The Working Moms’ Guide to Surviving Enjoying the Holidays


‘Tis the season to be jolly, right?  If you’re like a lot of other working moms, the holidays can be a stressful time, no matter how hard we try ( or maybe because we try so hard) to enjoy them.  On top of our already packed schedules, somehow we have to squeeze in shopping for gifts, wrapping, decorating, sending cards, baking, holiday parties and family visits.  It can be overwhelming.  Worse, the holidays fall during the shortest days of the year, which, for those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, can spell depression.  So what’s a busy working mom to do?  Here are some ideas for not only surviving the holidays with your sanity intact, but actually enjoying them.  I’ll be exploring each one in detail over the next few weeks.

1.  Take care of yourself.  The “winter blues”, neglecting workouts, overeating, drinking too much, putting pressure  on ourselves to do it all:  these things can make us feel awful.  On top of that, we feel guilty for feeling awful when we’re “supposed” to be full of tidings of comfort and joy!

2.  Prioritize your time and simplify your schedule.  When I stayed home with my kids, we made cards from scratch, plates of cookies  for everyone we knew, and gave handmade gifts.  After returning to work full-time outside the home, I knew something had to give.  Also, now that the kids are involved in their own activities, we don’t attend every event. There is such a thing as too many parties.

3.  Make the holiday meaningful.  For those for whom the holiday has religious significance, maintaining religious tradition is the obvious way to do this.  But even non-religious people can find ways to focus on the spirit of giving and sharing love with family and friends, for example by volunteering.  Giving gifts  that have meaning is another way to reduce the commercial aspect of the season.

Happiness is something we can choose, and there’s no better time to focus on being happy and peaceful than the holiday season.  It’s the greatest gift we can give ourselves and our  families.  Tune in next week for tips on caring for yourself through the holidays.

 

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How to Really Feel Thankful


With the holidays upon us, we may look forward to enjoying the company of family and friends, good food and time off.  Or we may not.   Extra shopping, preparation, travel and other additions to our already packed schedules can make the holidays feel stressful.  Also, as the days grow shorter and winter approaches, many people feel depressed (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  Feeling stressed, anxious or depressed when we tell ourselves we are supposed to feel cheerful can make it even worse.  We feel guilty about feeling sorry for ourselves when we know we should be grateful.  After all, we have much to be thankful for:  if you are reading this, it means you have a computer with an internet connection, making you more wealthy than 95-97% of the world’s population.  Still, knowing we should be grateful and actually feeling that way are two different things.  So how do we get back to feeling thankful?

One simple technique is to keep a gratitude journal.  It sounds too easy, or maybe too cheesy.  How can writing down what we’re thankful for help when we don’t feel that way?  The answer is to start small.  Promise yourself that every day for a week, you will write three things you are thankful for, either when you first wake in the morning or right before you go to bed.  Try to write three different things each day.  You will be amazed when simple phrases and sentences turn into paragraphs and pages.  Albert Einstein said, “Everything’s energy and that’s all there is to it.   Match the frequency of the reality you want and you can’t help but get that reality.”  This quote explains why gratitude journals work.  I find that writing in the morning changes my outlook for the whole day.

Remember to give thanks.

Keeping a gratitude journal can re-focus our priorities:  if we’re grateful for our husband and kids, why are we spending more time working and less time enjoying them?  It also sets a great example for our children.  When we can articulate what we are grateful for, it helps them to do the same.  That’s important, with Christmas approaching and long lists being written; it can help kids to re-frame their outlook as well.  Why not try it for the days leading up to Thanksgiving?
How do you remember to feel thankful?  Please share in the comments.

 

EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT! BECOME A MEMBER OF NEW FRONTIERS LIFE COACHING!


Jenny is committed to making coaching available to ANYONE who wants to change their life, regardless of budget, and that’s why she’s so excited to offer you a new monthly subscription plan.  For just $47/month, members will receive:

  • weekly, self-guided coaching lessons
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  • a monthly, 30-minute, private “laser coaching” session with Jenny

To subscribe, simply go to http://www.newfrontierslifecoaching.com/Contact-Us.html,  fill in the form with the message “subscribe” and you will be billed via email monthly.  Call Jenny at 970-819-4661 with any questions.

Give yourself the best Christmas gift of all and start off the New Year with an investment in  YOURSELF!

 

 

A Working Mom Success Story


Last week, I wrote about Why you deserve to be happy and questions to ask yourself if you’re notSo what happens if you decide you’re NOT happy in your current work situation and you want to change it?  The very thought can be overwhelming to a lot of moms:  we have children to support, and some of us are single parents.  We also have to consider what will work for our families; if this job doesn’t allow me to have a good work/family balance, what will?  What does that look like for me?  Since I have already shared my journey to “having it all”, I wanted to share a success story with you from Kelly, who had a tough decision to make last summer.

Stacy has an 18 month old daughter, and was shocked by how much becoming a mom changed her life.  Before becoming a mom, Stacy had always been very successful in her career – when she found out she was pregnant, she was just about to begin working on her dissertation for her PhD.  Needless to say, becoming a mom put those plans on hold.  Stacy found herself torn between wanting to continue moving forward in her career and missing her daughter terribly during the day.  She said she was afraid that she would miss her daughter’s childhood.  Stacy was working outside the home, and didn’t feel like she was fulfilling her potential professionally.  Worse, she was bringing a lot of work home, and was so tired at the end of the day that she often fell asleep reading bedtime stories to her daughter.  She had no time with her husband, or for herself.  She wasn’t exercising or making time for relaxation and re-charging.

Stacy came to me needing to make a quick decision about whether to return to her current job for another year.  Though she didn’t want to go back, she wasn’t exactly sure what she would do instead, or how she and her husband would pay the bills in the meantime.  She also wasn’t sure about how or when to finish her dissertation.  Together, we looked at her goals for all areas of her life, prioritized and created a workable action plan.

In the end, she made peace with returning to her current job for one more year, but was able to create a plan for transitioning to working part-time, which would allow her time to spend with her daughter AND finish her dissertation.  Also, she’s making time to walk outside every day, has gone for a couple of hikes with her husband, and has successfully transitioned to having her daughter sleep in her own room – no more falling asleep during story time!  I am amazed by the progress Stacy made so quickly and wanted to share her story to inspire more moms to find that balance.  Please join me in congratulating her accomplishments – way to go, Stacy!