At this end of the year, it's common to get burnt out and feel emotionally drained.
The reasons vary from person to person, but commonly include:
- Coming to the end of a (busy) year
- LOTS of social catch ups, late nights and foods & drinks that don't serve us.
- Willingly or unwillingly spending time with family members who stress us out or drive us mad.
This year with people across the globe restricted from seeing their families in person,
and having had restrictions, stress and fear heightened for the majority of the year due to COVID-19,
The emotional strain of the holiday season may bring up more feelings of isolation, frustration and longing than we've experienced in years gone by.
The good news is: You really aren't alone AND there are ways to keep yourself in balance, feeling energised and grounded during this time.
1. Set clear boundaries that honour your time and energy
Boundary setting is important at any time of the year, but particularly when get-togethers feel more obligatory.
If your Great Aunt Gertrude corners you again on Christmas Day for a 90 minute monologue on how you remind her of herself at your age (followed by a life story),
If your Dad makes it known every time you're together (including the week-long visit to your parents' house each holidays) the high standards he for you (that you're not living up to)
OR you can't say no and typically end up with half a free day in December because you go to every social event and spend loads of time doing things that run you down and drain you...
it's unquestionably time to set an energy-protection plan in place that can leave you feeling less drained, judged, berated, attacked or however you usually feel.
Get a piece of paper. Decide who you will connect with, how, for how long and how frequently. You can do this for groups (eg. "work colleagues") and also individuals.
Write it all down very clearly.
Sign it, have it witnessed by a friend or family member who will hold you accountable to it in a loving way, and STICK TO IT.
If you feel like you're getting dragged into a conversation or can't say no to a catch up or event, tell this friend and get their help until you get stronger at holding your boundaries firm.
If you "slip up", go easy on yourself. Learning new habits and setting up new systems can take time, and definitely take practice. Note down what you have learned from the "slip up", doing so from a space of curiosity. Also notice and note down what thoughts or emotions came up and what made you feel like obliging. As I always say - Awareness allows choice and our choices create our reality. By having more awareness around what's going on, you can more easily choose a different path.
2. Make your virtual connections (and in-person connections) with others meaningful.
Connect with friends and family in new ways that feel good. If your conversations are so-so and don't go beyond "How was your day?", "How's work?" etc. they could use a makeover. Think about how you can bring life, energy and a new level of connection to your conversations. Instead of "How are you?" could you ask: "What weird and wonderful things have happened this week?" "What did you love about your day today?" - good for people you live with / are in daily contact with. "How have you been doing emotionally with the Covid restrictions / lockdown / since you lost your job?"
"I haven't chatted to you about [your partner] lately, what's happening with you?" "What changes have come up for you this year?" It takes practice to change the way we communicate, and in relationships where the conversation has been shallow or stagnant for a while, it can feel difficult to crack into a new style at first. Ride it out. Your relationship and your own communication will be better off for it 🙂
Some ideas for spending time together in an enjoyable and meaningful way - play a game together (virtually or in person)
- visit a place you've never been before.
For those not in lock down, you could also do this virtually and show the other person around, and if possible, they could show you around too. You could also get some wanderlust vibes happening (if that doesn't make you sad) and explore somewhere via Google Earth together online; GET CREATIVE - the world is your oyster!
- have a themed dinner party (virtually or in person)
This year I have had a 3 virtual dinner catch ups with friends, and they were all so fun. Two of them were a Greek dinner and a Mexican dinner with friends.
Arranging to eat the same kinda food with the good old webcam set up actually helps you to get into the dinner party vibe as you chat over your meal,
ask others what they're eating etc. I HIGHLY recommend it. You could also do a costume party and go virtual with your lounge room "dance floor" if you wanted to!
- Have a virtual cuppa with someone - virtual coffee dates with friends are awesome for the same reasons as above, and you definitely don't need to be in lockdown/quarantine to do these! You allow an hour or two and have a good old chat, just like you would if you met up at a cafe.
3. Give what matters
I'm going to shoot straight here: sometimes I want to be someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas because I really dislike the consumerist culture that has been built around it,
but I also love to give someone something that just lights them up, something that they love and cherish. If you are giving a gift, make it count. Make it something thoughtful, caring, inspiring... something that will be loved. You can honestly do this with words in a simple card. I used to start in late Oct/early November and write to my friends and family, without A WORD about Christmas, I would thank them for what they had done for me that year, what a special person they are and share how much I love and appreciate them. This practice has fallen off my holiday habit wagon in the past few years, but every card (or even a Facebook "happy birthday") message I write at any time of the year is thoughtful and heartfelt. Eg. "Here's to you and your beautiful life Sarah! You bring so much joy to this world and I hope that you are feeling so much love from all across the globe today.
I trust that you'll make the most of your day and enjoy all the fun, adventure, peace, relaxation, laughter, love, challenges, triumphs and lessons in your year ahead. Celebrating you today, Bianca ❤️" Giving what matters is about living in line with your boundaries and beliefs too... if you don't want to buy a gift, DON'T buy one, and feel free to share why. At first some people might not get it, some may call you a scrooge or a Grinch, but honouring yourself and what you believe in is all part of giving to the world.
4. Give to YOU
THIS is of course always important, and for whatever reason, we need to be reminded. - Allow yourself the time and space to ENJOY whatever you are doing during this time... HONOR your needs and set those boundaries, baby! - Keep perspective on what's actually important in the big picture - Take mini moments for yourself on the busier/more stressful days - set alarms to remind you to smile, meditate or focus on gratitude for even 1-5 minutes. It really makes the difference. - FULLY receive all the love that is sent your way. Some of us are shocking at receiving gifts, compliments or attention. Take it in. Feel it. Fully embrace the words and smiles that come your way. Take time to pause, reflect on and FEEL the effort others have put into meeting up with you, getting you a gift or making you a meal. To do anything else would be self-deprivation. The joy and love, the peace and fun are all right there waiting for you! Enjoy this "festive" time, whatever it looks like for you. __________________________________________________________ CONNECT WITH ME
Laugh with Me Live I have ONE MORE Live online Laughter Wellness session this year via Zoom (and do not plan to continue them in 2021), check out the details and register for your spot here.