Tuesday, November 24, 2015

thriving the holiday season

I was recently chatting with a wise friend of mine and we were bemoaning the challenges of the upcoming season. She pointed out how this is the time of year seasonally when we should be slowing down, resting, going within, nurturing ourselves in order to weather the coming winter months. Yet the holidays are anything but restful! Already Christmas music is playing on the radio and my neighborhood is ablaze with holiday lights. I take it as a sign of my success that upon seeing the latest lawn vignette of the 3 Wise Men (complete with cardboard camels) Cowgirl bemoans "We still have Thanksgiving People!" Oh yes, she is her father's daughter.

It is hard for me to balance my natural hermit nature (I am my mother's daughter) with the pressures that the holidays bring. Going out, gathering in large groups, feasting and celebrating ...  oh, I love all of that ... just in small and managed doses ... and that being on my good days, say days long with abundant sunshine. But right now? With the days short and the nights long and cold?  

So how to survive thrive in this season that demands plenty?  If ever there is a time for best practices to be implemented, it is now.  Here is my spin on making a list and checking it twice ... 

#1 Build into the day structured down time. It is law in this house that before bed, we read. As Cowgirl's bedtime is a few hours before mine, I have the opportunity to double the pleasure as I join her upstairs, in the big bed for a half hour of reading and snuggling before tucking her into her bed. And yes, often times I go back to the big bed, read for another half hour and slip into the land of Nod. Getting enough rest is essential for me physically and emotionally. My batteries need the frequent and lengthy recharge.

Both Cowgirl and I are in love with the Terry Pratchett books that chronicle the adventures of Tiffany Aching and the pictsies (or Wee Free Men) who assist her. Tiffany is The Best and most inspiring role model for myself and my girl. 

"This is the school, isn't it? The magic place? The world. Here. And you don't realize it until you look. Do you know the pictsies think this world is heaven? We just don't look. You can't give lessons on witchcraft. Not properly. It's all about how you are ... you, I suppose." (Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men)

#2 Mindful scheduling. I love my phone calendar but I still need a wall calendar. I need to be able, in a glance, to see how much white space there is in my week. If I see writing in those squares, I know not to add more. I've learned to accept I am an extroverted introvert: I enjoy being around people, but I need loads of recovery time. When I don't honor this about myself, I am not being kind to myself and I cannot be fully present and kind to the people I am with, especially my family. Cowgirl knows when I say out loud "I am feeling grumpy" her best move is to skedaddle and allow me space and time to collect myself.

#3 Hands on/mind off activity. Every day. Creativity is my form of meditation; it is how I empty out and how I check in with the inner chatter. I cannot and am mindful not to multitask so for me, knitting (or sewing or painting or sketching) is usually done in silence or with calm music playing. There is nothing more grounding for me than a good hour by the fire, a cup of tea by my side and my knitting to help me settle in. All the energy of the day pools away and I am always left refreshed and restored by a session of creative play. 

#4 Essential oils. The past few months I have been consciously working with certified pure oils. These are oils I know to be safe for my use and for my family's use. I have been slowly incorporating oils into my every day routines and introducing Cowgirl and The Husband to the benefits of essential oils in supporting natural immune function and wellness. My favorite tool is adding a drop of lemon or wild orange essential oil to my drinking water. Not only does the water taste yummy, the smell is uplifting and energizing and the oils beneficial in supporting healthy respiration and/or immune function. Now I have Cowgirl asking me to rub oils on her feet before bedtime and we love lavender and a calming blend to assist us in winding down after a busy day. 
{If you want to know more about using essential oils or the oils I prefer to use, please contact me  - lishofmann88(at)gmail(dot)com - and I would be happy to answer your questions or share more information!}

#5 Get outside. Even though the temperature has dropped significantly, I am still grateful to Moose dog for the incentive to head outside on a daily basis. When I walk him at night, I like to look up at the night sky and remember that I am a part of the vastness. There is nothing more nourishing for me than to fill up the spaciousness of nature: to pause and soak up the sound of trees dancing in the wind, the wild geese flying overhead or the sensation of sunlight or moonlight or starlight upon the skin. 

The world rests in the night. Trees, mountains, fields, and faces are released from the prison of shape and the burden of exposure. Each thing creeps back into its own nature within the shelter of the dark. Darkness is the ancient womb. Nighttime is womb- time. Our souls come out to play. The darkness absolves everything; the struggle for identity and impression falls away. We rest in the night.

It is easy for me to get overwhelmed and depleted this time of year, so hauling out my wellness tool kit and reminding myself of best practices is one way I can ensure that rather than merely surviving the holiday season, I actually thrive ... and stay healthy, strong and sane to boot!

{I am a veteran of many online courses and I have to say, this season I've kept my course load lite and am slowly working through and enjoying Scribble Art over on Jeanne Oliver's Creative Network ning site.} 



  1. Well, yes. To all of it. I would love to know more about the Pratchett books and if you think they might interest Riley (almost 13). After months of late nights, the last two nights I have had my lights out by 9:30 and have (for the first time in months!!) woke feeling rested. Tonight I am headed up for my third in a row of 9:30 lights out. I fell across my Dani Shaprio book this afternoon and kick started myself into starting up again, my practice, any of my practices as they are all good and nourishing. As I help to guide my terrified mother to the other side over these next weeks, I am looking forward to shedding, at long last, so many misplaced roles I have carried these many decades. Releasing with love, and finding the lost parts of "me" to build upon. I am curious about taking essential oils internally as I have heard so much about the opposite. I do love hearing about your new roads. And ever so grateful you have kept your blog alive.

  2. ah, but this was a breath of fresh air! With November having been a lunatic whirlwind of ridiculousness, I'm hoping for a gentle slide into the holidays....HA! Dare to dream...or, as you say, make it so. ;)

    i'm with you on the Real Calendar and i have to tell you i'm not terribly delighted to see my squares so occupied -- B's sister and her family have invited themselves for a visit and as B was informing me i was wailing "We haven't got a square to spare!!!" :P White space. I like lots of it. Lots.

    big love to you.....and i'm glad to hear you're looking after you. xoxoxoox

  3. Ah, I hear you!
    I'm finally rid of feeling guilty if an empty calendar of obligations. I'm enjoying drifting and letting the day spend me, not the other way around.