Practicing Mindfulness Over The Holiday Season

Over the holiday season it can be difficult to stay present and in the moment. At Trails Carolina, we encourage both families and students to engage in mindfulness practices during this time of year to help focus on the “here and now”.

How is practicing mindfulness during the holiday season helpful for Trails students?

During the holiday season, spending time away from home can stir up feelings of homesickness. For students at Trails, staying present throughout the fun activities that we orchestrate during the holidays can alleviate homesickness and can be an important growth experience for students.
As part of the mindfulness practices during the holidays, students practice expressing gratitude towards their support system back home and all of the positive aspects of their lives thus far. Students are encouraged to take stock of the natural beauty that surrounds them and not take for granted the nature and people around them in the present moment. As a way to express gratitude, some students make gifts for each other out of the natural materials they find such as leaves and sticks. They also write letters of gratitude to their parents and friends back home.

What can parent back home do to stay mindful?

Back home during the holidays, parents can engage in a parallel process of practicing mindfulness and emphasizing gratitude. Some ways parents can implement this into their holiday celebrations include:

  • Writing their own gratitude letters and sharing this with their child during family sessions.
  • Taking time to go around the table before the holiday meal to talk about what everyone is grateful for.
  • Staying present with family and friends who come over during the holidays. Don’t let your mind wander elsewhere.
  • Using breathing exercises to help relax and maintain focus

This time of year can pull us in a ton of different directions and it can be very stressful for families. If we allow ourselves to be present and focused on what’s going on around us, it can help quell some of the anxiety felt during the holiday season.
For more information about holiday celebrations at Trails Carolina, check out the following resources:


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Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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