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As we are approaching the last few days before Christmas, we can be overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated, and anxious about how to get everything ready. In trying to finish everything, it can be difficult to transition into being present for our loved ones and to enjoy the events we have worked so hard for.

How Can I Settle in and Be Present?

So much of what we work so hard for is to prepare a special time for those we love and want to celebrate with. After all the planning, work and sometimes chaos it can be hard to exhale, settle in and be present to enjoy the time with our loved ones. Below are some ideas that might help you as you seek to be more present this holiday season.

Start with Possibly Editing Your To-Do List.

You can start with looking at your existing responsibilities and to-do list, then see what added responsibilities and tasks there might be for this season. Start your editing with taking off anything that is not absolutely needed on your main to-do list. You can start a second list with the items you are deleting off the master list. This list has the tasks you would like to do if you have the time, energy, and finances. By separating these lists, you can lessen your stress, frustration, and anxiety in trying to get everything done on what may be an unrealistic master list. If you are able to do a few things on the “would like to do list”, you will be happy and excited instead of dreading not being able to do everything. Instead of just adding the holiday tasks to an already overwhelmed schedule, you may need to delegate, change the scope of the task, or even let go of some of the regular everyday tasks that you usually do. Often, we think that we can just add more to our list and somehow it will get done when it typically causes us to be exhausted, frustrated, and unproductive.

Prioritize Yourself Each Day.

Instead of just looking at this long list of things that need to get done, make a choice each day as to what must get done and work on those tasks first. Be sure to be realistic with the activities that are already in that day that must be done and then add in what you have the time and energy to do. It is important to put yourself on that list making sure you are still taking care of our own needs. The holiday season is a time when many of us forget to take care of ourselves and that will add to how we can not only handle the extra tasks but more importantly how well we can embrace and enjoy the season.

Leave Margin In Your Day.

Margin is needed in each day and especially during the holiday season when the simplest task can take twice as long as we expect it should. When we add in all the extras that factor into the tasks such as traffic, needing more resources, long lines and not being able to find gifts, we easily become exhausted, impatient, and even frantic during this time. Leaving margin in each day helps you to better navigate those delays without feeling so much pressure because you have left some time in your day to accommodate these surprises and delays.

Indulge a Little.

As you are trying to create a special season for those you love, it is crucial that you remember to take the time to indulge and enjoy those little treats that speak to your heart. This is not the self-care that we all need and talked about earlier. Indulging is taking the time to celebrate the holidays in a way that speaks to your heart. Maybe it is a nice long bubble bath with those special candles, a holiday coffee drink with a friend, or spending a little time reading your favorite novel. We need to be sure to keep time to treat ourselves during the holidays.

Connecting With People.

As you are planning your schedule for this season, be sure to add into some time to meet with friends or family who make you feel happy and appreciated. These people are life-giving to you, and we will need these positive and affirming experiences as we may have some events that are more difficult or trying for us. Being with others who makes is feel that we are seen, heard, and loved is so important to being present and enjoying the holiday season.

Cultivate Gratitude.

Instead of continuing to look at all the things you still have to do or maybe have not done the way you had wanted to do, take time each day to reflect on the good things of that day. Keeping a journal is a great way to be able to focus on this and be able to look back on the goodness that has surrounded this season. Look back at sweet moments, fun events, and all you have accomplished. It is easy to feel like we will never get everything done, or that we have not done enough, and both of those thoughts can bring frustrations, anxiety, disappointment, and stress.

Ideas For Being Present On The Day Of The Event.

As you are preparing yourself to go to the event, take that time to do some deep breathing. Exhale any stresses you may be feeling. Give yourself enough time to prepare for the event. Pamper yourself. Wear clothes that make you feel good. This is not the time to be running out the door still trying to finish.

On the way to the event.

On the way to the event, begin to think about good, positive, and fun things about those who will be there or similar events you have went to. Listen to your favorite holiday music or music that uplifts you. Try to stop thinking about other things you need to do. Do not multitask on the drive. Just practice being in the car and enjoying the conversations or the music.

What if the event is a one that is difficult for me?

If you are going to an event that has been difficult previously or has a difficult person at the event, this is a good time to remind yourself that you have a choice here and that you can choose to deal with that person differently if needed and that you can also put up a boundary with that person in how you choose to interact with them or even limit your time interacting with them.

While you are at the event.

When you get to the event, put away your phone. It is the perfect time to choose to be fully present with the people who are right in front of you. Dedicate that time to enjoying yourself and to being present not only with the people around but with your environment. Most the events we attend during the holiday season have decorations, music, and food. Take the time to really look around, see your environment, taste, and enjoy the food, and enjoy those people right in front of you.

Work, emails, friend’s text, and social media will be there for you after the event. If you use your phone to take pictures, be sure to put it away after the photos. For most of us, if our phone is out of sight, we are less apt to be on it checking things.

We hope that these tips help you enjoy and be more present during this holiday season. If you would like more information on learning to be more present in your life, our therapists would love to help with this.