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
- Draw a simple snowflake
- On each spoke write a simple pleasure
- Add your own unique patterns, colors, or decorations
"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:
- Do something that makes you feel in control. Choose a project that you can accomplish. Stick to it until you finish.
- Choose one or two areas of your life that you can focus on to impact your future success.
- Think bigger and see yourself successful. Use your visualization skills to see your best outcome.
- 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.
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