Fun. Pleasure. Play. Rest. Are these the words you would typically associate with the holidays? Me neither. Sometimes it is fun. Sometimes it is restful. Sometimes there is a lot of play and pleasure. Mostly it feels like a sprint to the end of the year – but there are ways to find the joy. 

This time of the year can feel like mad dash to get it all done, wrap it all up (literally and figuratively), and then collapse into the few lucky days you have off.  And, for many people, hope the obligatory time with family and friends is more “yay!” than “meh”.

What’s Your Natural Emotion Set Point?

Take a moment this month to tap into what is happening on the interior of you. My natural emotional set point for the first 51 years of my life has been relatively serious. I’m working on that, but it is true nonetheless. Without conscious attention, I tend to be over-serious, over-responsible, and pretty judgmental of myself and of the world around me.  Admittedly, that comes from an intensely traumatic childhood where hyper-vigilance and serious over-responsible-ness helped me survive and make it to adulthood. But the bummer is that it was such a familiar way of coping that it became a heavy cloak I’ve worn most of adulthood, even as it was no longer necessary. 

So, what’s your natural emotional set point? Is there an ease and gentleness within you? Or do you generally feel strained, like you are pushing hard all the time? Do you feel intense and impatient, as if you are running out of time every day? Do you feel like you are constantly driving yourself to get more done and keep it all together?

What Makes You Feel Like a Kid?

I’m coming to learn (and enjoy!) the process of really tuning in to what brings me joy and ease. And one of the easiest ways to do that is to ask yourself one simple question: 

What makes you feel like a kid? What makes you feel silly? Goofy? Free?

I love Jennifer Garner’s Instagram account because many of her posts are her doing really silly things with zero self-consciousness just for the seeming joy of it. She makes me laugh. She is child-like, fun, and natural. Yes, she is an accomplished actress. Yes, she is beautiful and talented. But she is also, well – goofy. Her sense of humor is a bit wacky and she comes across as a lot of fun and someone you’d like to go jump on the trampoline in the backyard with.

When was the last time you did something really goofy? That made you giggle? Where you thought to yourself – ‘No one at work would believe this is me’ if they observed you doing whatever you were doing?

Take a Moment Amongst the Madness 

This month, amidst all the doing-ness I’d like to challenge you to be child-like for a bit. Have some light-hearted fun. Drop the corporate armor / professional façade. Let go of the ‘I gotta-create-the-perfect-holiday-experience’ you and just play instead. Let go a little bit more of the obsessive need to be in control all the time and relax. Be a goof!

To nudge you a bit, use the prompts below for some inspiration. And remember, when it is all said and done, as the saying goes, you can’t take it with you.

Go rest. Go play. Have some fun! 

What makes YOU feel like a kid?

Wear a color that makes you feel juicy (I love orange)

Dance to a song that makes you feel happy (like Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ or Andy Grammer’s ‘Damn It Feels Good to Be Me’)

Listen to something that makes you belly laugh (for me its comedians like Bert Kreisher or Jim Gaffigan)

Take a nap (Whaaaat? Yeah – I struggle with this one, too)

Skip around the house (it’s hard to be grumpy when you are skipping)

Play a game, play some cards, play an instrument

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