When I mention “this time of year” what comes to mind? I’m referring to the time after Halloween and into the New Year. Do you envision rushing around, crowded parking lots and way too much to do? Do you tend to feel depleted or irritable and wonder why this is referred to as the season of joy?
Sometimes the feeling of disappointment that can occur this time of year comes from our expectations. It’s easy to feel self-doubt or overwhelmed, especially when advertisements and pictures on social media don’t reflect your messy, busy, or stressed-out life. You can set yourself up for frustration and confusion if idealized images and actual surrounds are not in sync. This year, don’t get swept up in commercialized or unrealistic notions of yourself, your family, or your home. Release the images you see on TV or in catalogs if that’s not who you are. You get to decide what “this time of year” is supposed to look and feel like.
If this season already entails more stress than satisfaction, here’s a new suggestion: Lean in and let go. What does this mean? Feel your stress. Acknowledge the sense of urgency and hectic pace. Accept that your family might not resemble a Rockwell painting. And then, let it go. Many feelings of discontent can come from your own resistance. Acceptance does not have to mean approval; it means acknowledgment of what is. Allow your experiences to just be, without having to struggle to make them different.
Try this: Take a few slow, deep, breaths. Observe what is truly present within you. Notice the thoughts, feelings, sensations, and images that arise without judgment. State this affirmation out loud or to yourself, “I love and accept myself, just as I am.” Resist the urge to “compare and despair” your way through the holiday season. Focus on all that you do have and all that is right before moving on with your day.
These are not empty gestures. Deep breathing and affirmations send powerful messages to your body and brain to create a shift in your mindset and physiology, reducing stress and allowing for greater ease. For more tips and strategies, join our upcoming workshop to learn how to take care of yourself by restoring balance, managing stress and reconnecting to your joy – during any time of year!
Anna Sandbank, LCSW is an integrative health and wellness coach with expertise that also includes over fifteen years as a licensed clinical social worker. She is the owner and founder of Well Within Coaching and is an Integrative Practitioner in Specialty Programs at the Chambers Center for Well Being.
Anna received her health coach training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She combines her knowledge in health coaching, emotional well-being, preventive wellness, mindfulness and holistic nutrition to focus on stress management, nutrition and diet, physical activity, personal relationships, workplace wellness, spirituality, self-care and work-life balance. Anna offers individual and group coaching to support clients in living their healthiest life and reaching their goals and dreams.
Connect with Anna: WellWithinCoaching.com
Join YWCA Bergen County and presenter Anna Sandbank for our Dec. 13 event, Holiday Reboot: Practical Tools to Restore Balance in Every Season! Register online today! Get more information about WEN is Now Memberships and upcoming monthly topics.