In the whirlwind of holiday festivities and commercial frenzy, the true essence of the winter holidays often gets lost. What began as a celebration of light in the darkness, a time to uplift spirits and cherish the goodness around us, has, for many, morphed into an unsustainable race of consumerism, unrealistic expectations, and excess.
My life coaching clients and I are discovering that in the midst of it all lies an opportunity to reclaim the essence of the holiday season—a chance to foster a smaller, more manageable, and deeply meaningful internal celebration. Traditionally, winter has the potential to be a beautiful time of deep self-reflection. Taking a cue from Mother Nature with her shorter days and longer nights, prioritizing rest and stillness is a way to flow with the winter season. Instead of pushing ourselves to do more at this time of year, doing less may feel more aligned.
Of course, we still want all the expansive joy that the holiday season brings. I believe we can have it – as long as we set our intention carefully and mindfully. Wishing “goodwill to all mankind” is wonderful, but setting our intention more narrowly and specifically on the particular people, situations, and actions we have the power to influence can be more impactful and satisfying.
Here are my top 10 holiday self-coaching tips intended to help us get through the season with more ease, and more joy.
1. Reflect on Values: Begin by reflecting on what truly matters to you during the holiday season. Is it spending quality time with loved ones? Nurturing connections? Emphasizing gratitude and kindness? Appreciating the beauty of nature? Understanding these core values helps guide your holiday choices.
2. Simplify Traditions: Revisit “what you always do” or feel compelled to do and consider simplifying or modifying to align more closely with your values. Enjoy the gifts that don’t cost anything: winter beauty, holiday lights, the smell of pine needles, and your holiday music of choice.
3. Intentional Gift-Giving: Shift the focus from materialistic gifts to thoughtful gestures. It could mean opting for homemade or “experience” gifts, engaging in meaningful conversations, or allocating time for community service. You could organize a gift swap or Secret Santa among extended family members or colleagues.
4. Conscious Consumption: Be mindful of the environmental impact of your choices. Support local businesses, reduce waste by reusing decorations, and consider alternatives to traditional gift-wrapping.
Cultivate Meaningful Connections
5. Quality Time: Based on not-so-pleasant past experiences, combined with the upcoming impending mix of different personalities, many of us worry about family drama cropping up during the holidays. Of course, there are often very real difficulties surrounding the interpersonal dynamics of our family. But this year, instead of getting caught up in fuelling the fire, commit to being the solution or helping to keep the peace.
6. Gratitude Practice: If you have the capacity to read this post, it’s likely that you have more people, experiences and things in your life to be grateful for than you can possibly count. So start counting anyway, and when you get to 30 or so, pause, reflect and soak in the grateful feelings.
Self-Care and Reflection
7. Personal Retreat: If your schedule is chock-full of work and holiday parties, these back-to-back celebrations can start to feel overwhelming. Leave yourself time to be a human being and not just a human doing during the holidays. Schedule time to do absolutely nothing. Whether it’s by taking a few meaningful moments for yourself in meditation, conscious breathing, journaling, or making sure you enjoy your walk with the family dog, nurturing yourself is essential and can come first.
8. Setting Boundaries: Taking care of yourself allows you to be able to be more attentive and calmer when you’re with others during the holidays. Don’t neglect yourself in the name of everything that has to be done “for the family” or to close out the books at work. “No” can be a complete sentence. Setting boundaries allows you to focus on what truly matters and prevents overwhelming yourself with commitments.
Embody the Spirit of Giving
9. Foster Connection: During the holidays, you may spend time with people you don’t see or talk with during the rest of the year. The family gatherings and office parties offer opportunities to listen to people who need to be heard. Be mindful of the chances to listen without an agenda and be fully present.
10. Acts of Kindness: The holidays are a particularly poignant time to practice the art of compassion, to think of others needs before our own. There are so many opportunities to give during the holidays, including material things, smiles, time, and emotional support. This will certainly give your holidays more meaning.
Consider the Gift of Life Coaching this Holiday Season
Need an ally in this work? Give the gift of life coaching to yourself or someone you love this holiday season – it might be the best gift of all! Schedule your free initial Life Coaching consultation today. We’ll chart the processes you need to tune into that still, small voice of your values and intuition, approach every season of your life with intention, and revolutionize your relationships with active listening. Let’s explore how you can have what you want and live with more ease, freedom, joy, and meaningful connection to those around you. It can be now and it can be simple.
Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation to see if coaching with me will work for you. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach my clients over the phone, and I look forward to hearing from you.