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Two simple ways you can put the HAPPY back into the holidays this season

"Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity." T.S. Elliot

Holidays have always been a stressful time. This year will be even more challenging than the past for many of us. We have higher levels of anxiety and stress. We are already dealing with the negative economic impact of COVID. And last but not least we have increased social isolation that has increased loneliness.

The good news is we can shift from a sense of loneliness to one of possibility. So, if you are asking yourself, 'Despite it being a bit bizarre this year, how can I make this holiday more meaningful and celebratory?' I’d like to share a couple of ideas.

Make an effort to connect (virtually or in-person) with others sharing your authentic feelings about the holidays. Spend some self-reflection time contemplating what’s most joyful and meaningful to you. Gratitude magnifies your feelings of goodwill, helping you stay focused on the good stuff. One way to explore this is through creative expression because art allows us to access our internal world.

To inspire you a simple snowflake exercise invites you to savor the little things that make you smile at this time of year. You don't need to be an artist to complete this in fact, it can be as simple or elaborate as you choose. Feel free to make it your own by coloring, doodling or whatever else might be fun including sharing the exercise with others to add a smile to their day

  1. Draw a simple snowflake
  2. On each spoke write a simple pleasure
  3. Add your own unique patterns, colors, or decorations
  4. Share

"No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted" Aesop"No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted" Aesop

Navigating the 'Transition' Phase of Change

"Your life is a story of transition. You are always leaving one chapter behind while moving on to the next."

Coping with big life transitions takes creativity and courage! It's a simple fact that most of us would prefer the things in our lives to remain familiar and stable. We strive to create routine in our lives, and make our world as predictable as possible. Routine and predictability make us feel safe, secure and in control. The challenge is often our desire for predictability can result in our being resistant to change. Oddly, even though we are so adverse to change, we are constantly in a state of change. The current pandemic is changing the way we live, our bodies are changing as we age, technology forces us to change, the people around us are changing, and our life circumstances are constantly changing.

Even the most courageous of us can feel some hesitancy at embracing a new identity or accepting a new challenge in our lives, especially if we are uncertain of how well we will survive or successfully navigate the change. After all, no one wants to fail and for many of us the stakes feel especially high now.

Noticing, acknowledging and accepting our resistance as a normal reaction to change will help us to better manage it. While it's true that we have no control over certain changes that are happening in the world, there is much we can do to prepare and protect ourselves. One aspect of preparedness is knowing the three phases of change-letting go, transition, and starting anew. Often people have shared with me that this information is very empowering.

The transition phase is the hardest because it is that 'in between' place where you have left behind the old and are uncertain about what the new will be. This is where you may feel vulnerable, anxious and in a state of flux. Here are a few tips to help you find comfort and some semblance of control when you find yourself navigating a sea of change in the transition phase:

  1. Do something that makes you feel in control. Choose a project that you can accomplish. Stick to it until you finish.
  2. Choose one or two areas of your life that you can focus on to impact your future success.
  3. Think bigger and see yourself successful. Use your visualization skills to see your best outcome.
  4. Accept that this is a challenging time. Give yourself grace and ask for patience from others in your life.

The transition phase of change can be difficult to navigate, but applying these few simple tips may help you to feel less vulnerable and uncertain, and more empowered and in control.



News and notes that will help you transition to your next chapter.

Practicing Acceptance

"Acceptance makes an incredible fertile soil for the seeds of change." -Steve Marabolli

We are living through difficult times during this COVID pandemic. Many of us may be grieving the loss of in-person visits with friends and loved ones, travel plans, finances and/or a change in our "retirement plans" to name a few. I want to honor that we all work through this process of grief at our own pace.

We've probably all heard at some point in our lives that acceptance is the trick to living a happy, worry-free life. However, some things are just unacceptable, right?

Well, sort of.

You see, "Acceptance" has two definitions. The one we're most familiar with is the one that allows us to accept new friends into our circles or accept something good into our lives. This kind of acceptance means that whatever you're accepting is adequate, favorable, or, you know, "Acceptable."

However, the core definition of "Acceptance" is to receive what's offered. This kind of acceptance comes into play when you accept a gift. This is the acceptance that accepts the passing of a loved one. This is the acceptance that accepts that the sky is blue, even though you might want it to be cotton-candy pink. This type of acceptance keeps you sane, and in touch with reality.

Here are 3 simple ways to practice acceptance for your health and happiness…

1. Accept What's Happening

Rather than giving into your judgements or attempting to micro-manage your experience, take a deep breath and accept that "It's like this now."

