This time of year can be challenging. There's a ramping up of consumer marketing, activity and expectations right as the natural world around us is slowing down and inviting us to slow down as well. I've found that it takes a lot more intention to make sure I'm finding balance in my life and not getting either swept away into lots of stressful activity or pulled down into old habits of sugar consumption, Netflix and social media scrolling.
As you prepare to gather with loved ones in the coming weeks, here are some of my favorite ways to make sure self-compassion and meaning are part of the holiday season!
1. Commit to carving out time for yourself
It's easy to get caught up in the "doing" of the holidays. Make sure you take time for just being, too! Can you take a 10 walk after dinner to give yourself a break from the crowd? Build in 20 minutes of meditation before you start cooking dinner? Let yourself play - truly play - with your kids outside instead of staying in the kitchen? It'll be different for each person so take some time to consider what will nourish you deeply!
2. Add music, poetry, art into your family gathering
Last year, I organized a family talent show! I read a poem, my nephew told jokes and my father enlisted everyone's help to act out a hunting scene from the woods. It came during peak pandemic winter time when our social interaction was limited and I wanted to make sure each interaction we had was as meaningful as possible. It created some beautiful memories!
I also used this amazing resource from Seth Godin called the Thanksgiving Reader, a collection of poems and readings that added a richness to our time together. Let me know what you think!
3. Set intentions beforehand.
Just the simple act of considering how you want to approach the holidays and what energy you want to bring into the space can be really powerful. Of course, there's still the interaction with other people and often holidays and family carry the potential for a lot of emotions! But first getting clear on how you want to show up is a great first step.
One of my favorite helpful activities comes from coach Martha Beck and allows for more distance and levity in the family holiday experience. It's called Dysfunctional Family Bingo - check it out!
Whatever you do, make sure you're infusing self-compassion, kindness, self-care and meaning into the next few weeks. You deserve it!