You can be intentional and productive
This December I decided to get intentional, take my own advice and to step back a little bit.
This is still an interesting concept for me. For those you who follow me and know a little bit about my journey you will know that I climbed the corporate ladder for a long time. I have pushed myself to the furthest degree (to my own detriment), I have worked late, early, though lunch and over holidays just to keep up (note: not to get ahead, just to not fall behind). Like many, I have taken my smartphone on holiday and to bed with me at night* never missing an email or text that pinged my way, no matter what time.
So what did I learn?
I learned that working all of those hours made me a bore. Working late, early and through holidays made me so run down I could barely continue to function never mind excel and every single Christmas what happened? I got sick. You could guarantee that as soon as I set my out of office (yeah, like I wasn't going to check those babies over the holidays!) I would get flu or tonsillitis coupled with cold sores or the worst ever, a month long bout of severe Vestibular Neuronitis**
It was nasty.
But you don't know what you don't know right? I didn't appreciate that my behaviour was a choice. That may sound ridiculously simple and obvious to some of you reading this but when you're in it up to your magnetic eyelashes (have you tried them? they're amazing!) I really couldn't see past it. I was in the doing and not the strategic thinking of the job and its a classic mistake. In fact it took my poor body to lay me flat for the entire month of February (having already put me into quarantine all of my favourite day of the year, Christmas Day, with a violent stomach bug) for me to accept that I had, in fact finally hit the wall.
So, what's the point in me telling you all of this? Well, I've been talking to some of you lately and many of you are struggling with the particularly difficult demands of December. As women we typically take it all on our shoulders to plan, prepare and execute the perfect Christmas but why? Why do we put ourselves through it when in fact we can delegate, let go of the reigns (nobody panic, we don't have to let go completely) and actually, god forbid enjoy ourselves! It's all about choice and setting our own individual boundaries.
Thats exactly what I did two years ago and I've never been happier, I'm not saying I never get stressed out or overwork myself, it happens, but I've learned to forgive those moments and be easier on myself. I let it go and move on and you can too.
To help you along the wonderful Susan Smalley, one of our gorgeous Guest Editors wrote a blog, just for you, and for those of you looking to start setting your boundaries and taking back some pleasure from your holiday season this is the one for you today. You can catch it in The Sanctuary Space section of the website or here.
And just for major added inspiration, one of my most favourite writers Courtney Carver of Be More With Less (you may have seen her in the Netflix documentary Minimalism, live a meaningful life or even tried her Project 333clothing challenge) wrote a blog this week about what to do if you crave a slow quiet holiday season, I loved it so much that I reached out to her and asked if we could share it with the community. She happily agreed, thank you Courtney, and so here it is!
Wherever this email finds you, know that it's OK. Read the blogs, drink some hot tea (or a G&T, whatever works) and take a few minutes back for you.
I believe in you.