Autumn has always been a reminder of the role of change within our lives. It is a change from the hot days of summer, and a welcoming of cooler weather that beckons us out into the beautiful outdoors. Autumn surrounds us with the smell of delicious foods such as pumpkin pies, hearty stews, and warm apple cider; but also an overwhelming amount of activities that begin to take over our calendars. With the school year back in full swing, and the holidays knocking on our doors, we can find ourselves swamped.
The beautiful colour of changing leaves is a trees way of preparing for the cold winter. Throughout the spring and summer trees soak up nutrients, but as the winter approaches trees know that those nutrients will only go so far. The shedding of leaves is the way a tree conserves life throughout the winter, for maintaining them would require too much energy.
Like the tree, we too need to be aware of what things we are going to take with us into these next few months, and what things we need to put down for a bit. A recent study showed that taking time to be alone, is one of the best ways to find rest for ourselves. While this may be true, we may struggle with finding times to be alone in the midst of all that is going around.
Why not take sometime to plan in those alone moments for yourself, before the busy begins?
4 Tips to Maintain Energy this Holiday Season
Intentionally Schedule Alone Time into Your Calendar
As events begin to pile up, our free time rapidly disappears. Half an hour free on a Thursday evening soon becomes a moment to grab coffee with a friend. Unfortunately all of those great meetings with friends, or spontaneous hosting events begin to wear on us. Intentionally block off times to simply be alone. Whether that is coffee on your front porch watching the sunset once a week, or turning off social media every now and then after 9 pm and simply reading a book or listening to music — find time to simply be.
Create a Priority List
At times we can have many various groups we are involved with all at once. One person can have work, school, friends, family, neighbourhood activities, etc. While we may appreciate and enjoy all of the groups we are a part of, doing everything might be too much for one person. We can set a priority list, even an A and B list of events we will attend. This way, when your neighbour three houses down that you sometimes wave hello to when you walk the dog, invites you to the open house she has coming up, you can look at this list of priorities and see if this event makes your list.
Set a Limit on Events
Our priority list becomes even more effective when we have an event limit. As the holidays approach, our top priorities might bombard us with multiple events! In the middle of the busy holiday seasons, people seem to still have birthdays, weddings, and showers. We can encounter a week where three of our closest friends are having events, and our siblings have put together a surprise anniversary event for our parents 50th. While all of these people might be top priority, once we calculate the travelling distance, the time spent at each event, and the financial investment — we can begin to see how this could drain us. If we set limits, maybe on the amount of events, or the distance we will travel in one weekend, we can be better prepared when all the invites come to say, “I would love to, but truthfully I have too much going on that weekend and will have to send my good wishes from a distance”. This also allows you to see where there are gaps and space available that you can fill, if you have a slow week — why not join in on the fun at your neighbours open house?
Saying No, and Not Feeling Guilty
One of the most difficult things we might need to practice is learning to say no to those we care about, and not feeling guilty. While we might want to attend every event, truly our relationships should not depend on whether or not we attend all of our friends events, all the time. Our family and friends may be disappointed when we are unable to attend an event, and we ourselves might wish we could — but in the end we need to realize that we cannot attend everything.
Let It Be a Season of Change
While putting our own needs on the back burner might have been the theme of previous seasons in our lives, let us allow this season to be a time of change in more than one way. May we change the way we interact with ourselves, by changing the ways that we interact with everyone around us. As we see the leaves changing this autumn, may we be reminded that trees know that there is not enough energy to maintain their leaves for the winter and that we too must come to a point where we realize we cannot sustain ourselves if we give our energy to every opportunity that presents itself to us. Take some time to find the things in your life that you need to lay down for this upcoming season so that you can give your energy to those things that will breath life into you.