By Leo Babauta
We’re in the midst of the holiday season, and with that can come a lot of abundance:
- Busier schedules, holiday parties, travel
- More eating, more drinking, more excess
- More shopping, more spending, more financial stress
It’s a beautiful season, but it can be a lot!
In this article, I’m going to share some thoughts on creating a slower holiday season.
Imagine a season of reflection and slowing down. A season of connecting with others but also finding solitude. A season of festivities but also quiet. A season where you increase your resilience instead of burning out.
That’s what we’re looking at here!
Slowing Down the Excess
Often the holidays are a season of eating more, drinking more, shopping and spending more. People tend to gain weight during the holiday season, and gain debt as well.
This kind of excess has a big toll on our systems — it adds to our already high stress load. Getting really full from holiday gatherings, drinking too much — it adds to our exhaustion.
What if it didn’t have to be this way?
Consider the following possibilities:
- Cut back on junk food when you’re not at a family gathering. On a day-to-day basis, what if you cut back on sugar, things made with flour, and fried foods? Focus on whole foods, like fruits, veggies, beans, whole grains. This creates a more resilient body, so that we can afford to splurge a bit when we come together to celebrate. Eat that extra slice of pie at the party, because you haven’t been overdoing it the rest of the month.
- Cut back on alcohol as well. I don’t think alcohol is evil, but we definitely don’t need to drink every day. What if you eliminated alcohol on most days, just having a drink or two when you got together with loved ones? Your body would be more resilient.
- Cut back on shopping. I love gift giving, but the excess consumerism is not healthy for the budget, and all the shopping is stressful. What if you talked to your family and agreed to give experience gifts (a picnic date, a cycling date, a reading date, a hike in the mountains) or consumable gifts (homemade chocolate chip cookies, etc.)? You’d spend less, contribute less to the huge waste created in the season, and not add to people’s clutter.
- Exercise moderately, and reduce stress. It will add to your resilience if you exercise most days, but don’t go all out. If you’re overdoing the exercise, you’ll be adding to your stress. So go slow with the exercise, but don’t neglect it, because it reduces stress overall. Similarly, remove things from your calendar and task list, and do what you need to do to take care of yourself and breathe.
These ideas all add up to less excess and less stress. They add to your overall resilience.
The Season of Slowing Down
Letting go of excess adds to our overall resilience. But what if we could use this beautiful season to slow down even more?
For many, this is a season of darker and colder days, which can affect our mood if we feel down about that.
But it can also be an incredible time of slowing down.
Consider these ideas:
- Use the darker days as a time of moving slower, not needing to rush, not needing to do as much.
- Use the colder days as a signal to get warm and cozy, and cuddle up with a good book or a journal.
- Use this closing month as a time for reflection on your year and your life, and for imagining possibilities for yourself in the coming year.
- Go for walks and enjoy the solitude, and find a sense of wonder for the changing seasons of life. Reflect on what you’ve been learning, and what it’s time to let go of.
- Clear out the clutter — both physical clutter, loose ends in your life, old emails you haven’t responded to, things that feel messy.
Enjoy the quietude of this season. It’s quite delicious.
Going Deeper into Slowing Down
In 2024, I’m leading my Fearless Mastery coaching and mastermind program even deeper, as a 9-month program to create what truly matters to you.
The theme of Fearless Mastery 2024 is “Slowing Down: Deepening Into Structure & Meticulousness.”
We’re going to be exploring slowing down:
- Slowing down when we get stuck in avoidance, as a way to learn something deeper about the avoidance, resistance and uncertainty.
- Slowing down with ourselves when we feel like we’re failing, feel like quitting, feel like we don’t know what to do … as a way to allow ourselves to be in the space of the unknown.
- Slowing down with the structures we create for ourselves — letting our rituals become sacred, letting our commitments become devotions, letting our accountability become the deeper place of learning that will lead to transformation.
If this feels like an exploration that would be meaningful to you … and if you have something you want to create for yourself in 2024 that is worth getting supported for … come talk to me.