Thursday, 20 December 2018

Mindful last minute gifts for colleagues

It’s the season of goodwill and tradition goes that we shower our friends and loved ones with gifts to show our appreciation and affection
When we exchange gifts, it is more about the thought that goes into the giving, rather than the gift itself. This is more often true in the workplace, where it is commonplace to give token gestures rather than the larger gifts we share with friends and family.

Thoughtful giving comes from a practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is not a new concept. It’s a tried and tested technique that helps us gain perspective and regain control during periods of stress. It has been shown to improve wellbeing, reduce stress and make us happier.

The concept of giving and receiving gifts is closely tied to compassion, love, and gratitude. When you give someone a gift, no matter how big or small, you’re showing them that you care.  When we talk about mindful gifts, it’s about the thinking behind why we’re giving and choosing something that it truly meaningful for your colleague.

In a work situation, there are a couple of golden rules when it comes to buying gifts for your colleagues. These include not giving overly personal gifts and respecting price limits on gift exchanges. It’s also worth remembering that the gifts you choose say as much about you as they do your colleagues, so avoid anything too political or cheeky. The great news is that these boundaries lend themselves to more mindful gift giving.

In a team situation, gestures of goodwill work really well and are great for strengthening relationships. Think about what you could do that would make their working life easier, for example, covering extra shifts, making the coffee for a week or committing to finish your reports earlier.  Handwritten cards with personal messages that convey your appreciation for others are also a great way of building connections with your colleagues. There’s some fascinating research about how effective gifts are in helping us to form stronger bonds with people and boost morale. You can read more about it in this article on   

One of the best gifts you can give your colleagues this festive season is to be kind to yourself. We are pulled in so many directions over Christmas that it takes a resilient person to not feel pressured or stressed by what they have to do. Failing to nurture yourself over the holidays means that you are not giving your best self at work – and that impacts on your co-workers. Be mindful of your own moods in the run up to Christmas – you cannot give to others if you have nothing left to give. Make a pact with yourself to be fully present at important meetings – despite the additional pressures on your time and energy – and set aside time when you can fully appreciate your co-workers, perhaps at office drinks.

Whatever you decide, remember that when it comes to gift giving – be it friends, family or coworkers – it really is the thought that counts.

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