We’re officially into the silly season, the sun is making a beeline for our beaches (and may it stay that way!), the roads are getting busier and so are our stores as we load our trolleys with foodstuffs and try to beat the mid December rush of gift buying. Yet in a season that can be all about the “stuff”, the most valuable gift that can be given this Christmas is something you won’t find at the mall: time and presence.
Our exercise physiologist and clinic manager, superhuman Hannah Lowe, says that in her family this year, “everyone is getting hugs and shortbread!” – it really is a wonderful time to choose quality over quantity, or as we see it, presence over presents.
Taking the time to bake for a loved one is special, the family going to choose a Christmas tree, driving around to see the festive lights that many neighbourhoods in Tauranga/Mount Maunganui participate in, heading to the beach to build sand castles and take a dip in the ocean, the cosy family movie nights and the summer cricket in the backyard with dad… The memories that we can choose to create far outweigh spending over and above our means, and usually last longer too!
The real joy of this time of the year is eating, talking, laughing and spending time with those we love most and thinking of those that are no longer here to join us.
Changing the focus from presents to presence is also a fantastic way to practice mindfulness – especially at the dinner table. Slowing down and enjoying the taste of food in our mouth, the textures, smell, colours. As an added bonus, mindful eating is beneficial for our digestive system and how we’ll feel later on too, which definitely comes in handy when those sweet treats make an appearance!
This time of the year can be stressful and hard for many (we’ll talk more about some of the organisations/communities that can be impacted greatly by this and how we can get involved in another upcoming blog post). So really making an effort to not get caught up in the chaos of the holidays can sometimes be easier said than done. But it is by no means impossible and it doesn’t need to break the bank either.
By choosing time and presence these holidays, we get to share memories and experiences with our loved ones which is ultimately the most valuable gift of all.
Happy holidays from us at The Centre for Health!