I notice people get pretty quiet at this time of year, myself included. 2018 is winding down, and I think that makes most of us in a reflective place…. Thinking about our intentions, desires and values. We also might find ourselves more reactive, as this time of year stirs up some old patterns which may not serve us.
I wanted to give you some suggestions if you are also bracing yourself for the high emotions that can arise with this time of year. Perhaps you will find yourself at the receiving end of unsolicited advice, or maybe you are putting pressure on yourself to provide holiday magic for others at the expense of your own sanity. I also think the biggest stress humans today can face is when there is a gap between what they expected, and what actually happens. The bigger the gap, the bigger the stress. And what we have the least amount of control over, is the actions of others. If we can let that part go, we will all be a lot happier!
I want you to know however, that despite putting the following suggestions into practise myself, it hasn’t immunized me from misbehaviour of those who are triggered by my life choices. BUT, it does give me tremendous peace that at the end of the day, knowing by following these four practices, I will have the luxury of looking back on my life with minimal or no regrets.
#1: Put your partnerships first
This includes your relationship with your children. They come first, only next to the person you do life with. That could be your spouse, your mother, your best friend – whoever. It is the person you call first when you have big news. Your primary attachment figure, if you will. Invest in those relationships by choosing compassion, remembering to see through their eyes, and communicating your challenges from a position of love. Choose LOVE. Even communicating boundaries CAN be done with empathy, allowing difficult conversations to actually strengthen the connection of the parties involved. With you, your children, your best friend or spouse.
#2: Presence over presents
Please stop scrambling and stressing. Remember what this time if year is intended to represent, and REPRESENT. Opening presents is scientifically proven to be stressful for children. Part of this is due to the pressure we put on ourselves to buy/make all this stuff, and then we expect our kids to behave like little adults, when in reality we are overstimulating them and disconnecting from them. We yank them out of their routines, we impose transition after transition, we feed them all the things, and then we berate them when they misbehave. What our kids want most, is our attention, our joy and our unconditional love. If you can choose connection over excess, this will give you those magical memories you are truly seeking, and avoid unnecessary drama.
#3: It is ok to say no… and to ask quality questions!
I am a big fan of this one! Particularly at this time of year, don’t over-commit yourself. What is most important to you? What do you really want, and how do you want to feel? What energy do you want more of, and what can you do without? If you could fast-forward to your final days on earth, what do you want to be able to say about how you lived your life? These are the questions I am always asking myself that allow me to hone in on where to focus my time.
People are often asking me how I “do it all” and truly, I don’t! I say no A LOT. This year, we have said no to travelling around to visit others, but instead having a judgement free zone in our home. I have let go of perfection for myself, and for others. I received some amazing job opportunities recently that I have also said no to. I am confident in this season and confident that life will evolve, but for now I say “no” so that I can say a bigger “yes” to my family. Our ego can be our biggest enemy, particularly around this time of year. I have seen time and time again, how over-doing it and being afraid of others perceptions only creates MORE mess. Let it go.
#4: Have grace
If a relative asks you about how your baby is sleeping, or when you plan to go back to the gym, breathe. It is best to assume positive intent, and reply with confidence. Have a short response in your back pocket so that you can reply confidently, and move on. My favourite is, “Thank you, we appreciate your concern. Right now we are feeling really positive about where we are at.” followed up immediately with a question about THEM, “How was that book you were reading?” or “Dinner smells amazing, is that a new recipe you are trying?”.
Receiving gifts is another opportunity to practise grace, and I wrote all about that here: Accepting Gifts With Grace
When I was a first time mom of a high-needs baby, the stress of that transition turned me into quiet the lioness when it came to my baby. I literally wanted extended family to read the books I read, and I had a three page document for babysitting. I even had strict ideas about the gifts we were to receive and tried to micro-manage that! As a more seasoned parent, I have lost the dogma and look at different perspectives with respect. Have grace with others, and also with yourself. We are all on our journeys, we can choose to look through grateful eyes, love and forgive ourselves and others. We can avoid using gossip as a bonding tool, and we can decide not to take how someone else behaves personally. This does not mean we allow others to treat us poorly, but rather, we refuse to make it about US. If you must ruminate, try to do it with someone who will strengthen your higher self. I am happy to be that person.
All of this to say, as much as I serve others, I am still learning. There is a good reason for how and why I ended up doing the work that I do, and that is because I have been there, and I am STILL “there”, in the trenches of parenting little ones. In fact, I was recently gifted with an opportunity to share with you, a beautiful resource, “The Growing Forward Journal,” to mindfully build resilience! I thought I would give it to you as a solstice gift! I know for me, I am struggling with the knowledge of all that winter ahead of me, my husbands long work hours, and day in and day out homeschooling. This e-book is exactly what I need right now, and I hope it serves you well too!
You can download your FREE eJournal on mindful growth here and you’ll also save a FREE seat for the Mindful World Parenting Summit happening January 21-27, 2019!
I hope this post today gifts you with not only these powerful tools, but with perspective, hope, peace and strength. You totally got this, and remember that you are never alone. Happy holidays!
p.s. Have you grabbed The DREAM Life recipe e-book yet? You still can!
Remember that food matters! Keeping your brain and body fuelled is my favourite insurance policy for health and happiness EVERYday, but especially during this emotionally intense time of year.