Here we are at the end of October.
Traditionally in the Northern Hemisphere, when people were living closer to nature, this was the time of the year to go inward. Just like the trees let go of their leaves and preserve only what is really needed for their survival, the energy in and around us changes its direction and moves down in “energy saving mode”, preparing for hibernation.
Probably you feel this urge too. You find the warmth and the cosiness of your home more appealing than the dark and cold outside. You are less energetic. You feel the need to sleep longer. You prefer warmer food and drinks. You are more cuddly.
In different religions, this period is marked by fasting. While for many people this means abstinence from certain foods and/or drinks, the actual reason for the fasting is to clean your heart and your mind. To slow down, to restrict the intake of impressions. To return to yourself and to your values. To get clarity and to assess what is truly important for you… There is soo much wisdom in it: prepare the soil to sow new seeds in the spring.
What we see all around us however, is that from now till Christmas, is the busiest period of the year. Businesses prepare new sales campaigns. There are strict deadlines. There is stress. It is like everyone squeezes out their last drop of energy to keep on going with high speed. And on top of it, is the endless echoing message “buy, buy, buy!”.
With decorations, movies, promotions and music, the build-up for “The most wonderful time of the year” has started. BUT, the truth is that for many people Christmas and the End-of-year celebrations are disappointing because of:
- The accumulated stress and the exhaustion
- The unrealistic expectations, created by the overly romantic idea of the Holiday Season
- The packed social agenda and the need to meet the expectations of all friends and family
- The outside noise that drowns out the inner voice
- The lack of time and attention to reconnect to oneself, so connecting to anyone else gets extra difficult
- The excitement created by the numbing effect of alcohol and drugs
Ok, then what is Christmas and how to make it count?
I remember two years ago, somewhere in December (we already had a Christmas tree) our son Florian was just 6 months old. It was in the evening, after an early dinner at home. We were sitting with the three of us on the couch – playing, laughing, cuddling…There was nothing to be done, no other place we needed to be, no rush, no obligations…My heart was experiencing the sweetness of this moment. I was celebrating the presence of each of us and the true connection we were experiencing. It was simple, honest, joyful and cosy. I remember a very clear thought coming in… “This is what Christmas is about!” It was really special!
So let me share what I do to keep my balance at the end of the year and how I prepare for a true Holiday Season.
- Plan and prepare your campaigns (your client’s campaigns) as early as you can. Start now, instead of mid-November.
- Clear your agenda from everything that is not truly necessary and that can be done at the beginning of January. Be really critical. You need to create space for yourself.
- Don’t commit to deadlines, you know will be hard to meet.
Your health and well-being
- Why do you think people get sick a lot in this period? Because we often keep living like in the summer while the season requires us to take care of our body differently.
- Reduce the social interactions, instead take more time to rest and to go inward
- Tune into your body – adjust your diet, your sleep routine, even the type of your exercises.
Preparation for Christmas
- In my (extended) family, we are not buying gifts for Christmas anymore. It’s just so difficult to find the right gift for everyone and often we buy/get useless or trivial gifts…We better do without them. This saves us 1) stress from figuring out the gift for everyone 2) time from finding/ordering/buying/packing it 3) money. Our agreement is that the money we are saving from buying gifts, we are giving to charity. Each of us finds a cause they connect to or an organization they trust. And we donate the money for the gifts. This is our way to give back to the world for our good fortune. It feels great too. And I love to be an example for my son of a generous, kind and helping person.
- We actually put something under the Christmas tree only for the kids. By the end of October, I have already ordered these gifts. This way, I don’t stress out in the last moment. So, if you are buying any gifts, start already now.
- Keep your Christmas vacation as empty as possible. This gives you the opportunity to be spontaneous, to just relax and be together with the people you love without obligations and plans.
- Balance between homemade meals, eating out, catering/delivered food. This way you won’t be spending the time with your family and friends only in the kitchen.
I hope that you get a few ideas on how to make the coming period more relaxed and enjoyable, and your Christmas – brighter and more special!