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The best gift: your presence

During the holidays, our attention is often split between shopping, work, and Christmas celebrations. With all of the distractions and expectations, we can easily become engrossed and overwhelmed by all there is to do. Despite the reason for the season, we become stressed and distant from those who matter. Here are a few tips to stay present during this time of year:

Put down your phone: An easy way to stay engaged with your friends and family is to put away your phone. When you are attending events, dinners, or just hanging out with loved ones, make sure you are keeping your phone at a distance. A recent study suggests that when our phones are out, even if we are not using them, empathy decreases by 40%. We are less likely to validate and connect with other people just by having out phones out in the open.

Go to less events: Sometimes less is more. There are a lot of things to do during this time of year, but doing too much can lead to exhaustion and agitation. We get so caught up in our events that we lose sight of why were are doing it in the first place. You don’t have to do everything to have a good holiday season.

Setting boundaries: Going along with the second suggestion, you are allowed to say no to certain events. Saying no to someone else is saying yes to yourself. Your mental health is worth letting people know that you can’t do everything. You can say “Thank you for the invite, but we cannot come this year” or “we are spending family time together that day and cannot attend’. Your time is valuable.

Pay attention: Try to focus in on what people are saying when they are talking to you. Listen to their words, validate their feelings, really hear what they are saying. We get so caught up trying to multitask that we become poor listeners. Make this the holiday where you practice listening to family and friends. They will appreciate your gift.

You cannot get back quality time and presence. Work on setting goals for yourself to be present and engaged this season. I hope it will help you find fulfillment and joy!

This post originally appears on the website of Cor Counseling and Wellness by the same author.

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