The art of the self-soothe – remembering to relax & wind down this week:
As Christmas approaches, are you reflecting on the year that has passed? Or even the decade? It’s been quite a turbulent few years in which the world has developed at an incredible pace, especially in technology. We are more connected than ever before, with a multitude of social platforms to choose from. Yet for many of us this can also present overwhelming challenges.
At this time of year, emotions can run high as we rush to complete projects at work, attend various school or social events, plan the ‘perfect’ Christmas celebrations, and present that ‘competent and confident’ persona at all times.
So, amidst the noise, how can you process your place in the world and begin to think about what lies ahead? How do you measure success or satisfaction at work or in relationships? What plans for your future excite you and drive you forward?
Many of us don’t have the luxury of a fjord nearby but there is growing evidence of the benefit of being amongst trees. They’re believed to have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing, and even give off an immune-boosting chemical. Getting outdoors, going for a walk and a having a change of scenery can be a great way to give yourself a mental break and refresh. I often incorporate this into my coaching sessions, as I find it’s a great way to help people relax and shift into a different mindset, often prompting exciting, creative or ambitious ideas that we then work on turning into reality.With a nod to the winter landscape, in the UK we often take inspiration from our Nordic cousins. The Norwegians have a slightly ironic phrase, ‘føling i fjæra’ – which (I’m assured) roughly translates as ‘feeling emotional while staring out to sea (or a fjord)’. Sometimes just being with your emotions can help to reflect on how we’re feeling, what we’ve achieved or what hasn’t gone quite the way we hoped it would. Without that time and space we run the risk of going through the motions, like a hamster on a wheel. But with all the pressures of modern life, this can lead to stress and burnout.
As the decade draws to a close, you may wish to think about new beginnings, or consolidating something you’ve been working on already. How can you build on your achievements as you head into 2020? Maybe you’re thinking of changing direction or facing a new challenge. Whether you’re staring out to sea, walking in the woods or having a cosy moment at home, now is a good time to slow down, step back, reflect on the past and think about the new year.
To find out how Life Matters Coaching can help you find the right balance in your work, your personal life and your business, get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.
As winter approaches, the dark nights find many of us doing our best to hibernate. Whilst we may have to settle for a few extra hours under the duvet, we naturally seek solace indoors at this time of year. Yet without realising, many of us will probably be enjoying some aspects of life-coaching.
Whether it’s settling down with a good book or spending time with friends and family, we have a tendency to find comfort at home during the colder months. Candles and fires are lit and we begin to embrace the simple pleasures in life. As the year draws to a close, we often reminisce with loved ones, friends or colleagues. That’s because talking over events of the past year helps to put it into perspective. We might feel grateful for what we have, or some of us may be adjusting to unexpected challenges.
These long, relaxed conversations can really help us to consider where we are and where we’d like to be. Chatting over a meal or drink is almost like an informal coaching session. Talking through ideas and aspirations can motivate us to make changes and plan for the year ahead.
Experts in enduring long winters, the Danes even have a word for the most enjoyable aspects of the season – Hygge.
Being ‘hyggeligt’ doesn’t involve buying things – quite the opposite, in fact. It’s more of a feeling – the kind we might experience over a meal with family, or a drink with friends. Or even just alone, curled up watching your favourite movie. There’s an almost meditative element to hygge. Most of all it’s about being present in the moment and savouring the experience.
Our Scandinavian friends also gave us the word ‘Yule’, which is still in use today. Many of our favourite festive traditions come from the midwinter festivals of hundreds of years ago. The Christmas tree, wreaths on the door and of course the Yule log.
In the northern hemisphere, winter solstice historically celebrated new beginnings, as the sun of the previous year ebbed away. Nowadays we celebrate the new year in much the same way. We reflect on the year that has passed and imagine what the new year might bring. It seems like the perfect time to nurture ourselves and our relationships. The slower pace of life gives us time to contemplate where we are and, as our ancestors did, think about new beginnings.
Of course, there is also Christmas to think about. With so much pressure to have a magical time, it can often make it difficult to find a peaceful moment to gather your thoughts. If this sounds familiar, why not treat yourself to some one-to-one coaching? We provide the space for you to think, breathe, reflect and think about where you want to be in the year ahead.
A helping hand
As Christmas approaches, we often think about loved ones we may have lost or those less fortunate than ourselves. International Volunteer Day is held in December. It’s a celebration of the hard work and kindness of people who give their time to help others. For the thousands of volunteers in the UK, winter can be an especially busy period.
Many members of our community need extra help and support at this time of year, yet this is often provided by volunteers. Whether it’s doing a shift at the local library to help keep it open or providing companionship to those who are lonely, volunteers are all around us. Their time and effort help to make the world a better place to live in.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to give something back and connect with people. At LifeMatters, we can help you explore your passions and think about how you can use them to support those around you. Whether that’s at work, at home or in your local community. Get in touch to find out how we can help you make positive changes in your life.
Finally, however you’re planning to spend the winter months, we’d like to wish you and your loved ones a peaceful and hyggeligt winter. We look forward to seeing you in 2018.
Thursday 24th November marks the national holiday of Thanksgiving for our USA cousins over the pond for 2017. It’s now a holiday known the world-over as we become more and more of a ‘global village’.
The traditional origin of Thanksgiving dates back to the 16th century when it started to ‘Give Thanks’ for the fruits of the harvest. It became a national holiday with a consistent format in 1789 by order of George Washington. It’s now celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November with a generous meal based around turkey & pumpkin pie.
National public holidays can be an opportunity to shake off the usual work routine, gather together with friends and family spending quality time socialising and catching up, and of course indulging in some foodie treats. It’s an opportunity to press pause on ‘normality’ and get together to swap stories, reminisce and to create new memories in our personal lives.
But, how many opportunities do we have to pause and celebrate in our work lives…? Could coming together out of our normal routine help us to reflect, learn and create a new way forward for our ourselves and our team if we had the chance of a ‘Thanksgiving’ day at work…?
- How much creativity could we tap into?
- What learning could be enjoyed?
- What new connections could be made?
- How would we review our achievements so far?
Could you create a few moments of ‘Thanksgiving’ for you & your team this week…? Working with an independent coach or facilitator can improve the quality of these conversations and successfully set you up for the year ahead.
As the end of 2013 draws ever closer, our thoughts turn to past resolutions, possibly unfulfilled aspirations, a new challenge for the new year or perhaps the on-going quest for the perfect gift or perfect party outfit.
Often in the rush to get to Christmas and then onto welcoming in the New Year we forget to look back on what we’ve achieved over the past few months. Consolidating on what we’ve done, new experiences we’ve had, new memories created and challenges overcome gives us the chance to spring forward with renewed vigour, commitment and enthusiasm for the coming months. When working with clients, reflection in many forms is a great way of getting the brain stimulated with positive energy and offers great learning points, too. Reflection can be used in career coaching when looking at your career journey, its highs and the skills you have gained along the way. It can also be used by individuals who are looking to bolster their self-esteem and find their ‘happy point’. It’s also a great team building exercise as it requires effort from each member and offers an insight into how each team member values the team and their own role in it.
The linked document is a simple start for a team reflection exercise – it can be modified to suit of course – try it with your team, big or small before the end of the year is out and see what inspiration and celebration you gain from it!
Team Reflection Exercise