Depending on your point of view, the end of the year is the most magical time of year, the most stressful time of year or a bit of both. Many of us are celebrating the holidays with all the hopes and expectations that can entail. And for many of us, there are intense year-end work pressures. If you're in retail, you know what I mean!
We don't have to accept this maelstrom as an inevitable part of life. Whether you're expecting wonders or difficulties, you can focus more on the present moment and let go of the drama. And you can simplify your day to day life so that other, less hectic, times are also enhanced.
What does it mean to be more present? Start this second, pausing as you read this article. Look around at the place you're in, noticing the walls, furniture, trees, people; see the colors and textures. If you're sitting, feel the chair beneath you and the floor beneath your feet. Close your eyes. Now listen — what do you hear around you? Listen to your own breathing and try to hear sounds that are far away. Pay attention to any smells or tastes, bringing all your senses to bear.
Now notice how you feel. Just this short exercise may have helped you feel more in touch with yourself and your environment. Just 30 seconds of centering could be one of your best resources for a more resilient 2016.
You will also find that when you notice exactly what is happening in the present moment, there is less room for worrying about the future or reliving past events. This will quiet much of the drama in your mind, and leave space for creative problem solving, where needed.
What about simplifying? Start by doing an inventory of your life, looking at time and possessions, and seeing what gives you energy and what depletes you. Envision an optimal level of each and focus on moving in that direction.
For example, if you had less that you had to do, you could focus more and get more satisfaction from each activity you undertake. Choosing to do less is possible if you can say "no" when your heart isn't in something or if you don't have the time or resources to do something well.
Clearing your physical space is another form of simplification. Think about the spacious feeling that comes from a clean room. In contrast, objects that you don't need or want create pressure that can be alleviated by letting go of them. There are plenty of articles and books that can help get started.
As with many things, success is a matter of focusing on your priorities. Take stock regularly on your stress level and reflect on ways you could have de-escalated high stress times. Acknowledge your successes, too, so that reflection doesn't become a blame game.
And realize that you're not alone in this. Building support from people around you will help you all create a more serene, productive, and enjoyable way of life. Then when extra-high demand times come along, you'll be prepared and will be able to thrive on the challenges.
What challenges do you face at work? Send your questions to Liz Reyer, a credentialed coach and president of Reyer Coaching & Consulting in Eagan. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.