The other day I was shopping for groceries when a happy clerk wearing an elf hat stopped me and asked, “So what is Santa bringing you this year?” He stumped me.
Between supporting my husband through a longer-than-expected job search, being on stand-by to come help welcome our newest family member and working with my team to coordinate logistics for all our spring events, I’ve been a bit busy. But it’s here again--that time of year that brings up opportunities for mind-blowing joy and surprise visits from ghosts of the past.
While the holiday season is a favorite time of year for some, this upcoming stretch can also be incredibly stressful, emotionally-taxing and just plain exhausting for many of us. (There is a reason the rates of depression and suicide skyrocket in December and January). Before you swing into disequilibrium, pause. And consider the following:
5 Tips for Enhancing Harmony this Holiday Season:
1) Approach the holidays intentionally: If you were to set an intention or theme for the holiday season what would it be? What do you most want to experience this time of year? Rest and relaxation (and lots of unscheduled downtime)? Spiritual reflection and renewal? Connection and sharing with close friends? Deeper or more meaningful exchanges with family? Creative expression (whether that's through making things for others, singing or decorating)? Giving or volunteering to help those in pain or in need? What activities or choices might you make to support this intention? What do you need to let go?
2) Release expectations --particularly around family: What if you showed up at family holiday gatherings--whether you're hosting the get-together or not--with the idea that this might be the last time you'd ever see your family members? How might you treat them? Do you think some of your expectations might change around how they should treat you, interact with one another or behave at group gatherings? Would your language or tone change while you were together? Would you initiate long overdue conversations? Express your love or gratitude for their presence in your life?
3) Schedule time for self-care NOW! What do you need to nurture yourself--emotionally and physically--during this period? Maybe more exercise, protein-rich foods, emotional support from a close friend or mentor, taking an afternoon off for a solo date or just lightening your schedule so you can build in a 20-minute rest period between errands? I recommend you schedule time for yourself just like you would schedule a doctor's appointment. (Read more about this theme from The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life by Renee Trudeau; download a free chapter here.) One of my favorite quotes is, "Self care is not about self-indulgence. It's about self-preservation." Audre Lorde
4) Say yes to what feeds you and no to what doesn't: Check out the Nine Ways to Say No list for support on becoming more comfortable drawing boundaries. I like to ask myself "Is this something I really want to do--something that would feed me--or am I doing this because I think I should?" Actor Larry Eisenberg summed it up: "For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the Universe."
5) Slow down and practice living in the present: The shopping will get done and you'll make it to the meaningful holiday activities that are important to you. The question is, how do you want to feel while accomplishing these things? Stress comes from living in (or having thoughts about) the past or the future. Right here, right now, in this moment--there is no stress. Breathe. Slow down. And read more about this theme in Being Present and Remembering What Really Matters from The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal.
Before you enter this holiday season, think about last year: what worked and what didn't work? Then, I challenge you: slow down, do less, attune and respond to your needs, say no to activities that don't feed you, make choices that support your emotional and physical well-being, keep it simple and, when in doubt, practice self-kindness and be easy on yourself. You'll be surprised by how many people around you will follow your lead.
P.S. For those of you that are like me and avoid the mall at all costs, consider giving friends and loved ones a gift certificate for a self-care service or professional/personal growth opportunity. Thoughtful, from-the-heart and life-transformative, here are some favorites from our career and life balance coaching team:
- A gift certificate to our Jan. 14 Career Strategy Workshop,—great for anyone in career transition and/or considering a career change. Or if you have a friend or family member who is self-employed and ready to work less and make more, consider signing them up for The Empowered Entrepreneur Workshop on Saturday, Feb. 19.
- Registration for one of our three upcoming Women's Self-Renewal Retreats; (mothers & daughters and best friends love attending this together!).
- A gift certificate for personalized Career or Life Coaching Strategy Sessions (one-one-one coaching support with an award-winning Career Strategist senior career, life or small business coach). Read more about our services.
- Send a copy (or two) of the award-winning The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life to the women in your life that are interested in giving birth to the best that is within them and focusing on their self-care. Ideal for women at all life stages. Learn more: Special Holiday offers.
- Do you have a friend or family member who is a professional coach, therapist/counselor, doula or women's empowerment advocate that wants to lead women's circles and grow their small business? Send them a gift certificate to become a Trained Personal Renewal Group Facilitator ($399 for a limited time!).
Need help with a custom Gift Certificate or have a question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-459-6700 (credit cards are accepted). We’d love to hear from you!
We look forward to hearing how your holidays go (share how you live more intentionally during the holiday season on our Live Inside Out Community here)!
