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  • Janine Friedman, MSILR, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Give the Present of Being Present

Holiday Stress Management Tip #5

The holiday season is here! Hopefully, it will be a time of warmth, joy, happiness, excitement, family closeness and religious tradition. Along with it, however, can come the feelings of being over-scheduled, financial stress, fatigue, irritability and even overwhelm. If your family has suffered a loss or significant change within the past year, you might also experience feelings of grief, sadness or depression. There are things you can do to alleviate some of your stress this holiday season, and its impact on your work and personal life. Throughout the next few weeks, I will be sharing some stress management tips, so that you can make the most out of this special time.

Give the Present of Being Present Being present means you are fully engaged in the moment (not worrying about the future or regretting the past). Getting all of your senses involved can help you to achieve this state, so can meditation. Make an effort to concentrate on completing one task at a time and slowing down. Bring all of your conscious awareness to whatever you are doing – from wrapping gifts, to baking cookies, to lighting the menorah and opening presents (channel your 7 year-old self). You’ll gain an inner peace that comes from living fully in the present moment, and you'll accomplish more when your concentration is fixed on one thing at a time. Carry the conscious effort to be present when you are with your loved ones, co-workers or clients. Look them in the eye, give them your full attention, and actively listen to what they are saying (versus preparing a response). Yes, this may mean putting your phone down :). Eat mindfully - don't just scarf down your holiday meal. Instead, try applying a mindful approach:

  • take a deep breath before you begin your meal

  • smell the food

  • think about what was involved in the preparation of this meal: the love that went into cooking it, the tradition behind it, etc.

  • truly savor each bite

  • eat it slowly

The gift of being present can be the greatest present you give this year. Wishing you all the best for a peaceful holiday season!

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