This is a crazy time of year for many of us, and it can be very challenging to stay centered. It can easily become a time of year where we live life spontaneously and frivolously. While rolling with the good times is a blast, we often simultaneously stuffing feelings of stress that often arise during this holiday season. This year, why not find your sweet spot and really maximize your energy and sense of fullness this time around?
I just recently finished the book "The Sweet Spot: Finding your Groove at Home and at Work." Being a HUGE fan of common sense solutions, this book spoke volumes to me. Even though I continually work on tweaking my daily routine and attitude for better performance and personal satisfaction, there is always room for improvement. The author, Chrisitine Carter, offers many great gems of wisdom that are easy to understand and implement.
My favorite part is that one of the suggestions she makes is to start small. With so many other elements of our lives out of sorts during the holidays, one simple change--one simple decision--to stick with over the next month could have the biggest impact of all.
Here are just a few of the tidbits I found absolutely valuable to me right now:
- Take Recess often. I know, I know. There is a lot less daylight to get outside and play. I've made a simple change recently where I set my timer for 90 minutes at work, then I go outside and take a 10 minute walk around the block. This shifts my perspective and allows me to feel connected with nature around me. I've also scheduled time weekly to go play golf when it's light enough to get in 18 holes, and I've started getting creative with games and evening yoga at night (stimulating a sense of fun that doesn't always revolve around watching the TV). We are social beings who love to play, so take recess with a purpose!!
- Return to routine. When many areas of life lose routine all at once, it can make for a stressful ride. Instead, find the small ways in which to make a simple routine part of the day. For me, it's taking the 10 minutes before I go to bed to get myself ready for my early mornings. This means setting out my clothes, having my breakfast planned (or prepped), and my items to go to the office already set by the front door. This frees up my mental energy in the morning for other things that may need my attention, or to focus in a way that will more powerfully affect my day.
- Make a plan. Research has documented that making a plan can reduce feelings of stress. Now, this doesn't have to be a over-the-top detailed explanation of each step that will get you through each day of December. However, having a plan on how you will spend your money on gifts, how much energy you will spend out at holiday parties, or even how much time you will reserve to take care of yourself can all be part of a plan to gain the most enjoyment out of this busy month.
- Connect with friends. This is an easy thing to do this time around... but not for everyone. There are many people that are hurting this time of year--that feel alone or uncertain or even ashamed of where they are at currently. Making meaningful connections this time of year can be especially important. This could be coordinating with loved ones to volunteer for those less fortunate in your community, or inviting over a friend to a holiday meal whom might be alone otherwise. Have fun at all of the parties, but I highly recommend making each connection with others meaningful this season.
- Tolerate discomfort. Yeah, I just said that--tolerate discomfort. It's part of life, and really the situations that make us grow the most. Take a deep breath when you notice unwanted emotions arise. Be aware of what caused the internal stress. Then, acknowledge your bravery and courage to learn from any life experience (no matter how uncomfortable it might be). Sometimes, immediate action needs to be take to redirect your course. However, many times, discomfort simply requires our attention so we can modify our perspective and choices for the future. Celebrate the clarity you gain in the discomfort, and move on. The moment will pass.
There are numerous other great insights that this book has to offer! Perhaps gift it to yourself this year... along with the time it will take to read it!
Most of all, take the steps necessary for you to find your sweet spot this holiday season. It's the most wonderful time of the year for a reason, right?!