by Karen Kallie, www.livingenergyworks.com
Do you wonder how to fit the holidays into an already full schedule?
Perhaps you fret over how you can make this a time for joy, togetherness, peace and happiness instead of one filled with deadlines, commitments, unmet expectations and heightened stress. Give yourself the gift of creating a different experience!
As life gets busier and more complex, it is easy to feel a loss of control of both time and energy. Often we feel the obligation and responsibility attached to events rather than being able to relish the experience and take pleasure in the moment. Outside demands take precedence and we neglect to take care of ourselves.
How can you turn this around?
Begin by identifying what you need, and how much you can realistically give of your time, money, or energy. As you move through each day remain aware of your needs and ‘assets‘, emotional and otherwise. Notice when circumstances are becoming overwhelming and learn to say NO. Giving from an “empty cup” is a recipe for stress, resentment and blame toward others for taking too much. It is neither kind nor gracious and other people recognize this.
Take personal responsibility to maintain your energy level, schedule and balance
To do this effectively it may be necessary to look at the deeper roots of why self care is so difficult. Turn up the volume on the conversations that go on in your mind. We all have them…old messages & beliefs formed earlier in life. We usually are not aware that we carry perspectives that may be outdated, or that may be influencing our behavior in a negative way.
Some of these ’beliefs’ are probably good solid values. There are others that served you well at the time, but need revision to fit effectively into your current life. Discovering and honestly acknowledging what thoughts, attitudes and beliefs are behind over-commitment, hectic schedules and lack of time for yourself is one way to begin to design a stress-less holiday and a stress-less life!
It is important to recognize what needs your patterns may satisfy. Your needs are not wrong, but the way you are trying to meet them may be ineffective. Successful change requires releasing old habits and filling your needs in positive ways.
Creating more fulfilling choices for yourself comes from a clear recognition of how each choice affects your whole being. How different would your life be if you evaluated how your decisions affected your heart and mind before you made them? We often run our lives from our heads, from the world of ideas, concepts, shoulds, oughts and musts. Sit quietly with each decision you make and notice how your heart and mind respond to it. This process can be enlightening. When there is a conflict between the mind and heart, it is almost certain that you will experience stress and eventually a variety of difficulties will manifest in your health, relationships and performance.
We can create lives that we love. Creating change from the inside, by listening more closely to your heart, is the beginning. Try it this holiday season to bring more joy and less stress!
Seven Key Strategies for Stress-Less Holidays
- Define what it is that you want
- Take a few minutes to prioritize what is important to you.
- Make realistic timetables; delegate; eliminate; pad estimated time by 15%.
- Set up a plan to make sure you accomplish what you truly desire.
- Talk with family and friends, enlist their support, and poll them to see how they are willing to help.
- Keep your plan handy; look at it frequently to see if you are spending time doing things that help you toward your goals or if you are getting sidetracked.
- Look deeper at why you may be trying to do too much, please others, or remain forever busy and over committed.
Strategies that build and maintain energy
- Give yourself some quiet time to relax/meditate, connect more deeply with feelings of peace, love, beauty. This practice builds energy and allows you to remain focused in the moment. It becomes easier to not be carried off by the stress, multiple demands, old patterns, & expectations.
Daily meditation provides the space to develop the qualities of acceptance, inner peace and surrender. Development of these traits enables you to just let things be what they are instead of exerting futile effort trying to force events or people to be what you would prefer.
We all have idealistic pictures of things as they “should be“. Holidays aside, we do it in our daily lives. It just becomes more pronounced at Holiday time. The external world hardly ever matches inner expectations. We really do know this inwardly but resist, always hoping it can be different. If we learn to accept rather than resist, things have a funny way of working out and often better than we imagine!
- Get a massage. Relaxing the body can help the mind find ease. [Editors note: Check the IPPW member directory for massage therapists]
- Listen to music that relaxes you, makes you happy, picks up your energy while you are driving or doing mundane tasks. Also spend some time in silence, give yourself a break from constant input. Be aware of ‘aural hygiene‘. There is a lot of stimulation coming at us constantly. We can monitor this making sure we have more of what feeds our energy rather than depletes it or jangles our nerves.
- Decide how you can bring more peace and beauty into your life in small ways. Make a list and implement those ideas. Take charge of your every day environment so that it feeds your senses. Focus on bringing color, texture, aroma into your life. Move things around, change them frequently. As we acclimate, we no longer notice what’s around us.
- Change small things: the way you drive to work; the side of the bed you get up on; where you have lunch; HOW you have lunch. These changes will help to keep you more in the present and aware of the aliveness in each moment instead of slipping into numbness.
- Make it a priority to involve yourself in and enjoy all of your moments. Being present is a gift you can give to your SELF!