Are you dreaming of a happy and relaxing holiday season? I'm also looking forward to it - spending time with my family and close friends, eating well, having fun activities and drinking glögi (Finnish hot wine) in candlelight.
Then comes the BUT.
I find it difficult to detach from my work, clients and business. There I said it out loud. I'm a little bit ashamed of it and I'm not sure why or why not.
I enjoy my work and coaching business which I'm not ashamed of - quite the opposite! I have so many new ideas and ways to help my clients and new clients that I can't wait to progress them. My robust idea generation ability I'm not ashamed of either - I would hire myself for generating business, service and concept ideas! I also love working with my clients and I want to be available when they need my help. But maybe they also want to take a break from business and career growth planning and enjoy their holidays.
I also know for a fact and personal experience that the human brain needs some time off, make some room for new thoughts and recharge to thrive again. Mine too. So I want to find ways to disengage from my work activities. Can I? I don't know and that might be the reason what I'm a bit ashamed of myself. I feel like as a coach having the tools to coach myself to do that I should succeed. I can only try my best. And plan ahead!
Does this sound familiar to you? Do you also find it difficult to leave your work tasks waiting, leave your interesting studies, leave progressing your next career steps or applying for new jobs, leave your business "running" - whatever you have occupying your mind on a daily basis?
Last year was my first winter holiday building LIVIO JOY while finishing my coaching certification. The year-end had a lot of coaching clients, being coached myself, writing a business plan while completing the papers from my diploma. Not to forget developing my service concepts, marketing activities, networking events and serving potential clients. There I was spending long days on my laptop in a lockdown.
I was so excited yet anxious to get everything done that I forgot to take a real break - a mindful break allowing myself to take some time off. Christmas came and went by. To be honest I don't remember now how much time I took for myself and for my loved ones. Some.
This year, I want to be more mindful of taking me-time, relaxing and doing other things that find important. In return, I know I'll be more energetic and ready to thrive for the next things.
As a certified personal performance coach, I have plenty of tools and methods to try! Too much that I had to narrow them down so that they can work. So here are my top 5 ways, for me and you, to try better detach and relax while enjoying and making the most of our holiday season.
1. Put your needs first
During the holiday season, there might be many people waiting to spend time with you and inviting you over for different occasions. This sounds lovely like it is. To enjoy the company of the people that matter to you the most I suggest listening to your needs first. This might sound the opposite you want to do but let's try.
Notice how much you need time to be just by yourself and doing what you need and especially what you want to do during your time off from work, business or other professional growth activities.
You can list the things that are important to you
Look at your calendar and see how many days you have
Put your desired things on the calendar
Remember also the essentials like sleep and relaxing
See how much you have time for other things and
make plans with others and schedule them based on that
It might sound weird to put your needs activities first, especially if you have many people to think about, meet and spend time with. But do remember that they might also enjoy your company the best when you have had time to relax and do what you find important. Would you try this?
2. Schedule me-time
What is me-time? With my client who had so much on her table, we looked at her ideal week: how can we add more those things that she wants in her life. She knew deep down that investing in her me-time so doing what she brings her harmony, joy and fulfilment will help her thrive at work, studies and explore a career path aligned with her objectives. So, while she was actually able to slow down her hectic lifestyle and find more time for her important activities and relaxation, she was also able to set realistic goals and progress her professional targets. Pretty amazing, isn't it?
I recommend adding me-time, those important activities on your weekdays already before holidays. So, the shift is smoother and you get more comfortable spending time with yourself and doing what you want. Shouldn't come as a surprise then when you actually have more time to spend as you want it!
3. Practice being alone
This might sound funny especially because during the past few years we've had nothing but time to be on our own or in our small bubble. What I mean by this continues from the previous me-time prompt; whatever you have scheduled for yourself stick to the plans and focus being present in your activity. The present moment is the only moment when we can truly be happy and enjoy - not in the future or past activities. The means can mean different things for each and every one but here are a few examples and suggestions:
When reading a book, hide your phone: you can even set an alarm for how long you want to be reading (and away from your phone)
or if you prefer listening to online books, you can mute notifications or use aeroplane mode.
When taking a walk, pay attention to your environment: what do you see around you, what is beautiful, what is interesting. Perhaps you'll find a spot to just be and breathe.
When having a warm bath or sauna (like we do in Finland after a crispy walk), do a short mindfulness exercise: if this doesn't sound like you, just try to listen to your body and breathe for a few minutes.
What are your mindful activities?
When you want advanced practice, enjoy alone time with someone else. This still means that you are focusing on your own activities but in the same space. Just the presence of someone can help you focus on yourself and you can hold each other accountable for being mindfully tuned into your things.
4. Combine with self-compassion
Do you still feel like there's always too little time and too much you want to do? I've never heard a person say they wished their holiday had been shorter. Though, I've heard of some who have had time to recharge well and do many things that they feel ready for work again.
If you don't seem to find enough time for everything you'd want to do over the holidays, prioritize them again: what is important to you, essential for your well-being and doing now before the new year, and what you want to do with others, with whom and what they care about, what is nice to do and less important. What you will say no to.
When you have found your priorities, make sure you have time for them. Try to picture what would be the impact of not having these things on your holiday?
To fit a little more, look at your lists again and combine what works together. But remember not to overperform - it's a holiday season!
Calling your friend while having a walk
Connecting with someone by reading/listening to the same book
Joining someone else's important activity to try out a new hobby while spending time with them
Treat yourself with compassion when it comes to planning. How much do you give room for flexibility and just being? What is left and you don't have time now, try to schedule them on your weekdays and upcoming weekends to shift smoothly back to work.
5. Give & Experience
Giving to others has shown to bring more joy than getting something for yourself. If you had 20 minutes, 20 Euros, a 20-Dollar gift card to give, how would you spend it on/with someone?