|There is something about the warm buzz of the winter holidays that makes us want to give. It’s a wonderful feeling to find that special thing for someone we care about or to know we’ve warmed a heart. We want to show our appreciation and share the “spirit” of Christmas.
This spirit isn’t meant to be about shiny new things or giving lots of stuff. The intention crosses religions and cultures. It comes from a place of wanting to share what we know to be good. We naturally want to share something we have experienced and have found meaningful; we want others to experience that same feeling. It’s like when you have a warm cup of soup on a cold day and you know this feeling is meant for all humans.
We give in many ways. It may be charitable giving, making a meal for someone, a kind word, or shoveling the walk for a neighbor. Giving doesn’t have to be big to be meaningful. In fact, often times it is a small gesture that has big impact.
For many of us, giving doesn’t occur just once a year. Giving may be a part of your everyday life, which can make the holiday season feel overwhelming or stressful. The marketing and social media feel overwhelming – who can really bake that many mini loaves and decorate their house so quaintly?
There are two things I recommend you are mindful to this holiday season. First, remember the true intention of giving. It is not about shiny things or lots of stuff. It is not about what anyone else is doing. The true intention of giving is sharing something another may not have. This may be time, a shoulder to lean on, a meal; anything that you have to give and someone would benefit from.
Secondly, I encourage you to not forget yourself. So often we give and share, neglecting our own needs. How many times have you woken up the day after Christmas feeling exhausted? What was the last New Year’s like for you? Remember to take time to give to yourself. This may be in the form of rest, down time, or an experience. Consider scheduling fun time for you. Take off to see a movie, get a massage, or wind down with friends. When you give to yourself and give mindfully, you give to many.
Julie Luzarraga, LICSW. DCSW
Founder, Omaha Integrative Care