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Tis The Season For Togetherness

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The winter holiday season is upon us, which usually means that our households are busy decorating, buying gifts, going to holiday parties, baking, and working to pay for everything. It's easy to lose control of your time and miss out on what is truly important: your mindfulness and presence for your loved ones.

It must become a priority to give loved ones the attention they desire during the holidays when both work and social demands are contending for your time. Make a pact that this holiday will be different from past years. Time is something we cannot get back, so cherish these moments with your children, aging parents, and grandparents and reconnect. Creating lasting memories and a sense of connection is fun and good for your overall health and wellness.

Prepare for the Holidays together.

There is a desire to feel needed and useful among all age groups. Explore ways to engage the younger and older family members with holiday tasks like decorating, baking goodies, or even sending out holiday cards. You can receive much-needed help this way and check items off your list while creating warm connections.

Help everyone connect and feel included.

Games are a great icebreaker and help people gather, interact and share fun regardless of age. Playing games provides opportunities to share laughs and memories from the past. Some activity ideas include having your children ask your parents about their childhood, how they met their spouse, and what you were like as a child. Other ideas may be looking through old photo albums and sharing stories. These ordinary things have the most extraordinary power to make life full of magical moments that make lasting impressions.

Limit Technology Use.

Try hard this year for quality time, be fully mindful, and be present in the moments by limiting distractions. It is hard to make eye contact and connect with the people around us during the holidays when constantly glued to our smartphones, tablets, and computers. Parents can expect their children to disconnect from their devices if they are willing to unplug. Setting aside time daily to power down your devices and focus on family activities can impact family engagement and reconnection. It doesn't matter if the presents aren't perfectly wrapped or the turkey is a little overcooked. What matters is that you slow things down and focus on enjoying the everyday moments before they're gone.

Do Something Kind for Someone Else.

 Look for ways to reach out and support others during the holidays. There are many ways to get the family involved in volunteering at church, in the community, or helping out neighbors. These are good values to impart to our children, and parents and kids will benefit if these activities become a regular part of the family routine. Instead of objecting to comments you disagree with and heading for arguments, try to find opportunities to offer a compliment or kind word, or lend a hand with a task.

Take Time to Unwind from Holiday Events.

This time of year can be stressful and busy. Instead of taking a break, we fill our time with more activity, obligations, and opportunities to encounter the edges of our capacity. Know when to slow down and say no, to add to your self-care during the holidays. This way, you can enjoy this holiday season. Pace yourself and remember to pause throughout the day and breathe in the moment.

Please pass up some of the invitations this year during the holidays. If you're hosting, consider a holiday potluck and allow folks to share a meaningful recipe. You can then enjoy their company instead of stressing over food preparation. For many reasons, holidays can also be tremendously anxious or painful. You may want this holiday to feel "normal," but maybe you can try to embrace how it has changed. Consider skipping certain events or limiting your interactions with others to avoid activities or situations that intensify difficult emotions for you.

Spend some Alone Time with your Spouse.

The Holidays are a time to be exceptionally compassionate with yourself and your partner when under stress. Remember that people generally do their best, and showing appreciation and attention can go a long way in maintaining connection even when stressed by the holidays. To keep your relationship strong, carve out time for yourself and one another. Keep it simple, like enjoying a glass of wine together, walking around your neighborhood to see the holiday lights, or watching your favorite Christmas movie. Finding ways to connect when busy or under stress can significantly prevent minor problems from getting bigger.

If you're having difficulty getting through the Holidays while maintaining a peaceful relationship with your spouse and family members, seeking outside support may offer extra help through the season.

Marriage In a Box is a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions that professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.

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