“We all go through tense moments, days, weeks, and even years, but it’s never too late to soften, relax, and connect right back inside.”
~ Tara Stiles
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the holiday season is well on its way, and while this time of year can be one of the most joyful times, it can also be one of the most difficult and trying times for so many.
I’m working through most of the holiday season, and as I look at the upcoming weeks, I taste the bitterness of apprehension for the long days ahead. Worry has become a distortive lens currently coloring my work, and when I came home the other night, tired and slightly downtrodden, I realized that this mindset won’t help me get through the days ahead, and certainly, it won’t help others in any way.
So this morning, in efforts to quiet my worry, I did a quick google search on the word itself. Here’s what I found:
Something that stood out to me right away was a list of words opposite that included these three:
In other words, mindfulness, appreciation, and faith in oneself.
Here are some ways that I’m going to try and incorporate these into my next few days:
1) Mindfulness – 4-second breaths can really make a difference in the middle of a stressful day. I’ll pause wherever I am and breathe in for 4 seconds and breathe out for 4 seconds, at the same rate. Whenever my music students are getting too fidgety or tired, I do this exercise with them and remind them to do the same if they’re ever feeling overwhelmed or frustrated during the day.
2) Appreciation – this three-second slice of joy exercise was such a beautiful reminder to pause and appreciate even the smallest things in life. It’s pretty hard not to find something to feel happy about, even if it’s the first sip of coffee in the morning, or the fact that the sky is blue or holiday lights are up. I usually start by giving myself the goal of finding ONE thing at the beginning of the day, ONE thing during lunch-time, and ONE right before bed.
3) Faith in oneself – this one is the hardest for me, I’ll admit. I’m still working on trusting where I am in life right now, but I’m attempting to write down one thing that inspires me each day (or one thing that I did that day that brought me a step closer to feeling successful or fulfilled). For instance, on Monday, I signed up for a volunteer orientation at Project Worthmore, and today, I taught a vocal lesson (for the first time ever, eek! Also, completely not something that I was expecting as I’ve never taken a vocal lesson before in my life and had originally gone into the lesson thinking that it was a piano lesson. Needless to say, it was an interesting 30 minutes, but I think we both had fun and learned something, which is all you could hope for in a lesson).
This Thanksgiving and holiday season, I wish you all three of these things over worry, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week.
P.S. Please know that if you are going through hard times this holiday season, I’m here anytime to listen and chat. Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hugs!