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...
I was reminded this week of the way life moves at a pace all its own whether you are ready for it or not. One of my favorite people in my Friday reading group was absent for the last two weeks. I asked if he was on vacation but was told that because his disease had progressed so rapidly in the last month, he was moved to an assisted living facility. This day program is designed for those still able to live at home so I wouldn’t have the pleasure of Irv’s company any longer. My heart was heavy because this man had provided me with so many humorous anecdotes and stories of his life. I told him we would sit down and record of his memories once I purchased a decent recorder. I didn’t move fast enough…..
Today is your only guarantee.
Being that it is Father’s Day today, I am reminded of how my Dad loved to bask in the happiness of his children. It wasn’t until his father passed away that he admitted his dad never told him he loved him. My Dad knew Grandpa did love him but why was it so hard to say it out loud? As my Dad aged, he grew more sentimental and affectionate. There was never a time that I spoke to him that he didn’t remind me that he loved me. I carry this tradition through with my own children thinking what if this is the last time we speak? Now I know that is a bit morbid but let’s err on the side of morbidity just in case, huh?
I lost my Dad too soon. I knew the end was approaching and I felt a sense of urgency to convey a “lifetime of thank you” in a short period of time. I thought to myself, what will I regret not saying while I have the chance? So I chose a beautiful card and wrote to Dad letting him know that he shared many wonderful qualities and interests of which I was grateful. At the same time I may have inherited his stubbornness and impatience too! It was important to me to memorialize my thoughts.
My Dad encouraged me to find my own way and this is a big part of who I am today. I wasn’t the kind of kid that needed a lot of rules because not meeting his expectations was enough to scare the daylights out of me. I learned by experience. Yes, he was right that freshman shouldn’t date seniors but he let me come to my own conclusion after one miserable date. I even told him he was right! Finding my own way is an integral component of my success as a parent and business person. Most importantly, “finding my way” is what fuels me to discover both myself and the world. Finding my way helped me leave a dysfunctional relationship knowing I was going to be OK.
My Dad supported the idea that you don’t know unless you try….. but you can’t quit in the middle of the season! I wanted to play freshman volleyball and lucky for me everyone was accepted to the team. ...