5 Tips For Taking A Heart-Based Approach To Holiday Celebrations
The holiday season is a special time of year. It’s a time for family, friends, and loved ones to come together and celebrate. But, for many, this time of year has become a “season of stress.”
The pressures of gifts, to-do lists, and social obligations can lead to overspending, overwhelm, and exhaustion. With that hustle and bustle, it’s easy to lose the magic of the holiday season.
This year, why not take a different approach? Read on to find out what a heart-based approach looks like, as well as 5 tips for putting it into practice—at home and at work.
The Heart-Based Approach
Instead of focusing on the “to-do” list this holiday season, try taking a heart-based approach. As a career coach, I regularly lead my clients through a HEART-based approach to their career planning. But it doesn’t just apply to work.
Taking a heart-based approach means intentionally aligning your heart + spirit to your choices so that you generate energy for yourself and experience a sense of meaning.
How do you know if you’re not aligned this holiday season? Here’s one quick way: If a seasonal responsibility or obligation drains you, it’s not aligned with your values, your heart, or your spirit.
Putting this into practice may make the holidays look a little different, but I guarantee: Once you do it, you won’t want to go back to that so-called season of stress. A heart-based approach to the holidays means experiencing moments of greater joy and making more meaningful memories. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Here are my best tips and small steps for a heart-based holiday season.
Check-in and reconnect with former coworkers.
Not only is reaching out to old colleagues a nice thing to do, but it’s often a great way to open up new networking opportunities. Your former coworkers may have gone on to have successful careers in different organizations, and they may be able to help you with your career. All you have to do is build on the relationship you already have.
If that feels a little awkward, the holiday season makes it easy and natural. Here are a few simple tips to get started. Use this list, and let your heart be your guide.
Start by writing a thoughtful holiday message. It doesn’t have to be anything big— it could be a simple “happy holidays” message on LinkedIn or a holiday card.
Express your appreciation for the time you worked together and your desire to stay in touch. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even organize a virtual or in-person meetup!
If the conversation allows, ask about their current projects and industry. You can share some of your latest successes or even ask for advice. Not only will you both benefit from the exchange, but you might even build a friendship.
Whatever you do, make sure you reach out. It’s always nice to catch up and reminisce about your time together—and you never know where it might lead!
2. Showcase appreciation—at home and at work.
At the heart of the season is the idea of giving. But you don’t need to buy expensive gifts or the latest gadgets to show you care. Here are some thoughtful ways to show the people in your life, at work or at home, how much you appreciate them.
Spend quality time together. This season, make the effort to spend quality time with family and friends. Even just a heart-felt conversation can make a difference. Sharing your stories, listening thoughtfully, and being there for each other can be more meaningful than any material gift you can give.
Gift experiences. If you’d still like to give presents, why not choose something meaningful? Select items that have a personal touch or encourage a shared experience. It could be tickets to a show, an activity, or a shared meal. Whatever you choose, experiences are the gifts that will be remembered long after the holiday season is over.
Give to the causes you care about. If you’re looking to give back, there are countless ways to do so. Make a donation to a local charity, volunteer your time, or just be a shoulder to lean on. Often, it’s the little things that make the biggest impact.
3. Invite fun back into work.
A heart-based approach to the holidays can be an excellent way to lighten the mood, inject a little joy into the workplace, and make the holiday season a lot more enjoyable for everyone.
It can also be as simple as…
Bringing in some treats to get everyone in a good mood and encourage them to take a break from their hectic schedules.
Having some fun with the day-to-day tasks—maybe by adding a little humor to emails or dressing as Santa for a meeting.
Decorating the office with festive decorations or setting up an elf on a shelf to bring some seasonal cheer.
Or simply taking some time to enjoy each other’s company.
Whatever you do, do it with the intention of generating joy and connection in the workplace.
With a little effort, you can create an atmosphere of joy and connection that lasts long after the holidays are over.
Give the gift of unplugging.
One of the greatest gifts you can give the people in your life (and yourself) is the gift of you— unplugged. Unplugging from social media, work, or distractions gives you the chance to relax, reflect, and focus on being present with your loved ones.
Here are a few ways you can unplug during the holidays.
Be intentional about how much and what you consume. By limiting the nonstop negativity feed and doom-scrolling, you can choose to proactively set yourself up for productive and enjoyable days.
Turn off all app notifications. I don’t know about you, but the buzzing and clinking of all the things makes me nuts! It’s hard to practice mindfulness and presence with all that distraction. Turning them off means giving my full focus to what matters most—the people in front of me.
Make meaningful swaps. Unplugging doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” thing. At least 2 times a week, I trade the evening news for an evening walk—and I’m all the better for it.
5. Experience the magic of mindfulness.
Another way to take a heart-based approach to the holidays is to practice mindfulness. Rather than rushing from one task to the next, try slowing down for moments of meaning. Doing so can not only bring joy to your heart, but it can also help reduce stress.
Here are 4 ways I practice mindfulness.
Pause. If I find myself feeling increasingly stressed or anxious, I often recenter by focusing on my breath or listening to calming music. “Ugh, Jenn, I’m a terrible meditator,” you might be saying right now, but I have great news: What you do with the pause doesn’t matter as much as the pause itself. Simply taking a break from the chaos of the season can make all the difference.
Minimize distractions. Confession: I recently deleted the email app from my phone! I had noticed how much my brain was wrapped up in responding to emails/inquiries. It was All. The. Time. When I removed the app, my thoughts opened back up, and I found more space for rest and creativity.
Savor daily delights. On my bedside table, I have a journal called Three Moments of Joy. Inside, there’s space to reflect on moments that matter each day. I added this to my evening routine and it has been such a lovely way to close out the day and drift into a peaceful sleep.
Practice gratitude. Research tells us our brains are trained to see the negative. While this, on an evolutionary level, was intended to protect us, it does more harm than good these days. Taking as little as 30 seconds to notice a feeling of gratitude is proven to create positive emotions and even improve health. We have to reprogram ourselves to see the good—but it’s easy! Each morning, I spend 5 minutes with my planner, writing down 3 things I’m most grateful for. Often, they are the simplest of things, like playing with Tula or making time for a quiet, nutritious lunch outdoors, and that, in itself, is powerful.
Ready to start a HEART-based approach and create a life you love? The “5 Minutes To Flourish” downloadable guide is the place to start. Find simple ways to nourish your body, mind, and spirit—in only 5 minutes a day.
Flourish Careers is a career coaching and consulting business dedicated to helping individuals and small businesses find their unique path to flourishing professional success. Learn more about how we can help you here.