I received a newsletter in my inbox last week from Renee Trudeau with a message telling me to slow down. Alright, it wasn’t really telling me personally to slow down, but it offered words of encouragement during this stressful time of the year. Sure enough, I have been reading this newsletter often to remind myself that it’s ok to say no, to prioritize, and to make the holiday season what it’s supposed to be: a joyful one. I thought that I should share the article with you in hopes that it will help you to take it a little slower to savor this time of year. Thanks, Renee, for allowing us to share!
The other day I was shopping for groceries when a happy clerk wearing an elf hat stopped me and asked, “So what is Santa bringing you this year?” He stumped me.
Between supporting my husband through a longer-than-expected job search, being on stand-by to come help welcome our newest family member and working with my team to coordinate logistics for all our spring events , I’ve been a bit busy. But it’s here again–that time of year that brings up opportunities for mind-blowing joy and surprise visits from ghosts of the past.
While the holiday season is a favorite time of year for some, this upcoming stretch can also be incredibly stressful, emotionally-taxing and just plain exhausting for many of us. (There is a reason the rates of depression and suicide skyrocket in December and January). Before you swing into disequilibrium, pause. And consider the following:
5 Tips for Enhancing Harmony this Holiday Season:
1) Approach the holidays intentionally: If you were to set an intention or theme for the holiday season what would it be? What do you most want to experience this time of year? Rest and relaxation (and lots of unscheduled downtime)? Spiritual reflection and renewal? Connection and sharing with close friends? Deeper or more meaningful exchanges with family? Creative expression (whether that’s through making things for others, singing or decorating)? Giving or volunteering to help those in pain or in need? What activities or choices might you make to support this intention? What do you need to let go?
2) Release expectations –particularly around family: What if you showed up at family holiday gatherings–whether you’re hosting the get-together or not–with the idea that this might be the last time you’d ever see your family members? How might you treat them? Do you think some of your expectations might change around how they should treat you, interact with one another or behave at group gatherings? Would your language or tone change while you were together? Would you initiate long overdue conversations? Express your love or gratitude for their presence in your life?
3) Schedule time for self-care NOW! What do you need to nurture yourself–emotionally and physically–during this period? Maybe more exercise, protein-rich foods, emotional support from a close friend or mentor, taking an afternoon off for a solo date or just lightening your schedule so you can build in a 20-minute rest period between errands? I recommend you schedule time for yourself just like you would schedule a doctor’s appointment. (Read more about this theme from The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life by Renee Trudeau; download a free chapter here. ) One of my favorite quotes is, “Self care is not about self-indulgence. It’s about self-preservation.” Audre Lorde
4) Say yes to what feeds you and no to what doesn’t: Check out the Nine Ways to Say No list for support on becoming more comfortable drawing boundaries. I like to ask myself “Is this something I really want to do–something that would feed me–or am I doing this because I think I should?” Actor Larry Eisenberg summed it up: “For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the Universe.”
5) Slow down and practice living in the present: The shopping will get done and you’ll make it to the meaningful holiday activities that are important to you. The question is, how do you want to feel while accomplishing these things? Stress comes from living in (or having thoughts about) the past or the future. Right here, right now, in this moment–there is no stress. Breathe. Slow down. And read more about this theme in Being Present and Remembering What Really Matters from The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal.
Before you enter this holiday season, think about last year: what worked and what didn’t work? Then, I challenge you: slow down, do less, attune and respond to your needs, say no to activities that don’t feed you, make choices that support your emotional and physical well-being, keep it simple and, when in doubt, practice self-kindness and be easy on yourself. You’ll be surprised by how many people around you will follow your lead.
P.S. For those of you that are like me and avoid the mall at all costs, consider giving friends and loved ones a gift certificate for a self-care service or professional/personal growth opportunity. Thoughtful, from-the-heart and life-transformative, here are some favorites from our career and life balance coaching team:
A gift certificate to our Jan. 14 Career Strategy Workshop- great for anyone in career transition and/or considering a career change. Or if you have a friend or family member who is self-employed and ready to work less and make more, consider signing them up for The Empowered Entrepreneur Workshop on Saturday, Feb. 19.
* Registration for one of our three upcoming Women’s Self-Renewal Retreats; (mothers & daughters and best friends love attending this together!).
* A gift certificate for personalized Career or Life Coaching Strategy Sessions (one-one-one coaching support with an award-winning Career Strategist senior career, life or small business coach). Read more about our services.
* Send a copy (or two) of the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life to the women in your life that are interested in giving birth to the best that is within them and focusing on their self-care. Ideal for women at all life stages. Learn more: Special Holiday offers .
* Do you have a friend or family member who is a professional coach, therapist/counselor, doula or women’s empowerment advocate that wants to lead women’s circles and grow their small business? Send them a gift certificate to become a Trained Personal Renewal Group Facilitator ($399 for a limited time!).
Renee Peterson Trudeau is a career/life coach, speaker and author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She is the president of Austin-based Career Strategists. Thousands of women around the globe are meeting in Personal Renewal Groups which are based on the Guide. Trudeau has been featured in Family Circle, AARP,the New York Times and more. You can order your personal copy of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life or learn more about attending one of Renee’s self-renewal workshops or retreats here.
Photo credit here.