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?” I looked up, took in the sea of red and green swimming around me, smiled, and paused.
Between having an extremely full plate at work due to my upcoming book launch and the intense demands of family life—I haven’t spent much time hanging mistletoe.
While this is a favorite time of year for some—and I’ve had many magical holidays—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 a family holiday gathering--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 my first book The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life and 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? 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 and when in doubt, keep it simple. 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 one of our life balance products/services. Thoughtful, from-the-heart and life-transformative, here are some favorites from our coaching team:
- A gift certificate for personalized Career or Life Coaching Strategy Sessions (one-on-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 reconnecting with who they are and focusing on their self-care. Ideal for women at all life stages.
- Do you have a friend or family member who wants to learn the art of group coaching/retreat facilitation, deepen their connections in their community and grow or launch a small business? Send them a gift certificate to become a trained Personal Renewal Group Facilitator ($499 for a limited time; price increases in January).
- Be the first to get a copy of Renee’s new book on everyday spirituality: Nurturing the Soul of Your Family ~ 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. Pre-order your copy here for yourself or a friend/family member and receive 30% off the retail price!
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!
And please share how you live more intentionally during the holiday season on our Live Inside Out Community here!
Warmly—Renee, Bren, Sarina, Angela, Angie and the RTA Team
Upcoming Events and Training:
- November 1-30 Personal Renewal Group Online Facilitator Membership Are you a therapist, coach, parent or birth educator, leadership consultant or women's empowerment advocate who loves supporting women and helping them nurture their emotional well-being? Join an international community and facilitate self-renewal groups/retreats for women based on the award-winning The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal. Learn more. Or, click here to find a Personal Renewal Group in your area.
- November 1-30 DOWNLOAD AND LISTEN NOW: 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. Free for a limited time.
- Friday, December 14 (9:30 am-2:30 pm) Envision, Align, Expand: Empowered Entreprenaur 2013 Envisioning Retreat. Soma Vida Wellness and Work-Life Balance Center. Are you ready to shift your relationship to your business? Gain clarity and focus on how/where to direct your energy, receive laser coaching/feedback, tap Renee’s most powerful exercises and tools, enjoy guided support and leave inspired, focused and ready to move into the new year with renewed passion and clarity. Led by small business coach Renee Trudeau; limited to 15 people. Details/register. Email email@example.com with questions.
April 19-21, A New Way of Being: Women's Self-Renewal Retreat, Esalen, Big Sur, CA. Nurture and nourish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Tap the Transformative Power of self-care to nourish your body, heart and soul. Learn to integrate self-renewal strategies into your daily life, slow down and access your Wise Self. Step into a New Way of Being. Led by nationally-recognized career/life balance expert, coach and author Renee Trudeau at beautiful Esalen. Ideal for women in career/life transition. Details here.
June 21-23, A New Way of Being: Women's Self-Renewal Retreat, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, The Berkshires, MA. Tap into the transformative power of self-care to nourish your body, heart and soul. Learn to integrate self-renewal strategies into your daily life, slow down and access your Wise Self and step into a New Way of Being. Led by nationally-recognized career/life balance expert, coach and author Renee Trudeau at beautiful Kripalu. Ideal for women in career/life transition.
- New Way of Being™: Let Go, Embrace Flow and Love Your Life A national telecourse for men and women led by Renee Trudeau. Are you done with overwork, overwhelm and ready to discard your old habitual ways of working and being? Would you like to de-clutter, simplify, learn to leverage the power of self-care and step into a more spacious, free work/life flow? Join Renee as she supports, guides and coaches you into a new way of being and helps you access greater peace and harmony in your everyday life. REGISTER HERE (Class downloads/materials will be sent to you via email).
- I CHOOSE LOVE Global PSA You’re invited and encouraged to take part in the I CHOOSE LOVE global Public Service Announcement. Learn more about how to get involved in this free, grassroots initiative and why choosing love over fear could radically transform your life! Learn more.
- Private Customized Retreats: Renee is masterful at creating/facilitating empowering half, full day or weekend workshops or retreats for companies, organizations and groups. You can learn more about private retreats here or about her speaking/workshop topics, here. Email Brenda Zook Friesen, events manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-459-6700 to check Renee’s availability.
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