That time is here. The time of year when are already busy lives become a bit busier, our full weeks become a bit fuller and if we are honest our short fuses can become a bit shorter. It is hard enough to keep your life in a balanced place during “regular” (if there is such a thing) times of the year but add on the demands of the holidays and it’s possible for things to become overwhelming. Here are a few quick things to remember going into this season.
1 – Be aware of where you are vulnerable to more imbalance.
Where are you currently stretched? Is it work, home, relationships, self-care? The areas that are already either over-extended or places of tension can become weak spots. Awareness of what those areas are can help you show yourself more grace during the holidays should they come under additional pressure.
2 – Quiet your self-doubt.
You are enough. As schedules change, social and family expectations increase and the social media comparison race starts, just know that you are enough and let that inner critic know it can take a holiday.
3- Know what you can change or control.
You can control 2 things for sure; your effort and your attitude. Events and situations only have the meaning you assign to them so if you are beginning to feel out of balance, focus on these areas. You have the ability to reframe your thinking. Here is a simple one. Start sentences with “I get to ___.” Vs. “I have to _____.” I get to go to the neighborhood Christmas Party feels really different than I have to.
4- Watch your train of thoughts.
If you hop on the train it can take you places you might not want to go. This is especially true when your mood is low or you are feeling overwhelmed. When you are feeling stretched, and that thought comes through, let it pass on down the track before you hop on and take a ride.
5- Avoid going into Fix-it overdrive
Ask yourself, “Do I need to fix this?” “Is this my problem to fix?” or “What happens if I let this go?”
6- Take Breaks and treat yourself in a healthy way
Pushing through rarely helps us stay in a place of health and balance. Take a break. It doesn’t have to be long and it doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you are trying to stay in a healthy state. And treat yourself along the way in healthy ways. If you take a quiet moment, you will know what you need as a pick me up.
7 – Live from your values
What is truly important to you? When you don’t really live out of your true values, you often experience internal conflict, stress or dissatisfaction. Use your values as an anchor to move into the holiday season. External motivations are often what make us most unhappy and they tend to not work. Internal motivations on the other hand tend to come from our values. So ask yourself, “If I pursue this option, would it be in alignment with my values?” When we function from external pressures or start playing the comparison game next thing you know we are investing energy in thing that don’t matter to us. If they matter to you do them! If they don’t then . . .
8 – Let go of the guilt –
This one likes to hang out with your self-doubt. Send them both on a trip until late January. Guilt is to be in place for when you do something wrong. But we often let it creep in to other places. Let go of your borrowed beliefs. If you want to do something and feel it is undeserved, ask who says so? If you feel guilty because you have not done something ask who says you need to do it. Respect your own judgement and circle back to your values. This is really about managing expectations and investing in the things that matter to you and those that mean the most to you.
9 – Protect your joy
Joy and happiness are wonderful to experience but are very different feelings. Joy is a more consistent state and is cultivated internally. It comes when you make peace with who you are, why you are and how you are. Happiness tends to be externally triggered and is based on other people, things, places, thoughts and events. While we hope the events of the holidays bring much happiness, but sure that through the highs and lows you protect your joy.
10 – Own your greatness
Your greatness not someone else’s. People need you to bring YOU to the holidays this year. Step into your greatness, whatever that looks like, and walk in it.