them all.

Reaching the end of the year can be a bit like that as we may barely get our holiday gifts open and our year-end events complete, before we see more awaiting us when the calendar turns at midnight on December 31st.

The end of the year can be peaceful and rewarding, especially if you've had a good year and have many things to be thankful for.  But it can also be very stressful as well.

Some see December 31st, not as a time for celebration, but worry and panic about what has not been finished for the year and the looming tasks pressing for attention, such as setting new goals and the coming need to file taxes and start the new year on an uncluttered note.

First things first!  It's important to finish what you're doing first so as not to miss it completely.  In other words, you can't be mindful about finishing the year if your thoughts are already "not present", but ruminating about the future.

Staying on one task at a time is not only important, it's all you can do really.  Anyone who tells you it's possible to mindfully do more than one task at a time is eating one fish and eyeing another at the same time, and missing out on both. 

Think about this.  If you spend the moments between Christmas Day and New Years Day worrying about the new year, then you miss all the moments in between.  The end of December never happens because you aren't present to experience it.

Allow yourself to enjoy the end of the year and savor the fish you have.  When the new year arrives, you'll know it, and it's then that you can go after more fish.

Thanks to Harald Deischinger for the great photo