As we go full-steam into the busy holiday season, we’re featuring guest posts from three wellness professionals who specialize in helping parents feel more centered and energized. On January 23, coaches Cory Halaby and Molly Shrewsberry and nutritionist Stacy Kennedy are also leading the Wellesley Wellness Retreat, where they’ll teach moms strategies for self-care and managing family life all year long. If you live anywhere near the Boston area, register now for the morning program as well as yoga, private coaching sessions, nutritional counseling, and massage in the afternoon. It’s sure to be a motivational and relaxing day. Consider it a holiday gift to yourself—and your loved ones.
This first guest post is by Cory Halaby, a yoga and meditation instructor and owner of Within Life Coaching. Learn more at her website.
The holidays are upon us! How are you doing? If you’re a mother of young children you might still be acclimating yourself to the role of show-runner and executive producer of your family’s holiday spectacular. You’re now in charge of allocating your limited resources (time, money, and effort) to things like gifts, decorations, holiday cards, hospitality, charity, travel, family time, social events, school pageants, religious observance, etcetera. You are shaping your growing family’s traditions, memories and values. No pressure, though. Just good cheer!
If at any point you feel overwhelmed, sleep deprived, or dangerously disconnected from your sense of humor, I have an simple centering exercise to offer. Set aside 10 or 15 minutes—if you’re honest with yourself, you know you can find them—and squirrel yourself away in a quiet spot. Stash away your phone and grab a pen and three pieces of paper. Write a heading at the top of each page:
PEACE during the holidays makes me think of….
JOY during the holidays makes me think of…
LOVE during the holidays makes me think of…
Then, using the prompts you’ve written, do a “quick-write”—meaning, write anything that occurs to you, stream of consciousness style, for 3-5 minutes without stopping.
Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, sounding smart, or even making sense. Unlike most writing, the goal here isn’t to express your ideas. The purpose of quick-writing is to discover the raw material of your own thoughts with no editor or filter. Nobody will read them but you. And you can toss them out when you’re done.
As you write, focus on holiday memories you associate with peace, love and joy, as well as ideas for this season and future years.
For some reason, long-hand writing works better than ruminating in your head. Usually, once you start writing, thoughts you didn’t know were there start to turn up on the page. You might be surprised to learn that you associate “peace” with pjs and a new book on Christmas morning, or “joy” with plotting with your cousins to sneak extra chocolate, or “love” with the photos in your grandparents’ living room.
When you put your pen down, take a moment to dwell in the feelings of peace, love and joy themselves.
From this peaceful place, take a fresh look at your lists and plans for the weeks to come. If there are items that stand out now in sharp contrast the those feelings of peace, love and joy, you have my permission to drop them.
If you find one or two meaningful ideas to add to your list, like playing more music or reaching out to someone in need, go ahead. You’re in charge.
Most likely, you’ll discover more space for peace, love and joy in the special moments you’ve already got nestled up your little elf sleeve.
Whatever you do or don’t do during these short days and long nights, check in often with the feelings of peace, love and joy and let them guide you like your own personal North Star.
And try to get enough sleep.
To find out more about the Wellesley Wellness Retreat and register yourself or a loved one, go to the website here. The event will be on January 23, with morning and afternoon sessions.