Presence above presents
Benefits of togetherness over material possessions.
Article Author: Guest Columnist
Our guest columnist is Terrie Andrews, PhD, clinical psychologist and vice president of Baptist Behavioral Health and Wolfson Children's Behavioral Health.
People have been nervously filling their digital shopping carts this year, knowing that global supply chain issues threaten to delay the delivery of coveted holiday gifts. Worrying about gifts is an added layer of stress that can be avoided in what has already been a difficult year. After all, in the holiday film classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey didn’t need to have many possessions to realize his wealth in family and friends.
When the COVID-19 pandemic caused the world shut down, it was the “Great Reset,” with nearly everyone focusing on loved ones and putting family first. During this time inside our homes, there were no outside activities to pull us away from friends and family. This Great Reset gave many of us time to reflect on our own career paths and priorities, reintroduced us to our neighbors, and brought about a sense of closeness to our immediate and extended families.
As the world has begun to open up, we can actually boost our mental well-being by continuing to put family and friends first. Research shows we are happier, more hopeful and kinder when surrounded by family and friends. We are also calmer and have a sense of ownership of our community when we give back to others, like participating in a community food bank or re-gifting outgrown toys to younger siblings.
When parents spend more time with their children, they help build a bond that can facilitate difficult conversations in the future. That is the premise of Wolfson Children’s On Our Sleeves: to help adults communicate with kids and teens and thus, promote mental well-being and prevent crises.
To make it easier to find budget-friendly things to do together, we’ve created a Family Togetherness Calendar for the month of December.
Let’s all take this opportunity to continue to focus on presence above presents. Then instead of stressing, we may be able to see that perhaps the supply chain problem is a gift, itself.
When loved ones spend time together, it's easier to open up and have important conversations about mental health and wellness. Wolfson Children's On Our Sleeves provides adults with free, easy-to-use resources to get started. To learn more, visit wolfsonchildrens.com/onoursleeves.