2. Accept Your Limitations You can't do everything. You can't control everything. Accept that you can only do so much, and you'll gain access to the strength and energy needed to do what you can , with everything you have.

3. Accept Uncertainty

Maybe things will turn out great. Maybe they'll turn out horribly. You don't know, and that's okay. You can't really forecast the future, so relax, and let go of the need to know.

In the world of Improv Comedy, players "construct" scenarios and act them out on stage. The trick? They accept everything that's offered, then add something to it.

Accepting things for the way they are is the only real way to make them the way you want them to be.

What's one small thing you can do to honor this moment, without judgement and shift how you feel?


Upcoming Event

Stay tuned for Fall Virtual Workshop Schedule
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Carol's Resource Corner

A Short Course in Happiness After Loss
by: Maria Sirois

-The book, "... A Short Course in Happiness After Loss brings to us a powerful intersection of the science of positive psychology and the wisdom necessary to thrive when facing life's harshest moments. In poetic, compassionate and yet fearless language..." -Amazon

-Check out this infographic for some science based activities to leave worry behind. by Happify

How to Leave Your Worries Behind Infographic

Copyright © 2020 |Carol Watkins Coaching, All rights reserved.
St. Louis, Missouri
[email protected]


December Midlife Newsletter

Carol Watkins

I am a work/life success coach with a passion for coaching energetic midlifer’s in transition. My mission is to provide tools for those entering their next chapter as they turn their visions into realities -- whether changing careers, exploring talents, or giving back to the community.

Discovering Your Own Inner Genius

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Albert Einstein

Has anyone ever told you you’re a genius? It’s true. Don’t believe me?

Think back to your childhood. Remember the time you invented a new game, turned that cardboard box into a magical fort, or imagined yourself singing on stage with your favorite band? You created something out of thin air.

Pretty genius right?

Do you still do that? Use your creative genius to solve problems and come up with innovative ideas?

On the other hand, have you ever talked yourself out of pursuing something you really wanted because you were convinced you lacked the creativity or told yourself, “I’m just not a creative person.” Many of us have lost touch with our creative genius.

The good news is our imagination is never far away – it just needs a nudge every once in a while to resurface.

How do you reconnect with your inner creative genius?

Here are 4 steps to help you free your imagination and rediscover your inner creative genius.

1. Play . Pick up some crayons or paint, stickers, colored pipe cleaners, Play Doh, old magazines, scissors, glue and a large piece of construction paper. Spread it all out on the floor and make a mess. Sketch, draw, paint. Be free to express whatever you feel.

Or maybe dancing is your thing. Or ping pong. Or skipping rope. No problem – do whatever it takes to loosen up the old noodle.

2. Learn from the experts . Think of the most creative and imaginative people you know. Study them. Interview them to learn about their creative process. What inspires them? What do they do when they feel stuck or lack focus or confidence?

Watch how children play and interact with each other. You’ll get great insight into how to access your own imagination. They’ll also let you know in no uncertain terms what’s fun (and what’s not!).

3. Get out . The theory of gravity wasn’t conceived inside the lab or an office. It happened in that iconic moment when Newton sat under the shade of a tree and observed a falling apple. Would a change of scenery help with your inspiration?

4. Ask questions . After the famous apple fell, Newton posed several questions, why did it fall down and not up or to this side or that? Posing the question ‘what if’ is a great way to trigger creative juices. It makes your brain consider alternatives to the status quo.

Developing your imagination is a great way to tap into your creative inner genius.

The next time you find yourself saying, “I’m just not a creative person” remember that creative genius is not reserved for a select few – all you have to do is play your way to it – how fun is that?


Upcoming Event
How to Live Forever
by Marc Freedman

The secret to happiness, longevity, and living on is through mentoring the next generation.

"How can a society with more older people than younger ones thrive? How do we find happiness when life is long and time is short?

Marc Freedman, expert and best-selling author, explores the meaning of life after 50 with Dr Nancy Morrow-Howell, director of the Friedman Center for Aging.

Where:Maryland Heights Oasis
When: Thursday, June 6, 10:00 - 11:30 am
Fee: $15
To register: call Oasis 314-862-4859

Exploring the Rewards of the Volunteering Pathway Workshop

When:Saturday,June 1
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Where: St Louis Community College,  Meramec Campus
To Register 314-984-7777 or Register Online

Are you looking for ways to "give back" in retirement?  Wondering how you'll use your time meaningfully?  In this workshop we will look at ways to recycle and revive your dreams while rethinking your opportunities through volunteering.
Copyright © *2018* *Carol Watkins Coaching*, All rights reserved.

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