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We are letting our hair down and kicking up our heels. It’s that time of year, right?

It’s a time of celebration, having a bit too much kai and celebratory wines and enjoying prezzies. It’s a time to connect more with friends and whānau. I also love the summertime and abundance of summer fruits — it’s easy this time of year to follow the 5-a-day rule (ie five bits of veg and fruit daily). And who doesn’t love the fancy-free-kind-of feeling during December.

As 2018 draws to a close, it’s a reminder to reflect and celebrate on all your highs and epic achievements. Acknowledge those magic moments you’ve had. Feel incredible gratitude for these times.

This is mindfulness in action — celebrating the journey and enjoying the “now”. Learning to live in the moment is a gateway to feeling more happiness. This is something I share with clients on the Mindful Moments retreats that I lead.

Of course, there will also be some moments that were hard, real and raw for you too this year. Acknowledge those times as well.

We can learn, grow and strengthen from these tough times too. These times are part of the rich fabric of who we are. We all go through tough times — you are not alone.

Rachel is celebrating gratitude this Christmas. Photo / Supplied
Rachel is celebrating gratitude this Christmas. Photo / Supplied

For me, I’ve had some great moments. Among them high up on the list is seeing my kids, and wellness business, grow and thrive. For these things, I’m so grateful.

As for the tough times, a very loved family member was injured in an horrific, head-on car crash. Thank God they survived. I was also brought to my knees too when I lost a dear friend to suicide. The grief, anxiety and tears ripped my heart apart.

As Christmas draws near, I’m focusing on more genuine presence with the people I love, not presents. People are just so precious …

Three ways to have more presence
1. Listen. Truly listen to the words people say. Really get where they are at.
2. Be curious and ask questions. Sometimes it’s what people don’t say that can reveal more than they feel ready to say.
3. Look at the person when you speak with them and watch for their non-verbal cues. Sometimes people can go on auto-pilot with what they say. While, their body language can give further clues.

• Rachel is an award-winning writer, yoga and mindfulness teacher, coach, and she co-leads the Mindful Moments retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. You can find her blog on the website Follow Rachel via Facebook (InspiredHealthNZ) and Instagram (inspiredhealthandfitness)


If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


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Article originally published in The New Zealand Herald