Home » Disgracefully good articles to help you age disgracefully well. » self-awareness

Tag: self-awareness

self-awareness-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

7 tips to help you manage the holiday season

Let’s be honest.

You have a love-hate relationship with the holiday season. You love-hate the partying, the abundance of food, the family time, the rush, the gifting, the music, the cheer, the lights, the traditions, the excessive consumption.

So you love-hate most things about it – except for the stress. You hate the stress.

I totally understand. I had a love-hate relationship with the holiday season myself – and it was more hate than love. It used to stress me out BIG TIME – so much so that by Christmas Day itself, I was almost out of good cheer. Sure, it was pretty complicated logistically – not surprising when your parents are divorced and you have to try to spend equal time with both parties. But that wasn’t all of it. Something just didn’t work for me. I continued to have this love-hate relationship with the holiday season until decades later – until I truly understood WHY. Why it bothered me so much when at its core was something I loved – sharing time with people I care about.

My ‘why’ was this. I found much of the holiday season inauthentic and forced. I also found that most of the original intention behind it – sharing time with loved ones – was lost. Lost in a fog of consumerism. And consumerism and inauthenticity go against my values.

Now I know this, the holiday season goes MUCH more smoothly for me. I avoid the bits I hate – I don’t play the consumerism game. I relish is the bits I love – I spend quality (i.e. unstressed) time with loved ones.

Here are my top tips for managing the holiday season.

  1. Get CLEAR on what you want from it. How much family time, how much partying, how much gifting, how much eating, how much tradition, etc.
  2. PLAN your time out so you spend it the way you want. If you don’t, you’ll end up spending your time the way others want you to spend it.
  3. Make sure you leave some ALONE time. You’ll need it to recharge yourself, even if you’re having a great time.
  4. Take a technology TIME OUT. Only check your messages, emails and social media a couple of times a day, turn OFF your phone and computer by 9 p.m. and don’t turn them on until after breakfast.
  5. Take FIVE when someone presses your button(s). Count to five and let it go – do NOT react, this only fuels the fire.
  6. Make PHYSICAL ACTIVITY a part of every day. Taking a 30-minute walk every day improves your mood – who can say no to that?
  7. Love MORE, fear LESS. Being grateful for what you have is a great way to foster love. Start a daily gratitude practice at the dinner table – get everyone to list three things they were grateful for that day.

This year, don’t use escapism – bingeing on food, drink, shopping, etc. – to distract you from the miserable time you’re having during the festive season. Take control of your feelings by being aware and preparing yourself throughly.

It will make your holiday season the best one yet.

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

unique-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

What makes YOU amazing?

If you asked an eight year-old the question: “What makes you amazing?”, I bet you’d get an answer. Maybe something like “My superpowers!” or “I can fly!”.

Ask an adult the same question, and you’re likely to get a blank stare.

Children believe that anything is possible, that they can do anything their imagination dreams up. So a question like “What makes you amazing?” doesn’t seem strange to them. LOTS of things make them amazing, because life is amazing!

By the time we’re adults, most of us have lost our sense of wonder about life. To be honest, it’s worse than that. We’ve been ground down by life.

Yet, “What makes you amazing?” is an important question for us to be able to answer.

What makes anyone amazing is what makes that person unique. And what makes us unique is who we really are.

Society puts the bulk of its efforts into making us all the same – we’re much easier to manage and control that way. But our souls, our true selves, just want our uniqueness to shine. This awareness deep within us is why we so often feel uncomfortable in our own skins, even lost.

Society has a ‘One Size Fits All’ approach. And we need an ‘I’m Unique’ approach.

A blank stare was my response the first time I was asked: “So, Sarah, what makes you amazing?”. I, someone who is rarely lost for words, had NO idea what to say. Sensing my discomfort, the questioner rephrased the question, asking: “What would your friends say is amazing about you?”. That, I could answer. Just about.

My utter inability to answer that question haunted me for days after the event. At that point in my life, I’d been working on my self-awareness for 25 years. But, with my back against the wall, I couldn’t say what made ME amazing.

Figuring this out became my mission. I’d already done a lot of work trying to understand who The Real Sarah was, but clearly hadn’t yet finished. I realised that, in order to answer the master question “What makes you amazing?”, I had first to answer some questions that lay behind it. After much reflection, I found that the responses to three simple questions provided the information I needed to answer the master question.

The three simple questions were:

  1. What’s important to you?
  2. What do you love doing?
  3. What are you truly good at?

And whilst the questions may be simple, answering them fully and honestly wasn’t! I had to peel back layers of conditioning to get at the true answers, but it was well worth it.

From the output of this exercise, I created what I call my Personal Statement – a few sentences that express who I am, what I do and how I live every day. I’ve changed the words many times over the years – each change reflected where I was along my path towards living my purposeful life. Now that I am living my purposeful life, my Personal Statement looks like this:

I know that love is stronger than fear, that life is an adventure, that being of service to others is our purpose, and that we are all amazing. I value PEOPLE, so I focus on healing lives for a more joyful existence. I value PURPOSE, because it’s the path to true self-fulfilment. I value COMPASSION, because we’re human beings in an often challenging world. I know that how I live my life is my choice, and I choose to live consciously, with passion, courage and creativity.

 

These 86 words are MY answer to the question “So, Sarah, what makes you amazing?”.

What makes YOU amazing?

Image credit: Sarah Blick

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).