Healthy Habits

Presence Over Presents

Family crafting Christmas cards

Content provided by the GBS Health & Wellness Team

The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most stressful time of year. Create a holiday season that doesn’t feel like a whirlwind by focusing on connection and relationships. Take time at the beginning of this month to envision the holidays and identify what really matters. Plan, preserve, and prioritize schedules to make time for the things that matter most.

Make time for personal hobbies and self-care. It’s difficult to be there for others when self-care is on the back burner. Consider developing better work-life balance by eating lunch away from the workstation or logging off once the workday is over. In addition, find fun, festive ways to incorporate self-care such as making holiday decorations or volunteering.

Cut back on social media. Social media can be a great way to connect with others, but it can also attract comparison and amplify feelings of anxiety. Scrolling through your phone during a spare moment can prevent you from truly cherishing the moment. Establish boundaries and put your phone down during meals or other bonding times. Scroll past, mute, or unfollow things that elicit negative emotions.

Prioritize rest and sleep. Travel, get-togethers, and house guests can make maintaining a regular sleep schedule difficult. Sleep deprivation can cause a lack of energy, dampened immunity, and increased stress. Plan and delegate holiday preparations to give yourself the rest and relaxation that will allow you to be present during holiday celebrations.

Incorporate moments of human connection. Prioritize time and create ways to individually connect with loved ones. Ask someone to run an errand with you rather than shopping online, or take a break from party planning to go for a walk with a friend. During these moments create meaningful conversations by asking about their lives and giving them your full attention. Not sure where to start? Consider asking the following questions.

  • What is your favorite winter solstice/Christmas/Hanukkah memory and why?
  • If you had to live in a holiday movie, which one would you choose?
  • What is your biggest holiday cooking or baking fail?
  • If you could spend the holidays in a foreign country, which one would you choose and why?
  • What is your least favorite holiday tradition and why?
  • What holiday dessert best describes you and why?

Avoid the temptation to make everything perfect. No matter how much you plan, something is bound to go wrong. Luckily, this will likely contribute to a fun future memory! Try to take holiday plans in stride by relying on your sense of humor and not taking yourself too seriously.

Incorporate at least one of the above suggestions to remain present during the holidays this year!

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