As the festive season of Hari Raya approaches, many people eagerly anticipate the annual celebration with family and friends. However, for some, the preparations and social interactions during this time can also bring about stress and anxiety. The pressure of hosting or attending gatherings, managing expectations, and dealing with various responsibilities can take a toll on one’s wellbeing.
What is Hari Raya?
The joyous occasion of Hari Raya, also known as Eid al-Fitr, is a time of celebration and festivities for Muslims worldwide. It marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, and is a time for Muslims to come together with family and friends to celebrate the end of a period of self-reflection and restraint.
However, like any major holiday, Hari Raya can also come with its fair share of stress. But fret not; you can handle Hari Raya stress during this special occasion by practising mindfulness. It may sound simple, but for many, a simple shift in mindset can make a significant difference in managing stress during Hari Raya.
The surprising mindfulness alternative for Hari Raya
Mindfulness, the practice of being fully present in the moment without judgement, has gained recognition as an effective tool for managing stress and promoting wellbeing. Two distinct types of mindfulness techniques, interoceptive and exteroceptive, offer different ways to cultivate mindfulness and can be particularly beneficial during this time of the year.
Interoceptive mindfulness involves directing our attention inward towards the sensations and experiences within our body. What is surprising is that while most people know about mindfulness as the traditional ‘interoceptive’ bit to close your eyes, and focus on your breathing - it actually works when you’re dealing with external stress triggers.
However, the surprising approach to handling Hari Raya stress is through exteroceptive mindfulness. This involves directing our attention outward towards the external environment and our sensory experiences (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell) without judgment or attachment and with an attitude of curiosity and openness. When we get stressed, it’s normal for us to look inward and focus on our interoceptive techniques.
How can I practice exteroceptive mindfulness?
By practising exteroceptive mindfulness, these techniques can help us fully engage in the present moment without getting lost in worries that are in our minds. This will also enhance our social interactions, allowing us to be fully present with our loved ones and enjoy the festivities together.
Here are some exteroceptive mindfulness techniques that you can use to help deal with the Hari Raya stress:
- Mindful eating: During this time of the year, there are often abundant and delicious food offerings. Practise mindful eating by savouring each bite, noticing the flavours, textures, and smells, and chewing slowly and mindfully. Pay attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues, and eat with gratitude and appreciation for the nourishment. For more tips on mindful eating, listen to the Naluri Mindful Eating audio guide or read our beginner’s guide to Mindful Eating.
- Sensory awareness: Engage your senses fully in the festive experience. Notice the colourful decorations, the aroma of traditional dishes, the sound of laughter and music, and the warmth of hugs and handshakes. Allow yourself to be fully present in these sensory experiences without judgement or distraction.
These mindfulness techniques in your Hari Raya routine allow you to cultivate a deeper sense of presence, self-awareness, and well-being during the festivities. These mindfulness practices can help you manage stress, reduce anxiety, and enhance your well-being during the holidays. For further reading, find out how you can transform your productivity with mindfulness.
If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed during the holidays and needs to talk to a professional, Naluri’s health coaches are available 24/7 via call or textline.