We are officially in that busy season when we cram Thanksgiving (in America), Christmas and New Year’s activities into a six-week period. And as if that wasn’t enough to make one’s head spin like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, add NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – in which I’m participating) to the list and things just got real!
There was a time when even thinking about this would have stressed me out, making my shoulders, head and neck tighten like a corset. But I have finally adopted a few “wisdoms” that help me slide through this season with little to no stress. Here’s what I’ve incorporated into my life and if it helps anyone else, then all the better.
Keep priorities the priority. For me, my priorities are my family, my writing, my friends, my spiritual connectedness and my wellness (me time, physical time, reading time). And not necessarily in that order. When I encounter a request or situation that falls outside of one of my priorities, I politely but firmly offer regrets. This is not always easy to do until I think about sacrificing one of my priorities and then it suddenly becomes very easy.
I have finally embraced Oprah’s wisdom that “No” is a complete sentence. It needs no clarification, explanation or follow-up. It was hard embracing “no.” I didn’t like the guilt that came with no, especially when the request was something I could do or handle but just didn’t want to. Then I realized that guilt was tied to ego and ego cannot, should not lead; only the prompting from my soul (also known as gut or inner voice) should lead. So I learned to pray about most requests and listen for soul’s response. Once I had my answer, sometimes a no, I was fine. No more guilt.
Keep my schedule light. I was penciling in an event on my calendar and it dawned on me that I keep accepting the same invitations, following the same holiday routine, scheduling the same events. Why? I didn’t even enjoy half of them (people or events or routine). So I started scratching off and whittling down (and saying no — see the paragraph above) and boy, did that feel good. I challenge you to do the same. Look at your holiday commitments and erase those events or people (sounds harsh but not everyone is good for you) that no longer serve you or your priorities.
If you decide to apply these wisdoms this holiday season (or beyond), let me know. I’m curious to hear how they work for others. In the meantime, I wish everyone a stress-free, loving and joyous season with more than enough time to appreciate the beauty in every moment.