What’s in a List?
A friend recently shared this meme and it spoke volumes to me about how we can best serve ourselves and others this festive season, so here’s my interpretation of an alternative Christmas to do List.
1. Be Present
One of the best compliments I can ever receive is if someone says to me, “I felt like you were really present with me”.
How do we do this? Here are some tips:-
- Tell your brain that it’s time to quieten down, focus on the other person and block out external distractions
- Listen empathically – nod, paraphrase, summarise and listen with your whole body
- Be curious – aim to be interestED, not interestING and you will make the other person feel valued, important and cared for
2. Wrap Someone in a Hug
Maybe it’s the first time since Christmas 2019 that you’re gathering together again with loved ones and goodness knows, our ‘hugging’ bank account is very much in the red!
When we hug, there is a wonderful exchange of oxytocin – our love and trust hormone, and we feel like we belong, which is one of our core social needs.
3. Send Peace
As I write this, Volodymyr Zelensky has just been voted ‘Time Person of the Year’ and I’m sure that there will be much continued wishing for peace in the coming weeks and months, not just for Ukraine, but around the world.
The act of holding peace in our hearts and minds and wishing others peace is a powerful mindfulness strategy that activates the parasympathetic nervous system and helps us be calm and centred, which is the best stress-reliever we could ask for.
And who knows – if enough people set the peace intention – miracles might happen!
4. Donate Food
We’d have to be living under a rock not to be acutely aware of the pressures on so many families this year, and sparing a few moments to donate provides an exceptional return on investment as, when we give, we release twice as much oxytocin as when we receive, AND the production of oxytocin produces dopamine and serotonin, so it’s a WIN:WIN:WIN!
Here in Australia, in partnership with Oz Harvest, you can donate easily by rounding up your shopping to the nearest $ at Woolies, or you can donate here and elsewhere around the world, (including Australia), you can pop a few extra goodies into your shopping trolley and deposit them at a collection point in the supermarket for donation to food banks.
5. Be the Light
This year, thanks to my wonderful mentor Peter, I rebranded my keynote presentations to have the theme of ‘Shining a Light’, as he listened to me share how I coached many team members who were being retrenched, to see that there was still light at the end of the tunnel (and how this became the catalyst for me to move from corporate into full time people development).
However small a flicker, if we can speak a kind word, offer a compliment or some words of encouragement, pick up the phone and make a short call or share some sage advice, we fan the flames of hope and positivity for those who need it.
Our wish for you this holiday season is that you are blessed with an abundance of whatever you are wishing for yourself and your loved ones.