Tis Is the Season…For a #RealBreak and a Cup of Nostalgia

  • 24 December 2016
  • sjanicke

Whereas some of us dread the holiday seasons because of too much family time, others are looking forward to it. Regardless, we tend to be still very busy during the holiday time. And sometimes, we make ourselves busy because we don’t know what to do with the sudden “downtime” we have over the holidays. That in of itself is a symptom of the digital age in which we live in.

Life is more digital and faster than ever before. 70% of smartphone users check their phones first thing when they wake up and 56% use it within an hour of going to bed (LINK). We feel unproductive just being with ourselves but research shows that these “unproductive” times are crucial for our productivity, imagination and ultimately well-being. 

When was the last time you read an actual book for fun? When was the last time you went for a walk without checking your phone? When was the last time you prepared a meal with your family, baked cookies together, played a card game together or crafted something? Think back about Christmas 20- or 30 years ago. How did you celebrate then? And how did it make you feel back then compared to now?

Nostalgia, defined as thinking about the positive (or negative) times in the past, has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom, and anxiety according to research. It makes life more meaningful and even death less frightening. Research even shows that nostalgic feelings (sometimes elicited through music for example) makes people feel warmer physically. Who would have thought that! Maybe you want to trade the one or other hot chocolate with a cup full of nostalgia.

Christmas time for me is always a time of nostalgia and it helps me and my family to keep the Christmas celebration as similar as possible as we use to celebrated it 25 years ago: The singing of Christmas songs together, the “performance” before we open presents, the “pretend to have seen Santa” game and the food we keep the same every year (simple potato salad with baguette and goose on the 25th; I get a veggie version of this now:)). The phone stays on the shelf for Christmas eve. Pictures are taken once or twice but other than that, it is “disconnect to reconnect” time.

With the research about nostalgia and digital overload, it makes sense that Christmas time for me is indeed a “holy jolly” time.

So, you may like or not like your family, but if you want to give yourself a real present this Christmas season, take a #RealBreak, unplug from your technology and reconnect with your loved the old school way. Think about the old days and see if you can recreate some of that. Or use technology to reconnect. Play online games together, laugh over silly pictures you take, but do it in a way that connects rather than isolates. The world keeps spinning even if we don’t check twitter for a day. But the time we don’t connect with our loved ones is a time we will never get back.

Create yourself the Holiday you want to have.

Happy Holidays to you all!