Do you ever feel like the arrival of November marks the start of a crazy race to New Year’s? While it can be a season of gratitude, it can also feel like the holidays just add to our already miles-long to do lists. That’s why this is a great time of year to try to slow things down a little, and bring some calm into the chaos (especially after an intense election season!).
It’s time to rediscover the art of doing nothing
While all the technology we have in our pockets is amazing, and I love always having someone in my car who knows where to go (thanks Siri!), it can also be exhausting. The constant buzzing and dinging to remind us there is email to answer, kids with questions, and news stories to follow can be overwhelming. Our constant quest for more doing, in turn leads to less BEING.
Waiting for someone? Take out your phone and answer emails! Riding the bus? Time to catch up on the latest podcast. Watching TV? Why just watch TV when you can also catch up on Facebook and Instagram? But all of this doing has robbed us of the stillness in our lives – and I am challenging you to steal some of it back!
I know what you’re thinking – I’m too busy to be still! But, there are little places where you can carve out stillness that can have a big impact.
Take control of your calendar
Take a look at your calendar. I have a feeling it’s very full, but is it full of things you love? Things that you WANT to do? If not, I am going to challenge you to take control of your calendar, and see if it doesn’t help you feel more in control of your life.
Over the past several years, one of the greatest changes I have made is to get more white space in my life. Time to chill. I use my calendar to schedule things I love to do – or to schedule in nothing at all! That’s right, there is no rule that says you can’t schedule an hour of relaxing on your couch. In these ‘scheduled free’ hours, I might journal, read a book, take a nap, or anything else that feels right in the moment. You can also schedule in a quick afternoon walk, which can improve both your attitude and productivity (or if you can’t find free time for this, walking meetings can have some of the same effect!)
Once I made space for more stillness in my life, I found my mind to be more calm even in times that were decidedly UNstill. It helped me recharge and be ready for the more chaotic parts of my day. Indeed, there are hidden benefits to having more “chill” time in your life!
Do you want push notifications for this? NO. The answer is always no.
In addition to intentionally using your calendar, turning off your phone notifications (or at least designating ‘tech free’ times) can help you be more present in the moment. Be honest – do you really need to know that someone liked your Facebook post while you are in the middle of dinner? Do you need to check your email five minutes after getting home from a long day at work? No! So set aside some time each day where you commit to being focused solely on what is right around you, without the distraction of your phone. And the next time you download an app, and it asks to send push notifications, go ahead and say no. It’s a lot easier to avoid temptation than it is to resist it. Think about it – you can’t eat any brownies if there aren’t any in the house!
For me, I choose to ignore my phone for the hours after work before my kids are in bed. My time with them is limited and is a very high priority for me, so I want them to feel that I am truly present in this window of time. Now, if I am bored sitting there watching hockey practice, I can’t promise I don’t fire off a few emails, but it is not at the expense of time spent with them. They have better things to do than hang out with their mom, too.
Be the calm during the storm
Yes, it’s true, the calm usually comes AFTER the storm. But what if you can bring calm TO the storm? As you move through this holiday season, try to focus on more being, and less doing. Enjoy all the great things this time of year has to offer. Don’t make yourself crazy trying to be the world’s best hostess/parent/worker/giftwrapper that the world has ever seen. Instead, find little slices of stillness, and enjoy them to the fullest.
The bottom line? Make time to chill during your holidays. And let me know how it goes!