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This Holiday Season, Give Yourself the Gift of Change

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And so begins the mad rush. The hunt for the perfect gift. Fighting crowds for last minute preparations. Those of us not “hurrying home for Christmas” are cramming in last minute getaways. Alas the holidays are upon us. From the sounds of it, you’d think we were readying ourselves for the fight of a lifetime, damned and determined to make this celebration more memorable, more star-studded than the last. Yet again, we find ourselves up against bosses and bills, deadlines and waiting lines, but this year’s traditionally frantic, albeit festive holiday season is decorated in a different set of lights.

As 2008 earns its own chapter in our collective personal history books, we seem to stand in awe of the bombardment of negative events that have altered the very backdrop of The Big Picture. Many of us are re-evaluating, re-booting, and reuniting in hopes of making this world a better place. 

But to our dismay, the pressures of our bigger-better-faster high-tech society yank our global gaze back to an unyielding state of chronic stress. Ironically weighed down by the loss of family, friends, and financial security, our ability to regain a natural balance has been tragically compromised. 

As the proverbial glass appears half-empty, perhaps this is opportunity knocking, egging us to pursue our own path to “Survival of the Fittest.” With little reservation, I propose that a wish for a state of coveted equilibrium tops our common holiday lists. Admittedly, giving to others is paramount on our minds, but if you’re yearning for a clean bill of health, less mental stress and burnout, stronger relationships, and more time to smell the roses, you’ve got to give to yourself, and time is of the essence.   

Step 1: Assess your current reality. When you look at the five foundational components of your life, body, mind, family, career, and society, first purposefully spotlight and celebrate the positive aspects in each. Review, relish, and repeat these as often as possible.

Next, recognize the symptoms of stress and identify their sources. A stressed mind breeds irritability, headaches, and fatigue, and robs us of our ability to be creative, focused, and productive; a stressed body experiences insomnia, localized and referred pain, and a pronounced reduction in energy and resiliency. Toss in a list of white elephant parties, a pair of in-laws, and ten extra pounds around your waistline, and the future seems bleak. But tuning-in to the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and even spiritual symptoms will reveal trends of the responsible sources and their connection to your unhealthy responses. Based on this list of people, places, things, events, activities, and memories, you can develop strategies to manage, change, eliminate, or avoid these obstacles and their detrimental effects in the future.

Step 2: Change your perspective to recognize that your success depends on the quality of your efforts. When you learn to control your psychology by controlling your physiology, you maximize your potential to work smarter, feel stronger, look better, and live longer. Hone in on this long-term forecast and you’ll appreciate the “why” behind your choice to replace the habit of reacting to your environment, with proactive steps in taking care of yourself. 

Step 3: Change your behavior and enlist back up. Nail down an unyielding body-mind connection, and any of the methods of intervention you engage will foster your ability to function at a higher level. Do what is within your sole power, knowledge, timeline, attention span, patience, and enjoyment…then engage others to help you. 

Here are the tools to re-engineering your state of balance and thriving this holiday season a la A.N.S.W.E.R™ The 6-pak Tool for Success:

Activity—simple walks will help you manage physical strain as well as curve balls thrown your way.

Nutrition—healthier foods will yield an energetic, focused, leaner you

Sleep—catching enough zzzs will boost your immune system, metabolism and endurance        

Work—add color and dimension to your office, schedule breaks and shorter meetings, stick to a schedule, and maximize your business relationships

Escape—relax, reboot, retreat

Resources—step from independence into interdependence utilizing situation-specific sources of info

This “self-coaching” provides the monitoring, and meaningful self-communication essential to cultivate the full spectrum of your personal investment. Progress comes from a simple yet proven process: change the underlying structures of your perspective and your successive behavior changes will stick. When you re-learn how to relax, take care of and reward yourself, your valuation of self is profoundly affected.

Indeed the holiday season is hovering, but each and every one of us has the power to dictate our experience. This is the time to relax, reflect, and rejoice in how far you’ve come this year in all aspects of your life. If you fail to give to yourself, you rob yourself of the opportunity to attain balance and embrace the coming of a healthy new year. 

The ball’s in your court, folks. Question is, are you ready to make a choice to make a change?

Copyright 2008 by Kimberlie Dykeman


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