Travelling during the holidays might not always easily lend itself to sacred moments – airport line-ups, tired children, stressful connections, bad weather… it can sometimes all seem like too much. If you are travelling this winter – or just staying cozy at home – read on for our top tips for carving out some sacred time over the holidays no matter how challenging your journey may be!
Note down what the holidays mean to you
Before you set out or if you’re snowed in at home, take a few moments to brainstorm what the holidays really mean for you. What’s most important for you at this time of year? If you’re travelling with family members you can get everyone involved – at home, create a big green paper Christmas tree (or other image that has meaning for you) and stick on words and phrases that sum up what’s important for you. On the move you can draw a mini version in your journal. Focusing on the things that matter to you will ease any frustrations that may arise, and help you make decisions that are in line with your values.
Use your journal
Even if you don’t usually journal, taking a small notebook with you on your travels is always a good idea. It can help you organize your thoughts when you need to figure out a route or a travel plan and, more importantly, it can allow you to pause for a creative “time out”. Write or sketch things that you notice around you, things that inspire you or you’re curious about; let your pen or pencil lead you and see what flows. Connecting with your creative side on a regular basis will both relieve stress and help you expand your thinking and way of looking at the world around you. Our blog post “5 Journaling Tips for the Sacred Traveller” offers ideas for journaling whether you’re just starting out or have been journaling all your life!
Focus on your breath
In those moments of high stress, or better yet, at regular intervals throughout a day or a journey take 2 minutes to focus on your breathing. With eyes open or closed, breathe in deeply through your nose, noticing how the calming air is filling your lungs and moving into your stomach. Pause, and then slowly release the air as you breathe out through your nose. If you feel yourself holding on to a lot of tension you can try breathing out through your mouth instead of your nose to really exhale the stress. Repeat the process 3 times to restore a quality of calm alertness and fully enjoy your journey.
Enjoy the journey
It can be tempting to focus only on the end destination when travelling over the holidays but, like any form of travel, the journey to get you where you want to be can be meaningful and rich in sacred experiences. Notice the details in your environment – from the perfect snow-topped trees to the familiar look of excitement on fellow passengers faces. Really looking at all these small details on your journey can help your mind relax and stay focused on the wonders around you. If your journey is more local, take a walk to a friend’s house instead of driving and focus on the sound of your feet on the snowy path or the birds singing overhead. Unless you’re in the southern hemisphere you’re not likely to be able to stop to smell the roses, but there are sure to be enough other natural wonders around to make the journey captivating!
Create space for sadness
The holidays can be a wondrous, happy time of year and they can also provoke feelings of sadness and grief. Whether you’re missing a loved one or wishing you were elsewhere, take time to honour all your feelings including sadness. It’s ok to feel sad and need some time alone to cry at this time of year. Trust yourself and listen to what you need – the holidays don’t need to look like a department store commercial. Your heart-felt interpretation of the season is perfect for you.
Travel … in your mind
While the above tips can help you to stay in the moment, sometimes transporting yourself elsewhere is exactly the gift you need to give yourself. Whether travelling or at home, be sure to have a good book with you so you can explore your next sacred travel adventure or learn more about some of your favourite sacred sites. For some good reading suggestions check out our blog post on “5 Sacred Travel Books to Warm up Your Winter Reading”. Sacred travel websites such as Sacred Earth Journeys are also a great place to start your research into sacred sites and power places you’d like to visit or re-visit one day. The itineraries offer detailed information so you can virtually explore the different sites and understand what to expect from the journey.
And finally… remember what you can control
There are a lot of unknowns when you travel over the holidays. You can’t control if your flight will be delayed or if snow will jeopardize your shopping plans, and you certainly can’t control other people’s reactions to events, but you can control your own. Recognize those things you do have control over – such as getting to the airport on time, choosing to say no to something that feels too stressful, or putting the above tips into action on your journey. Knowing the difference between what you can control and what you can’t will empower you to let go of those reactions or behaviours that are not helpful and connect you to what’s really important for you over the holidays.
Whether you are travelling near or far this Holiday Season, we wish you a heart-centered, beautiful journey.
~ Sacred Earth Journeys