We all have them. Those lists. Grocery lists, gift lists, Amazon lists . . .

even our calendars are lists—be here, go there, make these calls, attend those webinars. Think about what those lists accomplish. Is it busy-work or is it truly productive?

Much like the photo above, we might want to rethink our priorities, especially during this season—a season that is supposed to be all about loving, caring and sharing, yet sometimes turns into rushing, obligations and exhaustion.
May I suggest a few replacements for those items on your to-do list? See how many you can accomplish this month. Then take note of how you feel. Less exhausted and more exuberant? It’s likely.

Be present. With your family and other loved ones, of course, but also with yourself. What are you feeling? Who are you missing? What do you need right now? Pay special attention to shifts in your thoughts. Look your loved ones in the eye and notice the emotions behind their words. Take a beat before responding to requests. Being present with those who are special to you or entrusted to your care is a gift to yourself.

Wrap. Take a moment to wrap someone in a hug (or text, email, phone call) Telling your bestie from 6th grade that you miss her or the cashier at the grocery store that you appreciate his hard work and service brightens the day for them and gives you a spring in your step as well. There’s something about saying it out loud that brings the goodwill back like a boomerang.

Send. You might have a list of Christmas card recipients—people near and far that you keep in touch with through an annual card or letter. Take it to the next level by sending positive vibes in your next meditation/prayer/message-to-the-universe. Sit for a few moments with thoughts of them—tap into your memories. Then let them know, when you write the card’s inner message, that you truly are thinking of them and wishing them well.

Donate. Offer. Do. Being in a position to give, whether time or money, creates warm feelings. You may have had a blessed life and can send funds to support organizations that help those in need. Or you may have experienced hardship and know, firsthand, how much even the smallest gesture makes a difference in comfort or relief. Send love to strangers and friends. Package it up as new warm socks, canned food, a ride, gas gift cards, a fully prepared and delivered meal, or an evening of childcare/eldercare. Keep your eyes and heart open to recognize a need and then find a way to fill it, and watch generosity expand for those around you.

Play. Recreation is not just for kids; you can learn a lot from playing. Laughter raises your endorphin levels and makes you more approachable, too. So sit on the floor for a game of checkers or ‘Go Fish’ or shoot some hoops in the driveway. Try a trampoline park or an iFly experience. Take in a slapstick movie or attend the local high school’s talent show—just have fun with ‘kids’ of any age!

Discover. When you attend those holiday parties, family or work-related, ask questions. Seek out one or two people you don’t know and spend a few minutes learning about what they do and who they are. It’s always great to make a new friend and you might just make a difference to someone by simply listening.

Honor Yourself. Take moments throughout the day to check in with yourself. Make sure you are attending to your own well-being so you have the stamina to be kind, loving and appreciative to others. Drink the water. Take the supplements. Guard your sleep time. Eat with intention. Breathe. Love…

A mindshift change to the way you approach the holidays just might be the greatest gift you give yourself and those you care for most. May your self-care be blessed this holiday season and beyond.