Take a deep breath and repeat after me – “I will relax and delight in the holidays this year.” (Perhaps it would be a good idea to repeat this little mantra three or four times – especially if the idea sounds ludicrous or you feel like the woman in this photo.)
The craziness that overtakes us in the United States between Thanksgiving and New Years is the stuff of legend and cliché. We eat too much. We buy too much. We commit ourselves to too many social events. We set Martha Stewart expectations for ourselves. (even though we don’t have access to her multi-media empire or enormous staff – hardly fair!) And we make mile-long to-do lists that only stand a snowball’s chance in you know where of being accomplished if we commit to making due with a mere three or four hours of sleep a night. Baking and shopping and wrapping – Oh My!
As we take on more and more, we may find ourselves anything but jolly. In fact, we may feel a bit more like tripping anyone so much as resembling an elf if they get in our way during our frantic errand running. (Unless it’s David Sedaris, reading his Santaland Diaries – God love him!)
Allow me to share three small steps that may help you loosen your death grip on the reins as you gallop headlong into the holidays.
1. Give Yourself Permission. Permission to say no, to do less, to breathe more, to lighten up, to curl up in your favorite chair and watch your favorite Christmas movie from beginning to end – not while addressing envelopes, or wrapping presents or baking cookies, but while simply sitting on your tuckus, wrapped in last year’s Snuggie from Aunt Bertha (come on, you know you love it) while drinking a cup of hot cocoa or tea or toddy. (your choice!) It may help to say this out loud or write it down in your calendar – “I hereby give myself permission to…insert something here that will delight you.” If you find if too difficult to do for yourself, perhaps it will help if you receive a more “official” permission. So, allow me to give you permission (as I do for my creativity coaching clients).
"I, Jill Allison Bryan, creativity coach (trained and certified by the official Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching program), and founder and head chica-in-charge of Creative Oasis Coaching, hereby give you permission to… insert something here that will delight you.”
2. Let Go & Visualize. Take a look at your holiday to-do list. (I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume that it’s very long, and has quite a few things that you’re really not looking forward to doing on it.) Now, find a nice red pen and cross something off that list. Just one thing. (for the moment) Next close your eyes and imagine that you're holding a large red balloon, written across it is the thing that you just marked off your list. Let the balloon go. Watch it deflate and fly away. (now would be a great time to take another deep breath) Visualize how nice it will be to not feel that pressure/dread/stress that this “to-do” item was going to cause you. (You didn’t really need to make three different desserts for that party anyway, did you?) If that felt good, and relatively painless, perhaps you can let go of one small thing a day during the season in this same way. (or every other day…small steps ☺)
3.Give Yourself the Gift of Five Minutes. Each day, allow yourself just five minutes to do something that brings you true seasonal joy. Read a favorite holiday book with your kids. Light a candle and let yourself be hypnotized by it for a few moments of relaxation and unplugged joy. Print a coloring page off the Internet and color…with crayons or markers or pencils…color outside the lines if you feel like it. See if you can take a full five minutes to eat one single Christmas cookie. You may be surprised how that short span of time can re-energize you for the rest of the day. (There are 1,440 minutes in each day – you can spare just 5 of them for yourself!) If you're feeling really generous, give yourself the gift of a free 30 minute introductory creativity coaching session with me. (Sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
That’s it. Three simple ways to help relieve a little of the pressure we often put on ourselves this time of year. I promise I’ll join you in trying to cut myself some slack in the days and weeks ahead. First up - five minutes with a cup of hot peppermint tea and a book. Ahhhh.... Remember your mantra, “I will relax and delight in the holidays this year.”
All the best from my creative holiday oasis to yours,
p.s. - In the spirit of the season, I'm offering a special Creative Oasis Coaching coaching package through the end of the year - Six One-on-One Creative Life Coaching Sessions for the Price of Four. (you save $150) Schedule to begin now, or after the first of the year. A great gift idea for the struggling creative in your life - or split it with a friend and enjoy three session each. Contact me at email@example.com for more information today.