The Holiday Season is quickly coming upon us and with its arrival we need to revamp our mindfulness. In this spirit, next week I will vacation from my blog, newsletter and website- so feel free to take the time to reread some past posts or take your own mindful break!
By now you have had some introduction to what mindfulness is and some ways to use it in your life. Mindfulness is beautifully simple and uncomplicated. When we are mindful, we are quieting the mind and focusing on our present experiences. Even those of us that feel seasoned and successful in mindfulness practices can get diverted from this state of being during the Holiday Season.
Part of the problem with the Holidays is we want them to “be” something. Therefore, we have expectations for them. We compare out and feel pressure to deliver certain things to those around us. Usually these are with the intention of giving the perfect Holiday Season to others. This year, I give you permission to be a little more selfish. Ask yourself what makes the Holidays memorable and special for you? Of the list of things you “have to do” for your Holiday Season- why do items make that list? Let’s make mindful choices this year for how and why we celebrate. Try this simple exercise (as always I advise not to do these exercises without the guidance of therapy sessions- so let’s schedule one of those, too!):
Make a list, drawing or representation of your choosing of what you plan to do for this Holiday Season. If that is already too overwhelming (hmm) then choose one holiday for the exercise. When you are finished, go through each thing you plan to do and “mini-meditate” on it. Consider it. Scan your emotions, scan your body. As you consider this thing, how does your body react? With tension? With warmth? What are your emotions associated with this thing? Stress, joy, something else? Ask yourself, why do you do this thing during the Holidays? For yourself, for others? Allow your mind to consider and hold this information as you think about this first thing. Your goal this year is a peaceful, mindful, happy Holiday Season. Does this thing fit into that picture? Continue the exercise as you go through all your plans. Amend them to take away or add what brings you closer to a more peaceful and enjoyable Holiday Season. Allow yourself to feel the anxiety of eliminating things you might be accustomed to doing from your list. Give yourself permission to do something different.
So often when there are big calendar events like during the Holiday Season, we become so focused on outcomes and making them “perfect,” we miss enjoying them for what they really can be: peace, happiness, family, love, fulfillment and more. This year your new Holiday Tradition is yourself: create a more mindful Holiday Season.
Talk to you again in two weeks (unless I see you in my therapy chair- go ahead- schedule something!)
Happy Mindful Days!
(c) 2018 Creatively, LLC
Hello, Creatives! I will be interrupting my usual post cycle this November as I travel and spend time with loved ones. The next blog post, live cast and newsletter updates will be on Friday, November 30, 2018. Individual sessions will still be held on a scheduled, limited basis during the month of November, and remaining workshops (come get unstuck with us!) will be held as scheduled. I will be reachable on a very limited basis during the month of November, so please utilize the Urgent Resources list (click the button below, or find on the client portal or under new patient paperwork on this website). Happy Thanksgiving!
From Multitasking to Mindfulness
I have posted on mindfulness before (look through past blog posts for the basics)- and this week’s Creatively blog builds our basic knowledge of mindfulness into application in our busy world.
We live in a society demanding us to be constantly moving, achieving, earning and doing- a frenetic pace necessitating multitasking to accomplish everything expected of us at the levels at which we are supposed to achieve them. We are expected to attain perfection at home, in relationships, socially, at work and *gasp* creatively, too. Any one of these is a full time endeavor, and we are endeavoring to achieve them simultaneously. Like any machinery- and like machinery our bodies are electrical and energy based- we cannot forever sustain this pace without consequences. Anxiety, depression, health problems and other disorders are prevalent today and part of the problem is we are running ourselves into the ground to meet impossible external standards (see last post on self esteem).
Today I suggest to you an alternative perspective: change from being a multitasker to a unitasker. Instead of push, push, push- what if you pumped the brakes and valued each task, individually? What if you honored and invested fully in each goal and aspect of your personal journey? Inevitably, the other things on your list would need to be set to the side, but I submit doing this with intention is liberating. What would happen? What would happen if you relaxed your standards of perfection? What would happen if you allocated energy to one project at a time, rather than everything at once? Would you be happier, healthier, less stressed?
Many creative people I talk to describe intense periods of creativity, followed by creative lulls where they become invested instead in self care, home projects, relationships and more. They feel guilty for not maintaining constant “level 10” creative output. Review the diametrically opposed creative personality traits blog post. Remind yourself the natural order of the universe is ebb/flow, expand/contract, and part of being a creative person is to have equal parts of very different tendencies. By giving yourself a rest from your endeavors, you are freeing up energy for your next creative push. (Of course, this is a different discussion altogether than “showing up” for creativity- and you will find a blog post here about that, too.)
In the spirit of parsimony and “unclenching” as I often refer to it in session, I will leave you today with the simple idea, and an illustrative exercise to test it with. Give yourself a week for this experiment. Take a written calendar- like a pen-and-paper calendar. Keep a list at the end of every day of everything you did, and at the beginning of every day of what you wanted to accomplish. Observe the changes that take place in the planning and the achieving over time. If you don’t notice changes, extend the length of the exercise. Come talk to me about what you find. Happiness can be found in unitasking.
(C) 2018 Creatively, LLC
The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.