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Being the Pilot of a Soft Landing into Christmas (not a CRASH landing!)

Does the word 'Christmas' trigger you?

Does the sound of Christmas carols and hearing your colleagues telling you its 1 month, or 2 weeks or 5 days to Christmas trigger you? Do you spend the first 10 days of your holiday catching up on yourself, maybe even sick in bed??

It’s especially tempting to squeeze as much as you can into the last two weeks before you break for Christmas, holidays, summer, end of school, end of term, end of year….  In the southern hemisphere this temptation is epic! We waltz and groove between various of end of year functions, prizegivings, farewells, celebrations and the inevitable deadline here and there.  For some we are even attempting to fit in January’s work so we can take January off “relaxing”.

I totally get it!  My previous experience, trying to do the same, was not one of waltzing, so much as it was stumbling, or rushing, exhausted, stressed and frustrated as all the people I relied on weren’t keeping pace with my often (self imposed!) hectic schedule. I showed no compassion or self compassion!

In the past I can liken my approach to December as a plane coming into a crash landing – brakes screeching, tyres burning rubber, parachute flaring out the back as I ‘landed’ in Christmas.  Bugger.  That’s painful! And the mental and emotional injuries I sustained pretty much ruined some summers too.

The alternative I have discovered is to deliberately plan my two weeks to enable a soft landing, a cruise down the runway to Christmas Eve.  Become curious about what really needs to be done, what can I do to help myself, what does my emotional, mental and physical health need to support a soft landing?  More sleep? Less alcohol? Self compassion? Asking for help with gifts? Simplification of something, anything?

You get to choose!  There is no end of things we can do to support ourselves, to ensure we show up as the best version of ourselves for the holidays.  Rather than spending the first week stress, exhausted or sick as your build up to Christmas and summer ends with an abrupt halt, or collapse!

I’ve been looking forward to writing this blog to help you shift from stressed and frustrated to calm, confident and connected at this crazy time of the year.. Here are my fab-four things to do before now and Christmas, before you crash land and rush into 2021…

#1. Be the calm pilot bringing your plane into land: (no-one wants a stressed pilot!). Which means asking yourself what can be noted and parked for 2021 without a disastrous impact? What can be deliberately scheduled into January or February? Potentially so much of what we are are overwhelmed with right now doesn't need our attention. Who is even going to notice if the self-imposed deadlines and tasks you are burdening yourself with don’t get done until 2021?

#2. Be the best version of yourself these holidays: which starts with reminding yourself who WILL notice you showing up in your holidays as a calm, relaxed and connected version of yourself. Holidays are - for good or bad - what we look forward to most in the year.  So why not ensure you are present and healthy for them?  What’s the positive impact of being the calm version of yourself on your relationships and holidays?

#3. Be kind to yourself and others: which means not forgetting to turn on your Out of Office.  Everyone needs a break. Take courage and trust that it will be OK if you’re not checking your emails and messages every hour. Show some compassion for others on holiday too, and try not to send those last few emails on 23 December in an attempt to get them off your desk.  It’s unlikely someone is going to act on them between 4-5pm, the day before Christmas, anyway. 

#4. Be reflective and grateful: which means considering what you have learned and what you can be grateful for, even though we spent 2020 in lockdown, pivoting, losing jobs, unable to travel, wrestling for flour and toilet paper…. There's always going to be a silver lining in there.  So rather than stress next week about everything that hasn’t happened this year, or everything that has been lost, remind yourself of the abundance, the blessings and the good that have happened.  Your health will thank you for it!

The key message is to land your plane gently my friends!

Of course, nothing magic will happen on 1 January. But the idea of gently landing on 23 December so your transition into 2021 is a calm and deliberate one, gives us hope that our view and experience of the world can improve. And it gives us the energy and strength to prioritise everything that is great about life: spending time with people we love, in places we love. 

Plus secretly, I bet when you’re asked, the stories you’ll tell future generations about 2020 are highly likely to be positive, miraculous and inspiring!


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