Top Tips for a Mindful and Sustainable Christmas

Now more than ever, our lifestyles are centred around sustainability and giving back to the planet and our connectedness to not only ourselves but others. Here are our top tips for not only surviving but thriving during the craziness that can be the festive season.

1. Ditch the Digital – with most of us working from home for most of the year in Melbourne and our lives becoming filled with zoom meetings and an even greater reliance on technology than ever, its time to redress the balance. As the world wound down, online engagement increased and replaced our tactile connections. Our physical presence became digital. Begin a digital detox this Christmas and decrease screen time by replacing phone time with real time. Make the time to pop in on friends and family and enjoy long and uninterrupted conversations with loved ones. Give the gift of your time.

2. Eat Mindfully – Christmas is usually a time for indulgence, so remember to reign it in and check in with your body. Are you snacking mindlessly? Make the most of your time with family and friends by cooking together with fresh and wholesome organic ingredients – this is such a fun experience – preparing, cooking and sharing a meal together creates great memories. Why not even get creative and turn much loved family recipes into a treasured cookbook? Bayleaf Community Contributor, Natalie Daniel has a wonderful saying in her family that is worth remembering – Food is Love!

3. Calm the Calamity – Family Christmas can be hectic and noisy. If you are feeling overwhelmed and energy depleted, give yourself permission to withdraw and practice entasy (Greek: standing into or within) – the method of withdrawing from the world for short periods of time. This includes techniques like yoga, meditation, or qigong. A few short minutes to focus on your breathing will make the world of difference.

4. Become a Biophile – seek connectedness to the natural world by walking in nature, taking off your shoes on the grass, walking barefoot on the sand at the beach, stopping to smell the roses. With therapies such as shinrin-yoku – the Japanese art of forest bathing now becoming popular, research is now supporting the incredible health benefits of being connected to nature. Grab a friend and explore your natural surroundings. Stop to admire the leaves and the way the wind plays in the trees, you will return rejuvenated.

5. Minimise Materialism – whilst Christmas is known as the season for giving, this does not have to mean material things. The best gifts are those that cannot be bought. Your time with loved ones being the most precious gift you can give. As the Dalai Lama says, ‘If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important to happiness. Having very few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital..’ If you do want to give gifts, make them local, sustainable, and meaningful. You will feel good about supporting a local business and the environment.

6. Plant a Tree – contribute to mother nature and biodiversity by planting a local native tree in your own community or backyard. By planting native trees together, you can generate 100 times more biodiversity and store 40 times more carbon. This concept is known as Miyawaki forests – small urban forests created by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki. Known a ‘pocket forests’ they take up minimal space and are taking off around the world to combat climate change.

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