The holiday season is here. And with it comes an opportunity to reclaim peace, joy, and meaningful connection. I recently found myself in the midst of overwhelm when I had a small moment of insight. Just what I needed, a reminder as we head into the holidays.
“I know…. But can’t we just pause for a moment here? Can’t we just recognize and celebrate how far we’ve come?” I say this to the other leaders in the room as we continue to list out all of the obstacles we’re facing and the things we need going forward. “Months ago, this didn’t even exist, and we weren’t sure if it would even work.” I get a nod from one of the other principals as he says, “I was very impressed by what I saw when I came in yesterday to observe. We are seeing progress with these students.”
I came home at the end of the day after a long week, feeling wholly depleted. It had been yet another week of what felt like constant pivoting, redirecting, and catching whatever was tossed our way. I took to my yoga mat and journal to do some reflection. It’s funny; I did not have any moments of insight then. I just paused. I allowed myself time to feel all the emotions I hadn’t had time or space to feel. Afterward, I found some moments of connection texting with a friend, and I allowed myself to indulge in a small bowl of ice cream as I laughed along with a show. Then I slept.
When I woke up, I kept hearing the conversation from the day before as I contemplated what needed to be done. Inside, the voice was stronger, less of a question and more of an answer. You need to pause. That’s what you need to do next. This IS the time to reflect, recognize, and celebrate.
Given that Thanksgiving is this week, you’d think the idea of pausing to reflect might not have felt so revolutionary. After all, the whole tradition is literally about taking time to give thanks. We know the science behind the practice of gratitude. We know that high performance isn’t achieved without rest. We know that we derive a greater sense of meaning from connection with others. We know all of this, yet it’s still so easy to allow the overwhelming call of the never-ending to-do list to take center stage.
We talk about this every year. Every year the need to be intentional about the holiday season is there. Blame our human wiring, blame our culture; I’m sure many factors contribute, regardless that’s not the topic for today, as fascinating as I find it. Today I’m here, and I’m inviting you to join me in bringing a sense of intention to this year’s holiday season. This is the time to reflect, be grateful, and protectively pursue those moments of joy, meaning, and connection.
To be honest, I feel much less prepared than I do some holiday seasons and wasn’t sure I would do this year’s campaign, but I realize I need this, perhaps more than all previous years. Even if I write and share just for me, that’s ok. Yet I have a feeling that I’m not the only one who could use the reminders, support, and encouragement. (I’m also hopeful we might hear from some of our friends from last year too.)
Here’s what I intend to do this week:
- Make a list of things to recognize and celebrate over the last year
- Turn up the Christmas music, decorate, have fun…. and let go of perfectionism. (My apartment isn’t the set of a Hallmark movie.)
- For Thanksgiving, I’m headed to Tennessee with the kids to visit my Uncle. He and I have intentionally not set an agenda, only a goal of keeping everything comfortable, easy, and fun. We have specifically had several conversations about the expectations. So at least we’re off to a good start.
What About You?
What would it look like for you to take a moment of reflection in gratitude?
How can you let go (even a little) of perfectionism and comparison?
What expectations do you need to be clear about, and who do you need to share those expectations with?
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