The holidays are on their way. Most of us here in the U.S. celebrated Thanksgiving recently, and the Christmas holidays and other religious holidays will be here before we know it.
I'm preparing for the holidays with self-care! Many of us get into a knot when it comes to the holidays. We overstretch ourselves, leading us to feel overwhelmed between cooking, shopping, hosting, etc.
Because this year will be "different," we want to help you prepare by boosting your self-care. Here are proven tactics to enjoy the holidays' true meaning and eliminate the stress we bring into it. Yes--you heard right.
With love and respect, it's a fact that how we think about and frame the events and situations in our lives determines the quality of our daily experience. This fact is the main reason that developing a growth mindset is so valuable.
We're proposing that each of us commits to enjoying the holiday season to the best of our ability as things are today.
Focus on how you want to feel--not what you fear about the holidays. Creating this intentionality makes a world of difference. Choose to feel joyful and cheerful--no matter what's in front of you.
How can you accomplish that? Here are a few tested suggestions!
#1 Celebrate ANYTHING!
A great way to shift your mood and bring more enjoyment to the holidays under any situation is to celebrate what is happening, and you will be taking care of yourself in the process.
Let me give you an example. I was in the throes of writing my new book. As I finished every phase of it, I celebrated along the way--creating the structure, dictating the content, editing what I dictated, and sending it to my editor as of December 1st.
As much as I was working to meet my deadlines, I self-cared along the way by making a big deal for myself--reminding me to take it all in, be grateful, and share the joy with friends, family, and my network. I shot a quick video on my smartphone for my social network, texted, and called family and friends to share the good news!
Celebrate anything and everything, from keeping it all together in the last hour to helping your kids or loved ones through homeschooling, listening to them, getting everyone together who could attend a gathering, etc.
It's not uncommon for us to bring our problems to our friends, family, and co-workers. That's the default. Then, how about bringing them cheer and the good news--your celebrations: when your child hits a milestone, you finish a project at work, one of your teammates gets a certification? There is always something to celebrate.
Here's your challenge about using celebration to self-care: If you gave yourself permission, what could you celebrate today at work to provide yourself with some self-care? Then, extend these to co-workers, your manager, the stakeholders, the clients, and the people you interact with. Do the same in your personal life.
The celebration will raise your vibration and energy level, help you think happier thoughts, and trade negative emotions for positive ones. And ultimately, you're going to be spreading cheer around you, even when the circumstances are not the best, which is often the case.
Switch your focus to the pile of "good stuff." The pile of "good stuff" may be your health, the roof over your head, or the food on the table. So many don't have what we may be taking for granted.
So, take care of yourself. Look at the big picture and put everything into perspective. If you don't get to decorate just the way you want, is that the end of the world? It really isn't. If you lost loved ones this past year, I send you love, peace, and healing, and I hope to inspire you to celebrate their life during this holiday season and always.
#2 Schedule Your Self-Care!
Another way to lower the stress and practice self-care during the holidays is to schedule it. This approach may sound like overkill or too much structure, and here are the benefits.
Due to this pandemic, you may be feeling an additional layer of stress and discomfort--perhaps around getting people together and being concerned about your safety and that of others.
What happens when you schedule your self-care and forget about it is that when you begin to feel the pressure, you'll find a big surprise on your calendar--your self-care appointment. It will be the gift you give to yourself.
I use this tactic all year round. I schedule my self-care like a doctor's appointment. When I was in the pressure cooker in November to deliver my book to my editor on December 1st, I had a VIP day with one of my mentors on November 17th! And what great timing! I recharged with a full body massage and then spent three hours masterminding with my mentor.
What could that appointment be for you--getting a massage, facial, spending an afternoon by yourself wherever you wish to be that's accessible to you. Maybe you book thirty quiet minutes a week to put on a hydrating mask in your room.
When you schedule your self-care, you prioritize yourself.
And I know many of us, especially moms, have a hard time doing that. In general, many have a tough time putting our care on top of the priority list. The way we accomplish it is by penciling it in as you do a regular check-up.
And by the way, this is a reminder to ensure you do set up your yearly mammogram and yearly physical—wink, wink.
The challenge for you on the topic of "Schedule it" is to book your self-care. For the next few weeks, put it on your calendar, stick to it, and you will see what we mean.
