Winter Fuel:  How Presence is more than Presents…

Winter Fuel: How Presence is more than Presents…

I spent yesterday with my dad. We were loading the wheelbarrow with logs and stacking near the house, ready for the imminent cold snap.

This time two months ago, we weren’t even sure if we’d see his smile or hear his crazy sense of humour ever again. He’d spent 10 days in an induced coma and each time they tried to extubate him, he couldn’t breathe on his own.

To be outside with him, discussing the merits of various log shapes may seem simple, but it truly was a gift. The edgy, rational “do some work” part of my brain was shouting. But, focussing my attention on my dad and natural surroundings, it quietened.

Time with people really is something you can’t buy and you certainly can’t make up for if you miss. Our need for social connection is viewed by our brain, as important as our need for basic survival items, like food and water (Rock, 2018) so it’s not surprising that we feel so low when we feel like we are not getting enough.

This festive season, before you rush out buying gifts for those you love, what else could you do to show that love?

We all have a need to give and receive attention – each person will of course vary on quantity, but the basic need is there. It we are not getting the right balance, it can lead to a feeling that something is missing.

  • I wonder what time you could give?
  • Who would you give it to?
  • What would they appreciate?
  • And…what would really feel like a fuel injection to them?

Maybe you give enough already. In this case, actually, the gift of presence needs to be to yourself. Give yourself some time. We all have an innate emotional need for privacy. To explain, that is; spending time alone to consolidate and reflect.

If you have spent the year giving to others, whether that be through your work or personal endeavours, you may be feeling like you need to escape. This is perfectly natural. Find yourself some space – even if it is in short bursts, it will still be beneficial to your wellbeing. It is particularly important over the festive period, when houses are full of people, and relationships are prone to strain. Protect yourself and your family by taking a little time for self-care.

  • What are the things you like to do on your own?
  • When did you last do those?
  • How much time could you carve out for yourself?

Take a look at the other emotional needs we have (as defined by the Human Givens Institute) and read more on the importance of social interaction (Rock 2008).

Sheela Hobden

Sheela Hobden is a Coach at bluegreen Coaching.  Following her own mental health battles, she now coaches individuals, runs training sessions and speaks at conferences.  She has a real passion for helping medics and healthcare professionals take as much care of themselves as they do their patients in whatever life or career conundrums they face!  She is also a Mentor Coach and Coach Supervisor. She has a PGCERT in Business and Personal Coaching, holds PCC member status with the ICF and is CIPD qualified. She challenges herself with ultra distance running and Ironman.  Find her at or swimming in the sea, in Poole, Dorset

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