Tips For Getting Off the Holiday Treadmill

This season, let’s look up and behold the beauty of the here and now.  Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Journal

Thanksgiving in the USA is just three weeks away. For some of us, Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season with Christmas or Hanukkah and then New Years nipping at our heels. Are you looking forward to the season or dreading it? Especially this time of year, it’s easy to get on a treadmill—hustling toward what’s next rather than enjoying what’s present. 

Here are a few questions to consider that might help you to get off the treadmill and, once again, enjoy the season. First, decide what is important to you. Some folks thrive on the “busyness” and, even though they complain, they actually love the craziness of the season. Decide how you want this end-of-the-year to look. What works for you?

To help you realize your vision, consider what’s really important in order for you and your family to have a beautiful, meaningful season. In the age of social media, are cards still viable? Do the kids/grands really need more stuff or would lessons, events, or other non-tangibles be more meaningful? How much is enough when it comes to decorating? How many cookies do you really need to bake? If you’ve recently experienced a loss, how will you take care of yourself during this season? To whom will you confide if you need help? Having the time and energy to spend with the people you love may be the greatest gift—to you and to them.

Affirmation: I have the power to be present during the holidays.

Coaching questions: How do you feel when you honestly answer the questions above—-relieved,  guilty, desperate, selfish, sad? What can you do to remain present this year?

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Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

What’s Your Bitter-Sweet Story?

I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending. Fred Rogers

I know New Year is on the horizon but if feels like the joy, beauty, busy-ness, stress, over-eating of the holidays is mostly over. Tomorrow we’re heading home to Florida to re-enter our normal life. I’ve loved the familiar story of the holiday season as we now know it. I’ve adjusted to not seeing my biological family on Christmas Day and enjoy spending that time with my step-kids, grands, and great-grands. I’m still not quite accepting of not being able to host Christmas as I did for most of my life but I appreciate the adult children who have graciously stepped up to the task. 

Endings are bitter sweet. Saying good-bye to those I love who I only see once or twice a year, leaving behind that sweet great-grand baby in the photo who we will barely recognize the next time we see her is difficult. But, I’m looking forward to returning to our beautiful home, warm weather, sunshine, dear friends, and a myriad of activities I love. 

Affirmation: I embrace the bitter sweetness of endings.

Coaching questions: What is the story of your holiday season? Are you ready for the familiar ending? What are you excited about in 2019? 

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Peace To The World

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. Agnes M. Pharo, author

On this Christmas morning, I truly hope that someday every path will lead to peace. For Christians the world over, today has significance beyond the gifts and glitter. Jesus’ birth and life are about love—God’s love for His creation.

Although it is a sad, even heart-breaking, day for many, I hope, Dear Readers, you will find a slice of love and joy in your life today. Please know that if you’re grieving, sad, or lonely— I’m thinking of you and I’m wishing you a Very Blessed Christmas!

Affirmation: Someone cares about me.

Coaching questions: What will you do to acknowledge your sadness while celebrating joy in the world? This is one day out of 365. What will tomorrow be like? 

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From my house to yours, Merry Christmas!

Exchanging Perfection for Good-Enough

More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate. Roy T Bennett, author

Are you striving to replicate the perceived “perfect” Christmas of your childhood for your grand children? Perhaps you want to impress your in-laws or not be judged by them. Maybe good-enough just doesn’t measure up to your personal desire to control the situation and make everything exactly right. 

It’s that time of the month to ask yourself, “What can I let go of?” Do I really have to make Aunt Susie’s rum balls? Who will I disappoint if I don’t? Accept the reality of not pleasing everyone so you can take care of yourself during this busy time. Loosen your attachment to an idealized past and create a good-enough holiday. Yourself will thank you and so will your children or grandchildren when you’re present for them and not a stress-out mess!

Affirmation: I can accept good-enough.

Coaching questions: If you’re stressed out right now, consider what you might delete from your activities, menu, gift-giving. What does a good-enough holiday look like?

Finding the Stillness Inside

In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you. Deepak Chopra, author

Sunday is the beginning of Advent (also the beginning of Hanukkah for my Jewish friends). For Christians, the next twenty-four days are a time of preparation for the birth of Christ. In our culture “preparation” means baking, card writing, gift shopping, decorating, parties.

Preparation can also be a time of giving to those less fortunate–those in need of our money, our time, our love and comfort. For me, preparation is also a time to “be still and know” in the midst of movement and chaos. To help me achieve this, I’m reading Love Came Down by Janice Wilhelm, a daily advent devotional. I want to just “be” for a few minutes every day during this season of hustle and bustle. 

Affirmation: I can be still.

Coaching question: How are you preparing for Christmas? What helps you keep stillness inside? How will you orchestrate moments of stillness during this busy time of preparation? 

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