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7 Tips to Help You Stay Present During the Holidays

By Melissa McCreery Douaire, M.Div., M.Ed., and GC-C

Wellness entrepreneurs are passionate about health and are acutely aware of the mind, body, and spirit connection. However, when the hurries of the holidays have you hustling, it's easy to forget self-care, an attitude of gratitude, and being present in the moment.

Time is everyone’s most precious commodity; honor it as a gift when people share theirs, and, when you give your time, offer it as a gift, a gift of presence with intentionality and kindness.

Here are seven tips to hurry less and be more present. You and everyone around you will feel better about your time together!

The answer is no, thank you

If you can’t say yes to a request, invitation, or opportunity with a gracious heart, then say no, thank you. Save yourself from being overwhelmed, a gift of self-care, while keeping space open for someone else who would like the opportunity to belong, connect, and share. Let the joy others are creating and sharing be available to those who have time and space to enjoy it.

Less is always more

Whether it's about the buttery, sugary treats everywhere, or the flowing, bottomless glasses of wine and cocktails, or over-commitments of mandatory family fun, endless open-houses, or multiple trips to the snail-mail post; less is always more. The less you indulge, the more likely you will savor the dessert, drink, company, or errands. Taking control of your input allows the output to be less guilt and more joy! Remember, do it with a smile on your face and grace in your heart, or simply say no, thank you!

As we say to the kids, “Use your words!”

Around the holidays, stress is inevitable; rather than letting it accumulate into a big ball of stress which comes out of your mouth as fiery snark. Name the stress or stressors, break them into smaller, more manageable parts, and then prioritize. You'll realize that not everything, or everyone, can have the same amount of priority and urgency upon your time. Once you verbalize or write out the stress list, priorities become more apparent, then delegate or even delete!

You can ask for help

Sadly, there are no trophies for those of us who tend to be martyrs, especially when those around us don’t even know there's a scorecard. So ask for help! There are plenty of people who aren't overwhelmed in the ways many of us are! Let these people help you and use the opportunity to connect, support, and offer their time as an act of service and gift of presence during the holidays.

Don’t assume, be inclusive

Indeed, many people are very busy during the holidays; however, many feel alone, isolated, and disconnected. They don’t have family nearby or have recently lost family members and friends with whom they had traditions, parties to attend and are looking for ways to be a part of the season. They'd give anything to feel the pull of their attention toward multiple events. Many people regularly experience loneliness; however, it's a deafening silence during the holidays. Offer the gift of presence and space at your facility for regulars who spend so much time and energy together. Here are a couple of easy ideas: host holiday coffee/smoothie hour where they can connect, acknowledge their losses with a kind word or note, give a small token gift, or place their names somewhere that can be seen and appreciated through the holidays.

Engage the community you've created

As an owner, engage clients in social planning, charity outreach, and seasonal cheer. Create a bulletin board for Holiday Helping Hands, make goodwill wishes for clients, host a ‘pre-owned’ Secret Santa exchange, or coordinate collections for food, mittens, or toys. I’m sure you can come up with hundreds of fun ideas! The most important aspect is allowing folks to belong and feel the presence of others, especially after all the isolation so many have recently and painfully experienced.

Slow down

In a world that prides itself on the harried hecticness of life, take a stand against it! Slow down, and make time for one kind word to each person in your path. Smile! See them, hear them, and be present with them in the moment. The alerts on your phone can wait. Taking the time to meaningfully connect may be the gift they need and the best one they receive. You’ll change their day and yours.

As we walk into many new firsts of the holiday season, remember you're in control. You decide how hectic and harried you're willing to be, or rather how gracious and present you want to be. Establish new beginnings that intentionally align with your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being and make your presence a gift to everyone around you, peace and grace.

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About the author:

melissa douaire headshot

Melissa McCreery Douaire, M.Div., M.Ed., and GC-C

Guest Blogger

Founder of Whole Person Conversations, LLC

She is a mother to three twenty-somethings, a thirty-something step-son, three dogs, and a wife living in Boulder, CO.  As a grief counselor, educator, and ordained UCC minister Melissa speaks to corporations, educators, and client-centered businesses about the impacts of loss and grief around death and changes we experience in life. Melissa considers it a privilege to hold the confidences of hundreds of personal journeys of darkness into the light.


To contact Melissa, visit her website.

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