Warmly—Renee, Sara, Sarina, Angela and the RTA Team
Upcoming Events and Training:
- December 1-31 DOWNLOAD AND LISTEN NOW: Monthly Live Inside Out Teleclasses. Listen in the comfort of your home or office to Renee’s recent Life Balance Teleclasses. Download these inspiring, interactive calls; themes include: The Power of Self-Care, Owning Your Personal Power and Staying Connected to Your Partner. Sign up here to join us for the January class.
December 1-31 PRG Online Facilitator Training Lead self-renewal life coaching groups for women around The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal. **Special Offer** Use the code 100 OFF for December only and receive a $100 discount off the cost of your training membership. January is a great time to launch Personal Renewal Groups.
December 19, Sunday: 1:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. ~2011 Business Visioning/Planning Retreat~ for small business owners. Gain clarity and focus on your 2011 business goals, receive laser coaching/feedback, tap Renee’s favorite, most powerful exercises and tools, leave inspired, focused and ready to leap into the New Year with renewed passion and clarity. Led by small business coach Renee Trudeau at a small, quiet, private retreat center in Austin. Limited to 8 people. Cost: $199. Email email@example.com to check availability.
January 11, 2011 Tuesdays; Self-Care as Spiritual Practice. A bi-monthly women’s life coaching group focused on spiritual renewal and facilitated by Renee Trudeau. Limited to 8 women; held Tuesday evenings in South Austin Jan. 11 - March 22. Cost: $395. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to check availability and learn more.
January 13, Thursday 7-9:30 p.m.: Biz and Balance Austin Meeting---started by Renee Trudeau in 2004, this is a free professional support organization for self-employed parents. Meets at Corazon at Castle Hill; learn more/register at www.BizandBalanceAustin.org.
- January 14, Friday: 9:30-Noon The Career Strategy Workshop: Find a Fit, Create a Plan, Love Your Work
A small, dynamic group-coaching workshop focused on helping you strategically map out your next steps and find work that is a “fit” for you. You will also receive support via our online Career Center, a complimentary coaching session and a subscription to the Career Strategist’s job leads service. **BONUS** receive a free DIY Job Search Toolkit (a $99 value) when you register by Dec. 31st. Class size is limited. CLICK HERE to learn more/register online.
- January 20, Thursday: 7:30-8:30 p.m. CST Live Inside Out Life Balance Teleclass with Renee Trudeau *Free* Theme: Harnessing the Power of Emotions with special guest Kert Peterson, Qi Gong teacher and leadership coach. A fun, interactive coaching circle via telephone. Join women from around the world as we reconnect with who we are, cultivate self-compassion and learn to live more intentionally. Learn more and register here.
January 28, Friday 9:00 - 3:30 p.m. Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance: A Winter Self-Renewal Retreat at The Crossings. Nurture and nourish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Tap into new sources for ideas/inspiration/energy in the coming year. Enjoy the beautiful, contemplative grounds on this 200-acre nature preserve. Led by nationally-recognized career/life balance coach and author Renee Trudeau. Ideal for women in career/life transition. For more details and to register click here.
February 8, Tuesday: 10 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Reclaim Your Life: Creating Balance from the Inside Out, a private women’s retreat in Fredericksburg. Click here to learn more about hiring Renee to create a customized retreat for your professional or civic group. Email email@example.com for more information.
February 19, Saturday: 9 a.m.-noon The Empowered Entrepreneur. Are you a small business owner who desires to work less, make (and experience) more and be the master–not the slave-to your business? Join us for this highly popular, interactive small group coaching experience. Workshop cost: $175 (bring a friend and you each get $25 off). Register and learn more.
March 4, Friday: 9:00- 3:30 p.m. Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance: One Day Self-Renewal Retreat with Renee Trudeau at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and Spa. Nurture and nourish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Led by nationally-recognized career/life balance expert, coach and author Renee Trudeau. Ideal for women in career/life transition. For more details and to register click here.
April 29-May 1, Friday-Sunday: Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance: A Women's Self-Renewal Retreat , Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, The Berkshires, MA. Nurture and nourish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Tap the Transformative Power of Self-Care. Led by nationally-recognized career/life balance expert, coach and author Renee Trudeau at beautiful Kripalu. Ideal for women in career/life transition. Details here.
Are you a therapist, coach, doula or women's empowerment advocate who loves supporting women and helping them nurture their emotional well-being? Learn more about becoming a PRG Facilitator and join a national community of leaders who are changing women's lives through powerful life coaching groups centered around The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal.
Private Customized Retreats: Renee is masterful at creating/facilitating empowering half, full day or weekend workshops or retreats for companies, organizations and groups (her recent Lost Pines Self Renewal Retreat and her Kripalu retreat sold out and had a waiting list!). You can learn more about private retreats here or about her speaking/workshop topics, here. We’d love to help you schedule a spring or summer 2011 event. Email Sara Bogan, events manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-459-6700 to check Renee’s availability.
Visit our online calendar to learn about upcoming self-renewal retreats and events.