As we find ourselves in the midst of the holiday season, we continue to navigate local and global health, social/political, and economic crisis'.
As a family that is married to Emergency Medicine, we have a front row seat to the emotional and physical traumas that are occurring both in our community and across our networks. It is heart wrenching to hear the stories of loss and grief that so many are facing right now due to COVID and due to the countless other illnesses, accidents and diseases that have not taken a vacation during this global pandemic.
For me, this time of year- even in a normal year, can feel so confusing with mixed emotions. Its the time of year that I grieve family and friends who have passed, I reflect on beautiful family traditions and feel the tension that comes with navigating family relationships, divorce, and isolation (especially this year). Can you relate?
I just wanted to write and tell you that if you are struggling to find joy or are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, challenged right now.... I see you and I'm sorry for what you are going through.
This is hard.
I also know that putting intention toward cultivating joy during a time like this may seem like a luxury and too difficult or "selfish" while so many people are suffering.
I get that too.
And cultivating joy is an absolute necessity right now...for everyone.
If you can be a light for others during this time of darkness....please be one.
And if you need more light and support in this time, here are 7 ways you can begin to put intention into cultivating more joy, presence and peace during this season...
1. Pay attention to your feelings. Continually ask yourself these two questions: How am I doing right now? What would make me feel whole in this moment? It is absolutely normal to be experiencing both positive and negative emotions during this time. Give yourself permission to feel both.
2. Track your mind- what is your mental narrative telling you? Pay close attention to the story you are telling yourself and question if its true. Can you rewrite the narrative if its not serving you?
3. Give but don't over-give. Over-giving of your time, energy or money will not cultivate joy if its depleting your resources. Be mindful of your motivations for giving and make sure they are in alignment with your capacity to give.
4. Ask for what you want or need. Your family, coworkers and friends cannot know your desires, wants or needs (or boundaries) during this time if you are not open and honest. They may not be able to meet those wants or needs, but you will never know unless you ask:).
5. Pay attention to your habits! Practice taking tiny actions to shift your perspective and deepen your connection to yourself and your results. You can download our PDF of 30 days tiny shifts for some ideas. Download HERE
6. Make time for pleasure. Yup. Pleasure is important....even if its the guilty kind ;). There is a difference between pleasure and "buffering" negative feelings. If you find yourself overeating, overdrinking, or overusing social media/ technology (among other buffering strategies)- be mindful to uncover what might give you true pleasure vs. distracting you from your negative emotions.
7. Release the pressure of perfection. You don't have to be the perfect boss, employee, mom, wife, husband, dad, daughter, son, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling, friend, or holiday decorator or housekeeper (unless it gives you pleasure!). You can be you and its enough. Releasing the pressure on yourself....releases the pressure for those around you too.
I hope you find some nugget of support in these strategies. As you enter this weekend, I wish you all of the warmth and love and hope of a brighter tomorrow to surround you and bring you peace.
Personal/Professional Leadership Coach
Founder, Moonstone Ventures Farm, Retreat Center, & Leadership School
P.S.check out our new program for December- Simple Joy Return- Starts on December 11th! SIMPLE JOY RETURN