Does the thought of hanging Christmas lights and attending holiday work parties make you want to grab your sleeping bag and run for the nearest cave? This year many of us have felt overscheduled, overworked and we rarely got the chance to unplug. We navigated career and life transitions and had little time to integrate the changes. We’re ready for rest. Not a relaxed evening by the fire, but a serious stretch of lazy days, long naps, walks in the woods, deep nourishing slumber and joyful, easy, simple connections with friends and family who feed us emotionally and spiritually. What we need in the coming weeks is not the latest iPad or a shopping trip, but permission to do nothing.
But with the holidays, all the activity and invitations, what’s a person to do? I challenge you to take the road less traveled and take a radical stand for what you most need this year. Consider the following five ideas:
- Schedule downtime now. Block out periods on your calendar for “dedicated relaxation,” where your only job is to rest. Make it a priority and schedule now so you can honor your commitment to deep to-the-bones self-renewal.
- Just say no. Decide what’s most important to you and let everything else go. If it’s not absolutely yes then it’s a no. Check out the 9 Ways to Say No list from my book, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life.
- Ask for help. Give yourself permission to ask for and receive help whether it’s cooking, gift giving, socializing or hosting family. Be willing to let go of tradition for the sake of enhanced emotional well-being. This way you can create more space for yourself and your family to just “be.”
- Do less to experience more. We create stress when we cram too much into our schedules and then try to control everything we’re juggling. Do you really need to chop down your own Christmas tree, make your mom’s famous stained glass cookies and host your husband’s department dinner? Do less, so you can experience more.
- Unplug and spend time in nature. I call nature the ultimate antidepressant and re-set button. If anyone in my family is exhausted or out of sorts, off to the greenbelt we go. Being in nature offers nourishment and renewal on the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental levels. It’s a powerful, restorative and healing force. Use it!
There is an innate push and pull that many of us feel during the winter season. As the winter solstice approaches – the longest night of the year – our natural rhythms are calling us to slow down, reflect, go inward and contemplate where we’ve been and where we want to go. (Think of our friends the bears, they’ve got it right!)
I challenge you: do it differently this season. If the call to making rest and renewal a priority resonates with you this holiday, make it #1 for yourself and for your family. Then, you can bound — instead of crawl – into 2014 fully present, refreshed and ready for the New Year.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/speaker, author Renée Peterson Trudeau. Her newest release is Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 11 year-old son. Join Renee this January for her new 2014 life balance telecourse New Way of Being: Learning to Go with the Flow. www.ReneeTrudeau.com.
Before you go, take a look at the book review I published about Renee’s book, Nurturing the Soul of Your Family, earlier this year.