Everything Doesn't Have to Be Big! Giving yourself Space to Create a Joyful Holiday Month Without the Overwhelm
This is time of year when so many of us are pushed and pulled in a variety of directions. We put huge expectations on ourselves to create a perfect holiday for our families. We are often trying to fit in a weeks worth of work when we only have a few days and then we end up running on fumes and fanning our anxiety flames. I get caught in this cycle too and this is the first year that I am intentionally planning how to take back this holiday month and reclaim the joyful spirit that I so want to share with my family and community.
How am I going to do this? Through planning and a deep commitment to self care, meaningful connections and small heartfelt rituals. Planning helps me really see how much time I have, paired with what is truly needed and important. I do by taking my weekly calendar and putting in all the work related time that I HAVE to do. I can then see clearly what chunks of time are free for me to do the other pieces I really need and want to do. I write all my needs and desires and then order them by priority. Some may not get done and that is ok. Give yourself the space to let go.
This month I know I need time each day for self care, which may be 10 minutes of meditation, getting in a walk in nature with a friend, reading a good book, doing yoga having a date with my partner etc. So I put those into my weekly and monthly planner. The other piece that is important at this time of year is to think about how I can make simple heartfelt gifts or give my time to others in need. The anxiety around money this time of year can skyrocket so be gentle with yourself and prioritize what is truly needed and what you can do that feels good.
Making gifts takes time but I love it. So thinking about what I CAN do and putting that into my planner will allow me to see what is possible or not. If it starts feeling overwhelming I might have to simplify so that I don’t overwhelm myself. We can’t do it all and that is ok. I might only have time to give to one charity and so be it. The gifts I give may be super simple like a baked good and a card inviting a friend to coffee in the months to come.
EVERYTHING DOSEN’T HAVE TO BE BIG!
The other piece that is paramount for me is creating small rituals of celebration with my daughter and partner. This year we are doing a gratitude tree. Each day we write one thing we are grateful for on a piece of paper and hang it on a branch we found in our yard. We light candles and create joyful spaces in our home. We also like to do simple acts of kindness for those less fortunate. You can do one thing or many. What feels doable?
If you are in a place where money is a real issue and you are feeling overwhelmed please email me your story so that I can put you on my giving list. May we all support each other in bringing joy and light back into our families, community and world through loving action.
As I sit here on this rainy morning with coffee in hand I am sitting with lots of emotions coming from myself and from those close to me. We are all processing so much emotionally and mentally that is can be overwhelming so I wanted to reach out to everyone of you and say I hear and feel you. Are you an educator who is not only having to work through your own feelings but those of your students? Or are you business owner or employee who is still having to go throughout your day and keep the flow of business moving, yet feeling drained emotionally and mentally? Or are you a parent who is trying to help and empower your children process everything that is going on? Try to give space for yourself to work through your own emotions. We can get bogged down and it can feel overwhelming.
So today I want to share with you an active concept that I use with students, and with my daughter, but can be done by anyone. The concept is part meditation, part observation and part connecting and it called Finding Your Sit Spot. I first came across this concept in what is now my”bible” called Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature by John Young, Evan McGown and Ellen Haas. The idea is to find a spot that you can easily access on a daily or at least a weekly basis, a spot in or around nature that is quiet and calm. You may know just the spot or it may take some exploring to find it which is a beautiful part of the process. I also will bring a journal with me where I can write or doodle whatever I feel like I want to do. Sometimes I just sit in silence.
The idea is to find and visit this spot frequently. This can be something you do for your lunch break, before your work day starts or after it ends depending on when the sun is setting. Once you find your spot, you will want to give yourself at least 10 minutes to just be in the space, taking deep breaths, closing your eyes and feeling your body sitting solidly on the ground. I will also do a body scan while I do this.
What is that? It is when while you are focusing on your breath you imagine the breaths going into the different parts of your body to relax you. So you would start with your head, work down your neck to your shoulders, to your heart and then down your spine, going out into your arms and then down into your legs. At this point you can open your eyes and slowly scan the space around you. This is when I journal if I decide to.
What are you noticing? What is different than the last time? What questions or feeling are coming up?
When we write about these they bring them from weighing ourselves down to giving it a container in which it can reside and then be looked at later if needed. I will also draw or doodle, if that makes more sense or is what I am drawn to. When doing this with students it is a great way to do weekly poetry or science observations too.
I always remember when I was young and would come into my parents room when I had a bad dream my Dad would ask me to tell him about it because he said it would get it out of my head and it wouldn't come back to me that night. For me this was true and as I got older I would write them down which seemed to do the same thing. And now doing this in nature which can be so healing has allowed me to work with all of my emotions in a more constructive way.
Observing the patterns of nature, being on her ground, feeling the wind, hearing the birds and animals can help put our questions into perspective and sometimes allow us to see answers that we couldn’t before. It connects us and grounds us so we can communicate and hold space for ourself and those around us.