Where did the year go? The days leading up to summer and the July 4th weekend moved at a snail’s pace and now it’s December 9th. Geez Louise!
While I welcome a cool, rainy winter, once the days lengthen my energy dramatically decreases. I wouldn’t say I fall into a funk but my need for reflective solitude and sleep significantly increases. It’s ironic that my desire for “quiet time” falls during one of the most socially demanding seasons of the year.
What strategy will keep you healthy, the ultimate priority, yet engaged with friends and family? The first step is setting your intention for what you feel is a healthy commitment level — think about what works well for you BEFORE the invitations arrive.
My Girlfriend Voice’s Social Season Survival Tips
1. Strike a balance. You don’t have to say yes to EVERY invitation. I prefer a relaxed Sunday evening because Monday mornings come too soon. “Thanks for inviting me but I am not available.” Short, simple and timely. Truthful and the sooner the better.
2. Create an EXIT strategy. When you say yes, plan the duration of your visit before you arrive. If you carpool then you are dependent upon someone else. Is it better to drive alone or take a car? I also tip off the hostess that I am stopping by but won’t be able to stay long.
3. Tell the TRUTH. You don’t have to make up an elaborate excuse for why you cannot attend or why you plan to leave early.
4. No ghosting. Don’t avoid responding because it’s seriously inconsiderate. #dontberude
5. Be mindful of how alcohol and sugar impact your mood. Alcohol definitely impacts my mouth! ‘Tis the season to overindulge but wisely.
For those hostesses I know well, I will share that my anxiety is at it’s highest during the holidays so I’m striking a balance between the parties and my quiet time.
6. Feeling obligated. There is something about the word “obligation” that drives me nuts! I am thoroughly grounded in the belief that I always have a choice. Obligation negates choice. If I feel obliged to see someone or attend an event, a kernel of resentment is planted. I feel stuck. I much prefer choosing how I spend my time and with whom I spend it!
My love language is definitely doing for others. And because I equate loving with doing, it’s easy to overdo. It’s easy and I enjoy it! So how do I strike a healthy balance?
1. I stay present to the sensations in my body. The body doesn’t lie. Whats your gut telling you?
2. With curiosity, I take inventory of my feelings. It’s an objective summary — no shaming.
3. I’m especially tender with any “shadow” feelings; sadness, grief, frustration, etc. All feelings are valid.
4. Feelings drive actions. If I want to feel peaceful, what actions will enhance peaceful feelings? I align my actions with how I want to feel.
5. Finally, surround...
In the bank parking lot yesterday, a car was backing up not realizing there was a woman walking directly behind them. I grabbed the woman’s arm, saying “watch out!” and pulled her out of danger. Was she thankful? No. She uttered a monotone response “…..please, I know” as she brushed off her sweater.
Please what? Please save my life on another day? And you know “what” exactly? Obviously you don’t know that those little back up lights mean steer clear of a moving car’s blind spot. Next time I will let you live the consequence of your stupidity.
“Cara Ann, what kind of example is that of your Christmas spirit?” I’m busted. The truth is that there are days when I am tired of being an adult. Or should I say, I am tired of being responsible. I am tired of thinking before I speak. Being nice is seriously overrated. I have exhausted my charm, my patience and my goodwill. Today is one of those days.
I am in a Christmas Crisis.
Example: Instead of biting my tongue while you complain (again!) about your life, I will tell you to, “get a life”. There are people with real problems, like me. I have been shopping for weeks to find boot cut cords and every damn store has skinny cords. Skinny cords are great for teenagers and super models. I will however, restrain my urge to surrender to fashion because I am not going to be a “what not to wear” commercial.
Example: When you talk loudly on your cellphone in the coffee shop, I am going to use my best Samuel L. Jackson impersonation and say, “Shut the Fuck Up!” Let’s break this down. You come in, order your low fat two pump 170 degree gingerbread latte and return to your car on average, in less than ten minutes. Your conversation can wait ten minutes until you return to the privacy of your vehicle! I do not care about what she said and what he did or what time Susie needs to go to her birthday party. Text if you have to but please, STFU! The coffee shop is not a confessional, a soap box nor a supernatural bubble where we can’t hear your blathering on (and on, and on…..).
Example: You people that take your (non-service) dogs shopping have to stop. This may come as a surprise but dogs don’t like shopping and I don’t like to see your dog while I am shopping! I feel qualified to say this because I am a dog lover and dog owner but stores are for people. Please……leave Fluffy at home. Fluffy needs his beauty sleep. Oh, and the stores that post signs, “service dogs only”, please grow some balls and enforce the rules.
Example: The children, pumped on sugar wreaking havoc in restaurants well after their...