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How Full is Your Glass? (click to download)
Hi there and welcome. You’re listening to the Stories from a Quest to Live Happier Podcast, and I’m your host Nancy Jane Smith. I’m a licensed professional counselor, and in this podcast, I share my stories, and lessons I’ve learned, and I keep learning on my quest to live happier. Show notes, and the complete transcript can be found at live-happier.com/podcast. This is Episode 46, Living Happier Through the Holidays: Looking at Your Energy and Setting Boundaries.
This is episode two of my Live Happier Through the Holidays series. If you missed episode one, flip on back to episode 45 and you can listen to Live Happier Through the Holidays: Setting Priorities. Each week throughout the holiday season, I’m going to be releasing a podcast. I’m just going to be helping you figure out ways to live happier through the holidays.
This week’s theme is on energy and boundaries. This is such an important theme because managing your energy is important during the holidays. If you listened last week, we talked about making a plan, and communicating, and figuring out what it is you want and need for your holidays. This week we know there’s going to be … Even if you make a plan, there’s going to be stuff in that plan you don’t want to be doing. There’s going to be stuff in that plan that drains you. On my website at live-happier.com/podcast, when you go to episode 46 in the show notes there will be a worksheet that will help you figure out what to do, I call it, How Full is Your Glass, and this worksheet will help you figure out how best to manage your energy through the holidays.
I’ve talked about this worksheet before on the podcast so I will review it quickly. All of us have a glass of energy that we walk around with all day long, and there are activities that we engage in that add energy to the glass, and there are activities that we engage in that drain us. It is our jobs to make sure that our glasses aren’t bone dry. For most of us, we walk around with bone dry glasses, especially during the holidays. When we have to go to a party or do a work function that we’re totally dreading and we know will drain us, it’s important that we then add something back into our lives that fills us back up, so that we don’t live in this perpetual state of drained energy. This, How Full is Your Glass worksheet helps you map that out so that you know, “Okay, Wednesday I’m going to the work party, so that means Thursday I need to do something that’s going to add back into my life. I’m going to make sure that I have a fun activity with my family, where I can add some energy back in.” Making sure that you are looking at where your energy flow is, and managing that throughout the holiday season.
Now I want to talk about a couple of things around boundaries because setting boundaries are really important in the holiday season. We talk a lot about setting boundaries, and how important it is, and speaking up for yourself, and talking about what it is you need, but it’s really hard in life to set boundaries because it makes us uncomfortable. Because a lot of us want to make everyone happy, we so don’t want to disappoint anyone. The problem with that is, it’s impossible. We’re going to make people mad at us; people aren’t going always to love us. That is the myth that we tell ourselves, that if we do everything right or if we say yes to everything, people will love us. I want to give us a couple just things to think about when you’re moving through your holidays, when you’re going through your week and your life as well, to paying attention to how you’re viewing stuff.
One of them is, you can’t make everyone happy. It’s okay to disappoint people, and that’s a really important one to remember. A lot of us think, “Oh, if I say no to that party, then the host is going to be disappointed.” Yeah, they might be disappointed for a period. They might be disappointed all afternoon, and that’s okay. It’s okay to disappoint people. We don’t have to make everyone happy, so it’s okay for you to say no to a party and it’s okay for the host to be disappointed that you’re not coming. Both are fine. We don’t need to step in and make sure everyone feels okay. Remind yourself; it’s okay to disappoint people.
Another one that I found helpful is the idea of saying no is a form of self-care. When we can say no to someone, when we can tell them, “Yeah, I can’t do that. I can’t come to that party. I need to … I’m just overwhelmed, or I … ” We don’t even have to give them a reason, but if we did to say, “I’m overwhelmed. I have too much going on, my glass is empty, I need to add more into my life, to my energy pool,” and saying no, is a way to do that. It’s a form of self-care, so reminding yourself that you are taking care of yourself by limiting all the activities you’re engaging in.
Another one that’s really important is you don’t have to justify, prove, or defend, or as a client added, atone for any decision you make. Any time you say no to someone, you don’t then have to justify why you said no, you don’t have to make it up later or atone for it. If you say no to the neighbors Christmas party, you don’t have to explain why or defend your reason, and you don’t have to later make sure you suck up to her in some great loving way, because you’re atoning for the fact you said no. When you say no clearly and succinctly, then she can be disappointed and you can move on. When we muddy it all up with justifying, and defending it, and atoning it, it just makes it muddy, versus, making it clear that, “You know what? I can’t go to that party.” That’s okay. You don’t have to go to every party. Like I said, it’s okay for the host to be disappointed. Both are valid, and true, and it’s okay.
For a lot of us, the holidays is about giving. Giving gifts, giving of ourselves, giving to charity, giving to other people. I want to throw in the reminder that giving to the point of resentment isn’t giving. When we are giving, and we’re keeping score, or we’re resentful, or we’re bitter, or we’re mad, or we’re angry at whoever it is that we’re giving to, that’s not true giving. To monitor yourself when you are resentful about going to a party, or resentful about giving gifts once again at the family Christmas party, to remind yourself this isn’t giving. How can I get creative and come up with a different way of doing that?
Which brings me to the last point I have, which is getting creative. It doesn’t always have to be a yes or no. If you want to go to the neighbors Christmas party and your husband doesn’t drive separately, you can leave early. If you don’t want to do the whole big family, extended family, Christmas gift exchange that is just crazy and you hardly know each other, and it’s just way too much money, figure out a way around it. Maybe it’s a white elephant gift, maybe it’s giving to charities in each other’s names, maybe its doing random acts of kindness for each other. Getting creative and thinking out of the box on the activities that you are resentful around, is a great way to set some boundaries in a fun creative way. I can make some changes to how we do the holidays without making some super blunt, “No, I’m not doing that,” rigid boundaries. I can get creative, and I can make myself happy, and the other people around me happy too, and that’s what it’s all about. The whole time you’re going to be managing your energy and checking out how full is your glass.
The question I want to leave you with is, as you move through the holidays and get ready to get moving, as here we are on December 2nd, where do you need to say no? Where is it you need to say no to parties, to gifts, to Secret Santa events, to singing carols, to whatever? Where is it that you can get creative and start thinking outside of the box? Because you recognize saying no is a form of self-care, and you need to make sure you’re paying attention to how full is your glass. That’s the show. Head on over to my website, live-happier.com/podcast, and make sure you download the How Full is Your Glass worksheet. Thank you so much for listening. If you have any questions, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be back here next Friday where we will be talking about living happier through the holidays, and the theme will be joy. Until next time here’s to living happier.
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