It's the holiday season, and for many of us this is time to spend with friends and family, to come together over food and drink and merriment and celebrate the year that was. It's also an exhausting time, filled with year end deadlines, parties, meetings, plays and recitals. We can often feel like we're hurtling toward the end of the month, just trying to survive all our commitments. Yet, it's also a time of year where many people go without -- food, shelter, and basic necessities. 2017 was an exceptionally hard year. We've had near constant political turmoil and unrest, protests, hurricanes, wild fires, elections, and an ever growing sexual harassment/assault scandal.
So, with all this in mind, I (Dr. Hinson) wanted to take a few minutes to write about practicing compassion while we celebrate. I've come up with three simple reminders to take with you as you go through the season of celebrating, either with friends or colleagues.
- Practice self-care: One way to ensure that you can look after others is to look after yourself. Many times in our work life we sacrifice our own personal care in order to meet a deadline, finish a project, or design a new product. As we think about the season of giving, I want you to ask what gift can you give yourself? It might be something as simple as an evening at home, or lunch from your favorite spot, but the simplest gifts can make all the difference.
- Take a breath: Though we often do a lot we enjoy during the last few months of the year, we can also be in a rush to get from A to B, to find the 'right' present, and to get everything done. Remember that everyone around you probably has a lengthy to-do list as well, that they feel is very important. Take a breath when you're out and about, strive for patience and kindness.
- Lead with compassion: We never really know what is going on in other's lives and spaces, at any point during the year. The holidays can be particularly hard for people who have had a traumatic life event, are grieving, handling extra family stress, having financial difficulty, or worrying about basic needs. Whether its your extra quiet employee, who doesn't engage with the company party, or an angry person in line ahead of you, try and lead with compassion as you interact with people. If you are fortunate enough not to be spending the season without, consider giving to a local food bank, or donating clothes to a shelter. A little compassion can go a long way.
Dr. Donnelly and I are both big believers in making manageable suggestions, and living through small intentions (more about intentions coming soon). So as we fly through the remaining weeks of the year, remember to celebrate with compassion, for yourself and others!