Stay Present During The Holiday Season

Woman enjoying a christmas cookie

Staying present during the holiday season is easier said than done, especially this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re like most of us, you’re doing the best you can just to make it through one of the most unprecedented times in recent history. In addition to the usual holiday to-do lists, work deadlines that need to be met before the end of the year, and travel arrangements that need to be figured out, there’s also the extra pressure of deciding how you and your loved ones will be spending the holidays this year. Navigating the holidays during the coronavirus pandemic is certainly going to be challenging with many important conversations needing to be had, and difficult decisions to be made. Knowing this, we’ve come up with three tricks this holiday season to help you stay present during the most wonderful time of the year.

A couple relaxing with a cup of tea

Trick #1: Prioritize

Before making any big decisions or committing to plans this holiday season, truly prioritize what’s best for you and your family. This means taking the time to decide what you’re willing to do, as well as what you’re unwilling to do before anyone requests your time, energy, or money. It’s important, maybe now more than ever, to place an emphasis on you and your family’s health, happiness, and overall well-being.

“Remember, saying yes to one thing always means saying no to something or someone else – whether that’s time coloring with your littles, an unrushed chat over hot cider with a friend, or a relaxing bath,” writes Camille Styles in her “How to Be Fully Present This Holiday Season” article. “No, you won’t be able to do everything. Your energy and time is valuable, so take a couple minutes to sit down and jot down what your priorities are this season.”

After you decide what your priorities are this holiday season, it’s important that you stick to them. Sure, saying, “No” may be difficult, but it’s much better than doing something that you don’t want to do, or even worse, saying, “Yes” in the moment and then backing out last minute. Or maybe you’ll even able to come up with a middle ground that works for everyone. Let’s say instead of you and your extended family exchanging gifts in person this year, maybe you do your best Santa Claus impressions and drop the gifts off at one another’s homes by the door and then open them up virtually together.

Stay true to yourself and your priorities this holiday season, and that will allow you to stay in the moment with yourself and with those who mean the most to you. After all, quality time with your loved ones may very well be the best gift of all this year.

Takeaway: “No” is a complete sentence, and if you need some me-time, make sure to take it.

Holiday Cookies

Trick #2: Choose Not To Feel Guilty Over Food

What are the holidays without sweet treats, right? That’s why you should go ahead and enjoy your favorite holiday cookies and cakes if it brings you joy. There’s no reason to be mean to yourself for eating holiday cookies, or to stop yourself from having dessert with the rest of your family. Go ahead and pick the desserts that are your favorite and truly savor the flavors.

By coming up with a plan ahead of time for how you’ll approach eating desserts this holiday season you’ll be able to focus on the people you love around the table rather than the sweets on top of the table and your relationship to them.

Takeaway: Weight management doesn’t need to be complicated or restrictive, and you’re allowed to have fun while celebrating this holiday season.  

Enjoying the holidays

Trick #3: Let Go Of Control

If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that there are some things in life that we just can’t control. While it may not always be easy to go with the flow, instead of stressing about minor things this holiday season and really making sure that they’re perfect, focus on the major things and be grateful for what you have.

“Our attempts to gain control typically stem from a yearning to predict an outcome,” according to a Wanderlust “4 Hacks for Staying Present This Holiday Season” article. “We are focused on the future rather than the beauty that sits before us. Relinquishing control creates presence. You can enjoy the moment for what it is – rather than attempting to mold and meld it.”

Maybe that cake we spent hours baking didn’t come out exactly as we hoped, or we’re unable to spend the holidays with our extended family and friends this year due to COVID-19 or other factors out of our control. That’s OK. You’re allowed to be upset and frustrated, but the important thing is that after you take the time to sit with whatever it is that’s bothering you and face it head on, turn your attention back to things that you can control. For example, if you are upset that you’re not with relatives in a different state this holiday, maybe give them a phone call or set aside time for a virtual celebration with them.

“Attempt to notice any negative thoughts, desires for control, or the attempt to predict what’s going to happen,” according to Wanderlust. “Instead, give yourself permission – even audibly speak to yourself, if this feels right – to let go of your need to hold the reigns and welcome the moment.”

Takeaway: Focus on the things you can control and let go of the things that you can’t control.