Career Advice ARTICLES / Freedom / Taking Care of Me

Don’t “Cook Your Own Goose” This Holiday Season

Don't Cook Your Own Goose

Our lives are busy enough with many demands on our time that it’s often challenging to maintain our life balance.  Throw in the holiday season and many declare it impossible to do more than simply survive December.

Unfortunately, this puts you in the role of victim and isn’t much more empowering or fun than having Santa and the Hanukkah Fairy drag you around by the ponytail.

You only get one Holiday Season this year. You can’t turn back the clock later, so take a few minutes NOW to make some conscious choices.  It may just be the most enjoyable and satisfying 2 weeks you’ve had yet!

1) Set an intention for what you want this season to look like.

What is your priority?  What do you really want?  And I mean really want. What is the holiday season you’ve always wanted to have?  What is important to you?  Is it that you create the best memories your kids can have while spending half the money?  Imagine a greener holiday?  Perhaps you want to tap into your dormant creative talents?  Maybe you want the season to be about sharing time and not necessarily money?

Have you thought about getting away from it all and spending time on the beach without obligations of any kind?  Would you like to spend time with someone who really means a lot to you that you never find time to see?  Consider creating an experience you’ve never had before.  If you could have any type of holiday season, what would that be?

2) Now that you’ve gotten clear on what you want, you will have to make conscious choices to create that.

This will sometimes mean saying no.  Telling the truth and sharing your vision is the easiest way to say no to others.  Make sure everything you plan to do this season is a “complete yes.”  And if it’s not a “complete yes,” then it’s a no.

A “complete yes” includes no doubts, no dread, no quiet groans, and no comments from your internal voice.  If there are any rumblings of any kind in your gut or your heart, remember it’s a no.  This includes parties you don’t really want to go to, those holiday cards you dread writing, over-committing when you don’t have enough time to get across town for that second event in one evening and going to the mall if you hate doing that.

At first this may be challenging to do, but with practice, this habit will have you living the kind of life you’ve always wanted to have all year long.  Plan to actually live what you say your values are.

3) Use creative problem-solving to come up with alternative solutions or simply find the courage to let go of what you don’t want to do.

The ironic truth is that people respect those who take care of themselves first and not a single person will even notice that you didn’t send a card.  If you really want to connect with a few, hearing your voice will be even more meaningful and will save some trees too.  Consider ordering all your gifts online and don’t hesitate to find something fabulous and ordering it in 5 colors for everyone in your family.  It will contribute to the fun, save you time and be a greener option because UPS only has to deliver to your house once because it’s all coming from the same place.

On your next shopping trip to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, pick-up 5 reusable shopping bags to wrap each gift in.  Saves time since you go there weekly anyway.  Saves another trip to find gift wrapping, creates less waste, saves money because they are often only a dollar or two (less than a box, tissue, wrapping paper, tape, ribbons and a gift tag), reduces gas consumption and provides an additional gift to your loved ones who will think of you every week when they do their grocery shopping with pride.

In what other ways can you save time, money, your sanity and make your holiday season what you really want it to be about?

And if it feels too late because you’re already tired, cranky and overcommitted, it’s not too late to say no or simplify. Go back and read that sentence again. Keyword: SIMPLIFY.

Coach’s challenge: take one thing off your list that you were planning to do. Yes, right now. I’ll wait while you cross it off or delete it. It’s also not too early to start planning the kind of December you want to have in the years to come.

It all starts with noticing what drains your energy and what is pure joy.