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How this holiday season can be different

When we lose sight of what matters most, we often feel drained. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Couple with moving boxes

At the beginning of each December, I make some time to rest quietly for a few minutes and recollect my happiest memories of past holiday seasons. Slowly, I re-acquainted myself with each memory, and then I asked myself: how do I want to feel this season?

Usually a word or a phrase surfaces right away. Calm. Connected. Grateful. Delighted. These words become my anchors over the next few weeks, grounding me and guiding me back to what I want to experience during the holidays.


I invite you to pause, just for a moment, and ask yourself the same question: “How do I want to feel at the end of this holiday season?” If you don’t celebrate any winter holidays, the increasingly short days provide a wonderful opportunity to turn inward and reflect on how you would like to grow in the coming year. There’s no need to overthink this; just go with whatever easily arises. Now take another breath and let that desire settle into your being.

What you yearn for really matters.

Perhaps you want to feel relaxed, peaceful, connected, thankful, or steady. Maybe you long for joy, laughter, wonder, belonging, or delight. Likely more than one word or phrase emerged. Just note them, even if they seem contradictory.

Now, imagine these words guiding you this month. Allow them to strengthen your connection to yourself and those you care about. Let them become your deeper purpose for the season.

Make a plan. Once you acknowledge how you want to feel, think about the upcoming month and identify the rhythms, activities, relationships that would best support what you yearn for.

Look at your calendar. Let how you want to feel guide as many scheduling decisions as possible. Choose carefully. Give yourself the freedom to pull back a bit or say no to those things that don’t support what you actually want.

Remember: less is more. In the same way that we might declutter a room to create space for what you love, consider paring down the holiday season to those essentials that bring you the most joy. Let your deeper purpose for the season protect the commitments and relationships that are most important to you.

Rest. Please take care of yourself gently this month. Sleep and rest are essential in order to nurture connection to ourselves and those we love. Set aside time to recharge.

When I followed this process, I realized that I longed to feel generous, warm, calm, and connected at home and at work. For me, that means prioritizing time with my daughters when they are home from college, and so I chose to schedule a little less work in December. I must admit that I was initially uncomfortable with this decision, but when I reminded myself that it was completely aligned with what's important to me, I felt energized by my intentions for the season.

It feels so good to honor my purpose for the holidays, and I invite you to claim space for what matters most to you.


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