Presence is a Present
Updated: Dec 5, 2019
Ahh, tis the season to be…stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, and tired..fa la la la la la la la.
Oh, December. Who else is thinking about what happened to this whole year? 2019 was a blur, I know it was for me. Truthfully, I feel like I don’t even know how I got through it with the many transitions and lifestyle changes I’ve had. As I reflect on this past year in particular, my biggest challenge was being present with myself and others. I honestly can say it's been a gift to myself to recognize and acknowledge where I am currently, in this present moment. It’s tough, don’t get me wrong. There are so many internal battles and self-talks that have to be addressed, but it is possible.
It can be difficult to be at one with yourself, whether you’re a graduate student, parent, sibling, or even a colleague. Some of you may have final exams approaching, holiday parties and gatherings, the family get-togethers of course, tending to the children and their school activities, and even meeting work deadlines. All of these can be so consuming of your time and energy and it can be so tough to get yourself to simply just be. Your stress and anxiety are in their highest peaks this month, making you feel like you have to do a million things at once and you may even have some self-critical talks. It happens.
But, let me give you a little present. A gift from me to you on how to BE PRESENT in these times:
I want to stress the value and importance of being yourself. As we all know, when we go through a chaotic time, we tend to lose the focus of ourselves into other things that requires more attention. That’s inevitable. But, when you start to notice more pull towards those things, give yourself a minute to step away and remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing and say to yourself, “I’m doing everything I can with all that I have to give.”
Take care of yourself by making a schedule and having good sleep hygiene. That’s something my dad always told me. Set alarms at the same time, wake up, develop a routine, shower, moisturize…lay everything out the night before even. Clothing especially! It will save you time the next day. Give yourself one less thing to worry about.
Say NO. With respect. Everyone is going to want to do something with you. That’s beautiful and great, that means you’re loved and wanted. However, if you recognize that it gives you more anxiety to do those activities, then it simply isn’t going to be beneficial to you. Truthfully, it will be unfair to you and the other person. Because your mind won't be in that given moment. So, simply express, “Thank you for inviting me, I appreciate it. However, I have some deadlines to meet, but let’s plan for something when our schedules coincide. I’ll be there in spirit.” You can say a version of that, but be honest- with yourself and with others. Send a gift or card to show your appreciation if you so choose.
Channel your stress and anxiety or any other feeling that may be consuming you into your work or studies, simply in anything that’s going to uplift you. I always say, “Don’t invest your energy into a place that’s not reciprocating.” You want to shift your focus into the things that will help YOU reach your highest levels. Don’t worry about who is bringing what to dinner or what another person is doing, that won’t help you. It only hinders you. Don’t give your time to something that won't be worthwhile. So, you have a final exam or a work deadline to meet? Then make your outline and focus on that. You will be glad you did.
“Take it minute by minute.” I have been saying this for quite some time now. Everyone mentions to take everything day by day, but for me, life can change in a minute. So I believe in taking it minute by minute, in a matter of 60 seconds, anything can happen. Do things with purpose and intention and make use of your time. Even if you are just sitting and daydreaming for a bit, who doesn’t do that? That’s okay too, your mind needs to wander at times. Give yourself what you deserve above all.
I could go on and on with some ways to be more present with yourself, but it takes some self-recognition and self-reflection of course. I hope this month of December treats you well. Try not to let yourself get caught up in what you are “supposed to do” and actually do “what you deserve to do.” Relax, reflect, and realign. And above all, go home for the holidays. And by that, I mean to find home within yourself, that’s what’s going to give warmth, comfort, and solitude.