Feeling overwhelmed by your life and work as the holiday season and new year approaches?
Not sure how you are going to handle all the work due (before everyone takes time off) and home commitments (another holiday school concert!) and the extra responsibilities of the season (like cooking, cleaning and arriving relatives)?
Feel like you are skidding into the end of the decade in a heap? In perhaps your worst form?
I believe the only way through any busy month, any perfect storm, or any stressful situation (even if it’s “happy stressful” as the holidays can be) is through your well-being. I have thought about this from every angle—when I was sick with two autoimmune diseases and cancer, my well-being was the only way out. When my home flooded this summer and I unexpectedly had a huge construction project to deal with, my well-being was the smartest path to navigate the disaster. Same with the upcoming holiday rush as we launch into a new decade. Well-being is your answer.
In the middle of a season where we tend to focus on others, this is a radical shift. However, if you focus on you and your well-being, you will be shocked at the positive, magical results. What if you could get through your upcoming work and home responsibilities with a sense of flow, of ease, more like your best self, and hopefully, with happiness? Yes, yes and yes!
With inspiration from my recent book, I have some unexpected tips that could save you in the next few weeks:
1. Be intensely mindful and finish things faster.
With whatever you are doing, give it your full focus. That work deadline on Friday? Give it your full attention. Shut your door and let fellow colleagues you are focusing for an hour. Getting a Christmas tree with the kids? Put your phone on silent and be fully there.
I contributed to a recent Fast Company article on how to be mindful and proactive at the same time—not only is it totally achievable, it’s preferable. Give whatever you are doing your full focus, your absolute all, and you will start efficiently flying through tasks with that amazing feeling that you did your best. That feeling -let’s call it pride– greatly enhances well-being.
Some tasks causing overwhelm at this time of year are necessary but mundane (grocery shopping, laundry), but with this intensely mindful strategy, you can amplify the experience to contribute to your well-being. For example, while running boring errands, I donned a furry snowman hat for fun, was present to the people I passed, and it brought so many smiles that by the end, I had a spring to my step.
2. Make that tricky work “ask” now and revel in it being off your chest.
Not sure if you should wait until the new year to ask your boss for that raise, or ask for the additional resources that would make you so much more successful? Do it now. From working for more than 22 years with CEOs and senior executives, I can tell you that the end of the year is a fabulous time for a well-thought out, intelligent approach. Why? Most senior executives are in better moods in December, the main push of the year is over, and, there tends to be a bit more lightheartedness in the office (my own office even has a super fun, ugly sweater contest- now that would be a great day for an ask!).
Strike while the iron is hot. Senior Wealth Management Executive Michelle Arpin-Begina, who works in Manhattan, used this past week to present an “ask” to her company’s leadership team about her book and public speaking ideas in the new year. I think it’s safe to say that she appears organized, goal-oriented and ready for success. You can too.
3. Set a personal life well-being boundary and breathe a sigh of relief
If overwhelmed or anxious, see if you can pinpoint a cause, and take a “neutralizing” action.
Last week, a Fortune 25 company manager, who is also a single mom, explained to me that after her 10-hour day (including her commute to and from Long Island to NYC), she is really exhausted when standing over the stove at 8pm, cooking dinner for her 11 year old girl. My solution: Stop cooking during the work week. That night, based on our conversation, she set out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, sliced apples, and raw carrots with ranch dip. Done! She reported back that she actually sat down with her daughter and they had an unexpectedly great conversation.
Riddled with anxiety that Uncle Mike is going to say something racist at the holiday table? Tell him in advance that won’t be tolerated this year. Worried your guests will argue about politics? Tell them this year that topic will be off-limits. The key is to express this in advance, and to keep it positive by saying what you DO want: I want a peaceful and beautiful holiday that we can all remember as our best yet! If they don’t agree, un-invite them: they made their choice.
Speaking our truth is one of the greatest well-being gifts we can give ourselves. By modeling this, you also teach your loved ones how to stand up for what they believe. Your only regret? You will wish you had done this sooner.
4. Move your body to change your energy and move forward better than ever
Many of us take one look out the window at the cold rain or sleet and that winter jog doesn’t seem so appealing. That being said, fresh blood pumping through our veins and into our brain can reboot us as much as a nap can. Google “hotel room workouts” and see dozens of ideas for indoor exercise inspiration. See your energy rise to meet your to-do list.
These four suggestions are about focusing on your well-being to leverage your own power. Think of your well-being as a booster, a vitamin, a power source. Each suggestion gives you the push toward the success you deserve.
Megan McNealy has devoted her career to helping others reach their highest potential in their personal and professional lives. Her work has been featured in the UK Telegraph, Fast Company, Chief Executive, Business Insider, and on the Mindvalley Podcast to name a few. Megan is simultaneously an impact entrepreneur and a prominent Well-Being Thought Leader who founded Well-Being Drives Success, a multi-faceted platform designed to serve those in our workforce who strive for exceptional wellness and extraordinary success.