The Big Three are around the corner: Halloween, Thanksgiving and the December holidays. Despite our very best efforts, we often slip into a familiar frenzy as our already fast-paced lives ramp up a notch. But whoever said the last three months of every year have to be one long string of adrenaline-drenched events? It can also be a time to challenge yourself to go slower than you normally do all year ‘round.
As the leaves drift to the earth, take a moment every morning to ground yourself. How you begin your day informs how the rest will go. Use this month to seek out solace before life begins one more day. Whether it is a meditation practice, five deep belly breaths before you get up, or a stated intention of what this day will bring, make it a ritual to start off your morning on a positive note.
Before the holidays are in full swing, list what you would like to accomplish by December 31st. Be as specific as possible. Plot out times when you will work toward those goals.
Brainstorm how you would like the December holiday season to look. Visualize how you would like to feel at the end of the year. Now ask yourself what things need to be in place for those feelings to occur.
If you budget for the holidays now, you will be less likely to overdraw your account. Pay cash where you can. Manage your friends’ and family’s expectations about what you can afford.
You have over three weeks before Thanksgiving is upon us. State what you are grateful for every day. Start an email or Facebook gratitude list that you send to your friends. Encourage others to reflect on those things that are most important to them.
Plan a potluck holiday feast. Spread the love (and the work) by ensuring everyone plays a part in designing the meal itself. Instead of storming the malls on Black Friday (or the Internet on Black Monday), use that time to make a list of the people to whom you would like to send holiday cards. Stamp and label the envelopes now.
Consider how many holiday parties you want to attend this month. Determine your limit and stick to it. Practice the power of slow by saying ‘no’ to extraneous requests that would overstep your capabilities. Remain centered by remembering your commitment to a life worth living, not one worth escaping.
Celebrate with loved ones and practice a little extra forgiveness for yourself and others this month. Remember that even in the darkest of days, we have access to the very light that resides within us every day of our lives.
Start living the slow today. Download your free three-month holiday planner at http://bit.ly/slownews to ensure you do!
Christine Louise Hohlbaum, American author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, lives near Munich, Germany with her husband and two children. She occasionally takes on small TV and film roles to satisfy her inner thespian. Her book-related blog, PowerofSlow.wordpress.com, shares tips on how to slow down every day.
© 2010 Christine Louise Hohlbaum