If it's November and you're feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated or tapped out, it must be The Holiday Season!
That term covers a whole bunch of celebrations, traditions, rituals - and expectations. Much of what we expect and think of as "normal" we learned very early in our lives and have never questioned. But always remember: you get a vote.
It's always true, of course, that you get a vote in your own life's decisions and choices, but at times like the holidays it can easily be forgotten, for all kinds of reasons: tradition ("we ALWAYS have outdoor lights"), media ("make these delicious cookies that your whole family will love!"), other people's requests ("we'd love for you to host the book club holiday party this year, you're such a great organizer"), and many others.
What do you actually want and need right now?
Set aside all of the above-mentioned reasons for doing things the usual way this holiday season. For just a moment, imagine none of those expectations existed - really take a minute to imagine yourself in that space. What do you need and want, right now, physically, emotionally, mentally?
It takes getting still and checking in with your heart, mind and body to access your own needs, and they can be buried under layers of feeling responsible for others and not wanting to be selfish. But trust that your needs are there, and let them bubble up into your mind. For example,
Do you need a break physically - a nap, a foot massage, a long walk, a hot bath?
Are you thirsty? It's incredibly easy to become dehydrated and begin to experience the symptoms without realizing you need to drink some water.
Are there feelings coming up that you might not have noticed, or have been pushing away? We're relentlessly urged to be cheerful, generous and happy during the holiday season when the fact is that there are all kinds of emotional baggage connected to this time of year.
Are you feeling overwhelmed or scattered? If you have a to-do list that keeps growing and you haven't ever questioned what is on that list or what choices you have, you might have far more buzzing around in your head than you ever would have imagined.
Try writing a list of what is coming up for you, on paper, without judgement. Consider it a brain dump and keep in mind that you don't have to change anything right now: this is an exercise in awareness. Just write freely and get selfish!
When you've written down everything you can think of, pause and take a few deep breaths. How does it feel to see this list? What is the physical experience of checking in and writing down what you find - any tightness, sensations of heat or cold, tingling, anywhere in your body? Again, there is no right or wrong answer, just an awareness of your heart, mind and body in this moment.
At this point you have any number of choices about what to do next. You can post your written list where you can see it, as a reminder that you are in touch with your needs. You can pick one thing on that list to put into action - take a nap, choose one thing to take OFF of your to-do list, get a hug. You can read the list out loud, which can be tremendously powerful. You can commit to revisiting this list regularly, adding to it or changing it, to keep connected to your own needs.
This is the first step in a wellness practice that can grow exponentially, because 1% of possibility is all it takes to change everything! Creating a practice of tuning into your own needs and consciously examining them is the tiny crack the the dam of self-denial and overgiving, and it can lead to all kinds of mind-blowing, life-changing events. If you'd like to learn more about Call Me Unstoppable™ and our approach to women's wellness, feel free to schedule a free half-hour call, follow us on Instagram, and check out our signature online program, Unstoppable U™. And remember to question your holidays!