Dear Clients, Colleagues and Friends,
Before you log off for the year (which I hope you can do!), have a quick read because I get it. You’re busy. I’m busy. I promise this is a brief and distilled list of the most important tips for this “most wonderful time of year,” which might just be feeling the absolute exact opposite right now. Top ten in no particular order.
If you’re running on fumes, it’s simply not sustainable without cost. Delete or delegate what’s not going to work for you. The list is simply too long. It’s not you, it’s the list.
Get enough sleep. It’s the basis for your mental, physical and emotional health. Don’t let it be negotiable.
Are your children going to remember the holidays as a time of fighting, grumpiness and stress? Your kids will forget what they got, what was served and how the house looked, but they won’t forget how your overextended, over perfectionized Christmas stress made them feel. Be aware and make a conscious decision about how you are showing up.
Don’t judge your “internal” experience by others’s “external” appearance. This applies to holiday cards, social media and brief visits. Things are not as happy, simple, perfect, organized nor dreamy as you think. I guarantee it.
I can also guarantee that something is going to go “wrong” — and it's OK. This is life. When this happens, I work to take it as “good information.” For instance, “that didn’t work, this is too much, we need to make bedtime a priority, glad that I now know that about them, etc” Let the experience inform the future and don’t let it ruin the present.
Don’t let things go permanently sideways. Take some space, a walk, some quiet time and come back together. Take stock, learn and keep connecting. Take care of your needs and encourage others to take care of theirs as well.
Adopt Radical Acceptance as your go-to. The gap between our reality and our expectation is a massive source of pain and frustration. The only person we have control over is ourselves. Radical acceptance doesn’t mean that you agree with the other person, it just means you accept that they are who they are and do what they do.
Life is short, our family visits are temporary and not a place to solve issues. If that family member isn’t alive next Christmas, will you wish you hadn’t “gone there?”
Cope ahead - if you know that something or someone has the very good potential of being challenging, make a plan now for how to cope and take care of yourself. It doesn’t mean you expect it, but you are just prepared if it goes down.
Eating disorders awareness - they are everywhere. Equip estimates that 30 million Americans (9%) are fighting one. They are the second most deadly mental health diagnosis after opioid addiction. Holiday time is an easy time to realize someone is struggling. Be mindful of not commenting on other people's bodies (or even your own!) Lots of reasons for someone to have lost weight (illness, grief, eating disorder) so don’t praise it. Reach out to me if you are concerned and would like eating disorder resources.
Happy Christmas to those who celebrate, Happy New Year and wishing you Joy and Peace.
P.S. Don’t get your child a smartphone. If it’s too late and you already did, return it or just have it be basic with texting messaging and no social media. You would never, ever tell your child over and over that they are not enough, but that is the slow, steady messaging they get when they are on social media. It’s destroying their mental health. Yes, they might miss out on some things if they’re not on, but they will also be protected from the very negative impact. I’m big on taking risks, but not this kind. Wait until 8th grade and limit social media until 16 yrs old.
Delay, delay, delay. Your child’s well being depends on it, and maybe even their life.
It’s not easy AND you can do it!