|Preparing your heart and mind for the holidays is not just about balancing the demands of life and surviving, but it can actually be about thriving and enjoying the holidays.
This week I have been asked by several clients, “What do you do to feel rested and restored?” “What fills up your tank?” They didn’t want just any answer, they wanted to know specifically the ways in which I fill up my emotional tank.
Since I had been hearing it so much, it made me wonder if it had to do with the upcoming holiday season. So, I decided to share with you what I’ve been saying to clients —
It’s not so much about what you do, it’s about how you stay curious with yourself.
Filing up our internal “tanks” is often a metaphor we use in our conversations because many of us are aware (or unaware) that we are running on fumes. But often we are not clear about what is needed to fill us back up. And this becomes even more challenging in the busy seasons.
This holiday season, there’s hope to do it differently.
Stay curious and have a conversation with yourself without judgment, guilt or shame. Here’s what I am calling the “ABCs of Holiday Thriving” that will help you enjoy the happiest time of the year:
- ASSESS: Ask yourself these questions and really listen to what your heart is whispering: What am I feeling? What is the level of my tank? Why? What is draining me? What do I need to fill back up?
When I talked to myself about it just this week, I was amazed at the answers. Here’s what I heard:
ME: You’re tired from a busy season of travel, purposeful conversations you’ve been having in your marriage, helping your daughter prepare for college, meeting people daily in powerful conversations, and just the day-to-day grind of trying to show up well. All really good things, but you’re on empty and need a break or you’ll start turning to bad habits.
Q: What do I need to fill back up?
ME: Solitude, beauty, peace, quiet…less distractions, less busyness, less food. More ease, more time, more space.
Q: When can I make the space to lean into this? And what do I want?
ME: I have some open space Monday morning on my calendar and I am going to enjoy an easy slow morning.
- BE ENGAGED: This is about engaging your Whole Self – Heart, Mind, Body, & Spirit — authentically in meaningful ways. And we do this by resisting anything “productive” and “task-oriented” – the errands we need to run, the groceries we need to buy, the phone calls and emails we need to return, and the gifts we need to buy for Christmas, etc…the list goes on, doesn’t it? And instead of trying to keep up with life, we switch gears into RESTorative restand open up space to enjoy whatever we need to lean into for more peace, more ease, more joy. It might be minutes or hours each day, but knowing what fills you up and daily engaging with it allows you to be your best self.
For me, listening to what my heart was whispering, I started by easing back on the foods that easily distract me (you know, all the comfort foods we turn to when we are running fast and hard and simply looking for some quick relief). And early Monday morning on the first day back from my travels, with a lit candle, gentle music playing in the background, sipping my favorite cup of tea, and surrounded with several books, journals and art supplies—I made the space I craved to simply let down.
As I doodled in my journal, wrote phrases of songs that comforted, I luxuriated in whatever brought peace to my weary heart. And I could fill my inner tank getting filled up. I listened to what I was drawn to and put these two songs on repeat as I wrote down the words I loved.
It was blissful for my soul!!
- CULTIVATE: This last step is important for the heart. It keeps us moving forward and ensures we honor our journey along the way. Staying curious with ourselves and asking questions like, How did that go? What do I need more of? How do I want to continue caring for myself? help us learn more about what we need to fill back up.
ME: Wow, I’m glad I had several hours to get lost in what fills me up. I was more drained than I thought. I’m going to do it again tomorrow and each morning this week even if I don’t have as much time. This week I will keep it in first gear and be gentle with myself instead of trying to catch up with all the demands coming at me.
And by Friday morning, I could feel my creativity and joy returning as it replaced the exhaustion of traveling and giving to people and relationships I care about. Again, all good things, but moving from survival to thrival means making the space on a regular basis to fill your inner emotional tank. Most importantly, understanding how you do this is different for everyone mandates a ‘slowing down’ so you can hear what you truly crave.
Take the time to fill yourself up this holiday season so you can thrive and not just survive it! And let me know how you do it by replying to this email. I’ll pull together your ideas and share it with our community (anonymously of course).
My heart is with you and for you as you thrive the holidays,