Connection is important! Connectedness is feeling cared for, supported, and like you belong at school or work, with friends and family, and in your community. Feeling connected is good for people of all ages.
Connected children do better at school and with friends. Connection reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation. Connecting to resources and supports can help people meet their basic needs. Saying “good morning” to the transit driver, having a meal with friends, toasting marshmallows around a fire pit, attending church, mosque, or synagogue, or walking through the neighborhood with your family to look at holiday lights are great examples of actions that connect. Connecting activities help us be healthy and well as individuals, strengthen our relationships, and give us a sense that we belong in our larger community. Creating connection in our daily lives is very important for good mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.
For some people, connecting is an important part of the holiday season. While connecting comes naturally to some, it is more difficult for others. One thing that can improve the connections in our lives is mindfulness. Mindfulness happens when we are completely aware of and “in” the present moment.
Ridding ourselves of distractions and being mindful allows us to be fully with others and increases our appreciation for and the benefit of social connections.
The acronym W.I.N.T.E.R gives us a tool that can help us practice mindfulness and increase our connections during the holidays.
- Warmth: Pay attention to the comforting feeling you get as you sip a warm drink and enjoy the cozy heat from your fireplace or big fuzzy blanket!
- Intention: Let go of feeling like you have to “do it all”. Think about and act on your own values and beliefs instead of trying to meet unrealistic expectations.
- No: Let yourself create healthy boundaries. There is no need to always do more or force yourself to do things when you would rather not.
- Try: Be open and say “yes” to new experiences and opportunities – food, events, hobbies!
- Exercise: Embrace the snow. Do activities that fit our winter season. Dress warm and walk, go for a skate on a community rink, build a snow fort, or try snow shoeing.
- Relax: Do what recharges your batteries! Take time for yourself.