The Next Four Weeks
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

Last week I wrote about our new superpower: Gratitude. Today I would like to go to the next level a bit. I want to talk about being fully present. We live in a time when everything is fast-paced. Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Rather than talking, we text. Even if we are in the next room, we send a text rather than talk with someone. I fear that as we rush through life, we miss out on life itself. I would like to challenge you to slow down and be fully present at this “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Here are four tips that might help.

  1. Silence your notifications – Not just on your phone but on your watch as well (or really any device). Do we really need our watch telling us there is BREAKING NEWS when it’s just the latest headlines? I am old enough to remember when real breaking news meant something, and the three networks interrupted “It’s a Wonderful Life” to report. It was so rare that we could go years without interruption.
  2. Establish a no phone zone or time during gatherings – How about no phones (or smart devices) at the dinner table for the holidays? I can hear you saying, “But what will the kids do after they are done eating?” Why not have conversations that include them? Share favorite memories from past holidays. My kids loved my dad’s stories about growing up on the farm during the depression. The no-phone rule might just work so well that you keep that rule into 2023.
  3. Enjoy the process rather than the goal – Why are Christmas shopping and wrapping such a stressful experience? Because we focus on the goal rather than enjoying the experience. Some years ago, I found myself at the Disney Store on Black Friday. As I worked to keep my grandkids from touching every item in the store, I could sense the cortisol being released in my brain. My heart rate increased, and my blood pressure began to climb. Thankfully just as I was about to erupt, I started to hear Christmas music playing, and I heard the children’s laughter over the cries of someone tired of being strapped in a stroller. Once I could embrace the process, I enjoyed my day at the mall.
  4. Immerse yourself in the activities of the holiday season – Have you planned out the next four weeks? Take the advice of my good friend Marisa and make your seasonal bucket list of activities. When we plan them out, the stress is reduced, and we can truly enjoy them. My calendar has special programs at my church; Christmas caroling; family visits; and one of my absolute favorites, Symphoria’s Holiday Pops concert. I have my tickets in hand!

We get to choose what the next four weeks will be like. It can be a time of stress or a time of joy and happiness with family and friends. Live with intentionality, slow down, be fully present and enjoy yourself. If you have the time, join me at Symphoria’s Holiday Pops concert. I promise you won’t regret it.