You will be so pleasantly surprised when the day comes that you realize, ah, I'm doing that special thing for myself. And I didn't even have to think about it because I had already prioritized it.
#3 Keep It Simple
Another way you can create more self-care to actually enjoy the holidays is to keep it simple. Keeping it simple means removing things that you don't need to do and delegating those that you can.
Many of us have a packed schedule. How can you delete activities from your schedule?
Focus on what is essential, what needs to get done for the holidays, and what doesn't.
We are in a unique environment right now. By keeping it simple and lowering your expectations around what people will do or experience when they visit you, you'll self-care and keep the stressors at bay.
Be mindful of removing the non-essentials. Be intentional. Create a list and cross off things that don't need to get done. Those items that remain on your list look to delegate what others could do with you or for you.
For example, I'm the only one who can create the content of my book. However, once I dictated one of my chapters, I delegated getting my recordings assembled to my virtual assistant while working on the next chapter. And in the end, I put it all together and edit it.
What about you? What are essentials on your list? Which could you delegate to a teammate, partner, older children, or someone in your sphere of influence?
When you ask them to support you, you will be allowing them to contribute to you.
How do you feel good when you help a friend? You typically feel good. You're giving them a chance to contribute to you when you ask for help.
And for those items and activities that someone in your circle cannot complete, consider outsourcing them. If you're used to doing the food shopping, think about how you can outsource the shopping, where you create your shopping list, and the supermarket can do the shopping for you and bring the groceries to your place, or you or someone else in the family can swing by and pick them up.
When it comes to delegating, many of us coddle our teenagers and young adults. If they're capable of helping you take on some of these responsibilities, enlist them to support you and enable them to play a more significant role--which will make them feel more significant and meet their need for contribution.
Consider how to keep it simple by removing things from your list, delegating some of those tasks, and outsourcing some of the chores so that you can create more peace and harmony throughout the holidays.
#4 Collaborate with Others
Bring a mindset of collaboration to the holidays to have a more peaceful and grounded holiday that you can enjoy with your family and friends.
We know that the COVID-19 cases may be going up in some places and that this holiday will be unique.
How can you self-care by adopting a mindset of collaboration? Like the previous tactic, it means letting everyone around you collaborate to make the holidays special--any way they can.
One idea is to have a potluck gathering and celebration, letting guests bring a dish. Every year, I typically get my closest friends together in my home, and we celebrate friendship and family. This year is going to be an even closer-knit group because of the situation that we're in.
What can you do to let your family and friends collaborate with you and help you create a memorable experience where they also get to be an integral part of it?
That's going to free you up from bearing the brunt of the planning. And notice that all these strategies require planning.
To self-care through the holidays, like with anything else in your life or career, planning makes a huge difference.
#5 Be Compassionate
Lastly, be compassionate with yourself.
Sometimes, we beat ourselves up whenever things aren't going exactly how we want them to go. We are harsh with other people and become very judgmental and sometimes resentful when they're not helping us or doing what we think they should be doing.
First, watch your thoughts. Make sure you're catching the negative self-talk--insulting yourself, calling yourself names, putting yourself down.
Be kind and supportive instead of judgmental. Replace any expectations you have about yourself with appreciation, and then extend it to others. We don't know what people are going through right now with the pandemic, year-end work projects, personal responsibilities, kids' homeschooling, etc.
Everyone handles the holidays differently. Let's be compassionate with them too. Whatever they do, let them know it's okay--that's the best they can do right now.
And the silver lining when you apply these strategies is that you can use them all year round too!
Here is your grand challenge: Enjoy your loved ones, be kind to them and yourself, focus on the essentials, ask them to collaborate with you, and prioritize your self-care to delight in their company and create the memories that transcend the holiday season.
You've got this!
Be fearless. (act despite the fear!)
With love and appreciation,
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About Dr. Ginny A. Baro
Dr. Ginny A. Baro is a sought-after international motivational speaker & leadership coach, a career strategist, and #1 bestselling author of Fearless Women at Work.
Ginny specializes in partnering with organization to develop leadership teams at all levels of management. And she supports individuals navigating a corporate hierarchy or moving into an entirely new phase of their career. She has successfully facilitated live and virtual leadership training and coaching programs for individuals and Fortune 500 companies with over 140,000 employees and delivered keynotes impacting international audiences larger than 7,000. To learn more, visit ExecutiveBound.
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