It is easy to get distracted during the holiday season. Nostalgia kicks in and the mind drifts to memories of the past. In the next moment it moves to the future as it wonders how this year will unfold. It compares your seasonal festivities to others on social media. It can get carried away with gift ideas, food ideas, and challenging family dynamics. Pressure to spend money, time and energy on the things that society seems to value can leave you feeling exhausted. Before you know it, the season is behind you and you are not sure quite where it went.
Rather than letting your mind focus on holiday expectations, give your family and friends, and most of all yourself, the best gift of all; your presence.
Here are some ways to bring yourself back to the now:
1. Simply Observe
Disconnect from technology and make time to simply observe what is going on around you. People watch, or go outside and watch what is happening in nature. Doing this with a loving, inquisitive heart can teach you about culture, mannerisms, customs and the natural world. Allow yourself the time to feel grateful for the environment that surrounds you.
2. Listen Attentively
When someone is talking to you, pay close attention to their tone of voice, inflection, and body language. Be mindful and inquisitive of your own reactions and body language as they are speaking to you. If you find your mind wandering as it begins to formulate a response, bring it back to the present moment and pay attention. Focus on listening rather than speaking.
3. Delight in Magic Moments
We often delight in major moments, like weddings, baby showers, and birthday parties. However, most of life’s most magical moments are little and happen every day. Staying present will help you notice these moments when they arise. It’s when your child looks you in the eye and says, “I love you.” It’s when your spouse or partner cooks dinner for you. It’s when you get a holiday card from someone you have not seen in a while. It’s catching a beautiful sunset or seeing twinkling festive lights as you drive down the road.
Staying present allows us to notice the wonder that surrounds us; the suprise, the mystery, the love, the joy. This is really what the holiday season is about.
None of this costs money, none of it causes stress. All you have to do is be mindful of staying present. It is likely you will find that when you do, others will too. There is no better gift to give and receive this holiday season than attention, gratitude, and love; the gift of presence.