The Best Gift This Holiday Season: Your Presence
The holidays have officially begun.
This time of year is jolly, merry and brings everyone together- even the people on your naughty list. Every year around this time, we envision the perfect “Hallmark Holiday” filled with relaxation, peace and precious moments spent with family and friends. However, we realize that all too often the reality of this fantasy can be quite different. From intense family dynamics to overbooked schedules the holidays can leave us feeling exhausted and emotionally spent. Not to mention, the stress and anxiety leading up to the day has our anxiety barometers on full blast. As a result, for many of us, this leaves our personal and physical presence lacking.
As you begin to plan for the upcoming holidays, (and maybe you’re still cringing from Thanksgiving), ask yourself, “How can you maintain a high presence even when things do not go as anticipated?”
Luckily, there are a few things that may help you to stay present, grounded and connected for the rest of the holiday season. Who knows- these tips could be the difference between having your own version of a “Hallmark Holiday” or experiencing a total kibosh.
Simply Be Present
We often fall into roles of who and what we need to be for certain people- whether friends, family or even colleagues. When we feel the need to fit a certain mold or past belief, the stress begins to set in. Give yourself the permission to just be present.Maybe every year you host the holiday with a large spread and deck out your entire house with decorations and lighting that you can see from another galaxy. However, this year, unexpected events happened where you are not able to put on the luxurious light show as in previous years, but feel pressure to do so because all your guests look forward to them. If this sounds like you, take a step back to ask yourself, “What do I want to be present to?” Maybe you realize the “little wins” such as baking cookies or sharing a precious conversation with your family and friends proves to be just as rewarding.
Don’t be scared to create room to be your authentic self. Be sure to stay true to who you are as an individual so that people around you take notice and become comfortable within your presence. This increases vulnerability and trust, making it easier to be present in the moment and build those precious moments that you’re looking for this holiday season.
Consider Your Body Language
Take a look at how you are presenting yourself. The way our physical self presents itself leaves a lasting impression on others in less than 7 seconds and gives others the opportunity to label us into certain filters such as, friendly, funny, suspicious, or cranky in the matter of seconds. Once you’re labeled as such, our brains are hard-wired to find reinforcing information to keep someone under that microscope. And on the opposing end, it can be hard to come out of that role. Before that holiday party, notice what a good “neutral” state feels like for you, ( e.g. relaxed shoulders, arms at your side with open palms, and relaxed eyes and jaw). Take moments throughout the party to breathe and “reset” to that neutral position for a moment to release any tension and give yourself the chance to be more conscious about how you are showing up.
While things may not go as planned this holiday, there is no denying that this time of year is simply magical. When we are able to find a balance by not being attached to perfectionism, but rather to find appreciation in unique moments, that is when the light of the season shines its strongest. So as you’re navigating this year’s holiday, remember, things may not go as planned and that’s okay. Don’t forget to enjoy the little things (yes, that means Uncle Todd’s dry roast beef) and relish in the perfectly imperfect moments.