The holiday season is here! It’s time to celebrate with friends and family, and usually those celebrations feature lots of food, drink and even gifts to enjoy. As much fun as it is, it can also be pretty overwhelming. Just about everyone feels some holiday stress about finding the right gift, making the right treats, even wearing the right outfit.

Our yoga practice of mindfulness can be a powerful tool to help us enjoy the holidays more and stress less. When you feel overwhelmed by your to-do list, or wary of being overstuffed at a holiday table yet again, take a moment to just step back and observe. Take a few deep calming breaths, and then look at what is going on. Is there some way you could shift how you’re handling the situation? What do you really want to achieve with what you’re doing at that moment? Asking ourselves more mindful questions can help us step back from stress to focus more on what we really want.

Food and drinks are a big part of the holidays for many people. We enjoy dishes that we might just have this one time a year, and that excitement is all part of the fun. With mindfulness, we can have all the delicious things the holidays bring, and actually enjoy them more. When you’re snacking on amazing home-baked cookies, really pay attention to how good they taste, and why you love them so much. Using mindfulness to appreciate things more can help us be more satisfied without needing to eat a whole pan of brownies with peppermint icing – unless we mindfully choose to do so, of course.

Stores are enticing us to spend like crazy with sales all season long. We all need things in our life, but we don’t need to be made to feel bad about not finding a perfect gift. In this busy world, the most precious gift of all might just be your time. If you’re stressing about a gift for someone, think instead about the impact they make on your life. You could choose to do something together instead of buying them something they might not need – maybe you even tell them what they really mean to you. It will make a much bigger impact than another box of chocolate.

The holiday season gets busy fast, but try to keep up your yoga practice as much as you can. It will help you connect with what’s really important to you, and what you really want to experience every day of the year – not just between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Maybe even bring a new friend to practice to see if you can help them find some more ground as well.

To me, this season is really about love. Even when there seems to be ten times more to do than can be done by December 25, try to come back to the true spirit of the season, whatever that might be for you. Notice when you could help lighten someone else’s load, even if it’s just sharing a smile with someone who needs to feel a little more connection. Enjoy all the eggnog you like – and notice how happy it makes you to enjoy all those magic little holiday moments with a little more mindfulness.