Making space for my emotions in this season
My calendar is filling up fast. My brain is frequently swirling with items to add to my list. Fresh logistical challenges crop up each week. It’s that time of year when we are speeding towards the end of 2023, the end of school, and Christmas. I feel the tickles of overwhelm in my belly and I know I am not alone in that.
Each year around this time, I find myself questioning how I can navigate the days well. Thankfully I have picked up great tips over the years from friends and from people like Cara from The Hooting Pirate and Kendra from The Lazy Genius. I figure out what is really important to me and to us as a family. I let go of unrealistic expectations. Plans are made in advance for gifts, with a Trello board set up to track it all. I use my planner and weekly previews to stay on top of tasks with brain dumps and Big 3 priorities each day and week. These have all helped but there is something still not quite right if I leave it there.
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I can get so caught up in the to-do lists and logistics that I forget to make space for my emotions. I am grateful to be part of the latest round of the Emotionally Healthy Relationships course as part of the School of Emotionally Healthy Leadership. It has brought a greater level of awareness once more and reinforced tools to help me process what is going on in my soul.
This year in particular carries added emotion for me. My daughter is about to finish primary school and we are in the process of getting her ready for high school. Now my own grief and conflicting feelings would be weighty enough but I am also supporting her to navigate her own emotions at this time. Additionally, I am working out of the home four days a week without school holiday breaks for the first time in 13 years. The added logistics this brings have raised my anxiety levels. Then add in the usual extras of events, tiredness, family members with health challenges, the grief sensitivity of missing loved ones, and work demands. No wonder I have felt unsettled and found it harder to get to sleep than normal. Your list may be different from mine, but I know that there is an emotional load with it too.
Acknowledging this underlying current to our days is the first step. I love the analogy of treating our emotions like children on a road trip. We don’t put them in the driver’s seat as that would be disastrous. We don’t even put them in the front passenger seat where they have a higher level of control. On the other hand, we also don’t stuff them in the boot and ignore them. The ‘children’ are put safely on the back seat where we can listen to them and take care of them without giving them control.
Here are some ways I am making space for my emotions:
A weekly journaling time to “Explore the Iceberg”- a tool where you explore what is making you angry, sad, scared and happy. A revealing practice that raises my awareness and releases the pressure.
A daily quick note in my five-year journal of what I am grateful for or what brought me joy and what I found draining in my day.
Time for silence and prayer for 10 minutes twice a day to refocus my perspective.
Allowing myself to cry and be sad in moments- sometimes a sad movie or show helps me to get in touch with that space more easily.
Giving my daughter space to be sad without immediately jumping to positives. I can sit and be present with her in those moments.
Coming back to my planning strategies to make sure I have white space in my week to decompress.
Working on getting rest, exercising, and maintaining nutritional eating.
Taking time to do something creative that makes me feel like me.
Building in plans for the Christmas season activities that make me so excited.
Talking to people close to me about what I’m feeling, although this is something I am still working on.
What are you doing to create space for your emotions in this season?