Are you missing quality time with loved ones by not being present this holiday season?
The holidays are a time of love, community building, and making memories that will last a lifetime.
However, it is easy for them to also become a time of stress, business, guilt, and exhaustion if we aren't making an effort to be intentionally present & kind.
Here are my tips to be the most present, kindest version of ourselves this holiday season.
Go with the flow- of your breath
I know, easier said than done for some of us. But, the holidays have one thing in common: people. And guess what, where people are involved, things are never going to go exactly according to plan. So, what can you do when one of your kids is running two hours late for Thanksgiving dinner or Mom decided to change the location of Christmas morning festivities last minute? I have decided this year to go with the flow. And no, of course I don't think that I'll be able to change who I am and completely have zero anxiety when things don't go as planned. Let's be real. But, I can choose some things. When plans change this year I have committed to stop what I'm doing. Take a couple minutes alone, whether taking a walk away from everyone or closing the door to the bathroom for a moment, and do one minute of deep breathing. I know, sounds simple, but it is effective. Deep breathing helps us clear our minds of clutter and avoid going into our usual tailspin of anger or anxiety. Go with the flow of my breath, steady, mindful and aware. My hope is to come back to a peaceful state of mind to be able to enjoy the quality time I have been given with family.
Put my phone down- pick up my camera
I am so guilty of missing out on special moments because of being distracted by my phone. I justify it by telling myself that Instagram is a huge part of my business (which it is), but an even bigger part of my business is true, genuine connections with people. Instead of missing out on fun photo opportunities because of not having my phone in hand, I am opting to bring my camera to holiday functions this year. Don't have a camera? Borrow one from a family member, or buy a cheap disposable one. By using my phone less this year I am making an effort to be present with those I love. And it's so worth it.
Kicking guilt to the curb- invite kindness in
Guilt has ruined more holidays than I care to even mention. Either feeling guilty or unintentionally making others feel guilty. Both can be avoided by being intentional. Only have one day to stay with your family this year, but Grandpa keeps saying how much he wished you'd stay longer, and how much he misses you? Don't embrace the guilt. Accept the fact that you have just the one day and make it count. Direct the converstaion away from the limited amount of time you have and ask Grandpa questions about his life. Ask him to tell you some old stories from your childhood. Ask him what his favorite childhood memory is. Tell him all about your plans for the future. Now, on to unintentionally guilting others. We can excuse our behavior by saying we didn't mean to make them feel that way, it wasn't our intention. BUT, as a human, we have responsibilities to other humans. Those responsibilities include kindness. You can choose to be kind. Choose to put others' needs above our own. Be mindful of what others are going through. Your sister can't come to your Christmas party this year? You're hurt, angry, confused. But, instead of embracing those feelings, how about coming from a place of kindness and thinking of her reasons. Is she already committed to a family event with her husband's parents? Does she want to have a quiet, peaceful holiday with just herself, her spouse and her children? No matter the reason, you will never regret choosing kindness. Never.
I hope my personal tips for the holidays might encourage you to set up some guidelines for yourself this year. May your holiday be filled to the brim with love, kindness, and peace!