Baker Schena Communications

Unleashing Your Potential through the Power of Words

Give Yourself a Present: Live in the Present

Be present in all things and thankful for all things. – Maya Angelou

Are you having a tough time feeling the “ho, ho, ho” of the holidays? For a season that is supposed to produce instantaneous joy, many of us find the holidays a particularly anxious and sad time of the year. And I am not talking about the stress of finding Aunt Sally that perfect sweater.

For those of us who have lost a family member, whether recently or long ago, the holidays can be especially tough. The end of a relationship, a miserable job, an impending layoff, a decline in health, money issues – these can also suck the joy right out of the holiday.

I know this challenge intimately. From the death of loved ones to a miserable job to precarious health, all have threatened to cast a shadow on what otherwise should be a fun-filled holiday.

With all this loss and pain, how can one possibly feel joy during this time of year?

For me, the answer is very clear: CHOOSE to live in the present.

And here is how you do that: Gather all of the loss that you are experiencing right now, and place the emotions/feelings in a virtual box. If you broke up with a significant other, place the sadness in a box. If you lost a family member, place the pain in a box. If you are crazed by your job, place the stress in a box. If you are experiencing health issues, place the anxiety and fear in a box.

And tuck the box away in your mind.

As you go about your holiday festivities, be very present – and thankful – for each moment. Keep your pain in the virtual boxes – no peeking allowed. Give yourself permission to feel joy for all that you have today, and gratitude that you actually possess the ability to feel joy. Relish the customs of the season, and make it a point to make NEW traditions surrounded by people who love you.

And every so often, unwrap your virtual box and look inside. CONSCIOUSLY spend some time acknowledging the loss, the sadness, the grief and the fear. And then PUT IT AWAY. These challenges aren’t going anywhere – but don’t let them ruin the potential for a memorable holiday. Repeat as necessary as you navigate the season, making a conscious choice to find joy in the present – no matter your burdens.

I encourage you to cherish the present, because one day it will be your past.  It is a wonderful gift to yourself.

 Dr. Lori Baker-Schena is the founder and chief executive officer of Baker Schena Communications, a firm dedicated to “Unleashing Your Potential Through the Power of Words.” We offer motivational speaking, leadership consulting and medical writing services. Find us at