Today marks the 30th anniversary of my sister’s death. You would think that after 30 years, I’d be “over it”. Nope. I still miss her and even more now, miss what our relationship might have become.
This week I participated in our Blue Christmas service at our Church. As I read the 40+ names of the “Angel’s” that our community has lost, my voice was strong and clear, until I hit the name “Glenda Fleming” my sister. I broke down. Not just tears as “most” people do, but sobs. I was grateful for the compassion of my friend Darlene who came to my side and helped me continue to read the remainder of the names.
I would be lying to you if I told you I love the Christmas season.
I work to make Christmas as joyous as I can,
To be honest, I’d much rather it be summer and I would prefer to be fishing at the lake. Oh don't get me wrong. I love some things about Christmas. I am one of the first to start listening to Christmas carols and they play continuously in my home. I love the lights. I love getting special gifts for special people. I especially love that our family all is together during this time.
For me, I look back over many Christmas’s and see events that dimmed the joy. I remember 3 years after my sister passed away, still fresh with the grief, I felt, very lonely. My husband and I had travelled to his sisters to celebrate the holidays. There was a houseful of people, yet, despite that, it felt like no one to experience my grief with me.
Another year, I had gone through some really challenging times a work and only 3 people showed up to the staff Christmas party I planned. Depressed and not sure I ever wanted to go back to work, I took two weeks off and tried, albeit not very successfully to “enjoy the holiday”.
The season is dimmed by many experiences
I know many of you have similar memories. Job loss. Relationships falling apart. Addictions. Always having to work. No one to spend it with. The list goes on.
The truth is, we all have a multitude of things that happen to us during the holiday season. We also have numerous things happen to us at other times, but there is something about the holiday season that makes it much harder to take. The songs and social media tell us “It’s the happiest time of the year”. Um…sorry to burst that bubble, but for some of us, it is not the happiest time of the year. In fact, it is a very difficult time of year.
Yet the show must go on
There are gifts to be bought. Parties to attend and food to cook. And honestly, it's no fun being a scrooge. So how do you do it?
Here is what I have learned about getting through the holiday season.
We create our experiences
This year, allow yourself to be human. Acknowledge your pain. Feel your hurt. It is real. What is also real is the fun, the joy and the good times going on around you.
If you allow yourself to enjoy, you will enjoy. But it is you who must decide, what kind of Christmas, it's going to be.
I plan to make it a memorable one. I will tuck lots of little moments of joy away in my heart adding to all the other beautiful Christmas memories I have.
It is through review and reflection that we do our best learning
and thus set the best direction for our future.
We need time to process
Have you ever said to some one, "Let me think about that" or "Just let me talk this through out loud?" That is why reflection is so valuable. It is how we make sense of things.
I developed some questions for you to look at as a review of this year. I want you to be intentional in looking at where you have been so that you can plan for 2015 more consciously. As I started to review them with my client, I realized they needed some work.
Take a look at the questions I listed in my video...and how they evolved this morning. Then, take some time to answer (likely the second set) them yourself.
Look how reflection changed my questions for you
Start looking at how this information can inform what you want for 2015. Start to look at the areas that you want to set goals and what they might look like.
Setting goals for the future can be a bit overwhelming and daunting. If you are looking for help, there are a number of places you can look. As a friend or spouse to sit down with you and help be your sounding board. One of my favourite thought leaders Michael Hyatt is offering help with his 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever offer. If you'd like to book a session with me to organize your thoughts and set some intentions, contact me here.
I posted this earlier this week on my other blog on my Women with Grit website. I think it fits here nicely this week as well. We all have "bad" days and days when life gets the best of us. Yet I know for me, "the show must go on". How do I do it? Keep reading to find out.
Last night, I got about 3 hours less sleep than I normally do. There are some things on my mind today, which are causing me to find myself fairly distracted.
Low energy and low emotions make it hard to focus and feel productive.
Yet, the reality is, that there are lots of days like this. Our lives are not perfect. In fact they are full of things that could derail us if we let them. A few times today it did derail me. Yet I persevered. I kept at it. At the end of the day, I have done most of what I intended to do today.
See, I have this desire, and maybe you do to, to be exceptional at what I do.
Know where you are going
Always have your goals and vision in mind. When you know what you are working towards and heading for, it’s easier to keep a bit of energy and excitement towards it, even when the reserves are low.
I completed my renewal application today for my ICF Credentials as Certified Coach. I am very proud of my coach training and the coaching I do. I also am clear that I am working towards becoming a Master Certified Coach. Seeing how far I’ve come and how firmly I am on the right path was motivation to keep moving through my day.
You continue on. When your mind wanders, you bring it back. When you get lost on something for a few minutes, you catch yourself and you bring it back. Be persistent with yourself. Life is up to us. We have to decide what we want and go after it. That requires hard work some times. If you are riding a bike up a hill, you have to just keep going. There are no real “tricks” to getting there. There are strategies around gears and body position yes. But ultimately, the biker needs to put in the hard work.
I always go back to my plan. My Omnifocus has clearly laid out what I am to be working on each day. In the way I set it up, it guides me and tells me I need to post a blog today. I didn’t have to think about what to do. I just have to do the work. Build strategies to help you persevere through challenging days.
An athlete doesn’t give up working out simply because of an injury, he just works his body in a different way. There were some things on my schedule today that I didn’t do. I didn’t have the energy or focus for them. So I adjusted and will do them tomorrow or the next day.
This morning I re-evaluated my day. I prioritized what was an absolute that needed to be done, and what was an “I hope to get done”. I made sure the absolute things got done. I saved my energy for the on-line training I did because my clients matter most to me. They need me at my best. Some of the others things, got draft quality…and will get upgraded, on a good day.
Stay focused. Be persistent. Adjust when need be, but keep moving forward. You will reach your goal!
Listen here for more info about getting through the rough days
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