The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

December 03, 2020

And just like that, December is here, and the year 2020 is drawing to a close. What a wild ride! For so many people and for so many reasons, 2020 has been a trying and tiring year. By now, it's safe to say that most of us are ready for this year to be over.

But isn't this supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year?

Yet most of us are arriving tired, overwhelmed, and not quite ready for the holiday spirit.

What if this month truly could be the most wonderful time of the year, just in a new way?

What if this final month of 2020 is the transition we all need and have been longing for?

What could happen if we spent December in a different way than usual? What if, instead of hustling and bustling, we could do what nature is doing all around us - letting go, winding down, and resting?

This is the season when animals hibernate, leaves change and fall, and plants go into a deep rest. Meanwhile, the rest of us normally spend our December running around holiday shopping, frantically decorating, and doing ALL THE THINGS.

Perhaps the gift of 2020 is that we are all arriving this month in a similar place; ready for rest.

It's encouraging to us that despite everything else that happened in 2020 - or, perhaps because of everything else that happened - this December truly could be the most wonderful time of this year: a month to rest, recharge, and regroup.

Here are 4 ways you can begin that process of resting, recharging, and regrouping for yourself, your team, and your family. A process where we can acknowledge and then let go of 2020 and prepare to enter 2021 with renewed focus and energy.

1. Acknowledge

Take some time to sit with yourself and just be. Hold space for the challenges and traumas you have faced this year. Bring awareness to what didn't go as hoped or planned, and how you might feel about the gap between your expectations and realities this year.

2. Empathize

There is a profound quote we love by Dr. Peter A. Levine that says, “Trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness.” As you take time to acknowledge, also take time to be your own empathetic witness. Non-judgmentally feel your feelings, and seek to understand them. Show respect and love for yourself in how you feel what you feel during this time.

3. Reframe

To reframe something is to choose to see it differently. Rather than "silver-lining it", choose to see situations from a fresh and brighter perspective. We acknowledge and we empathize, but we don't stay there. How does this year change when you look at it differently?

4. Refocus

Our brains have a tremendous ability to filter out and focus on information. Pam Grout expounds on this in her excellent book, :

"Scientists now know the brain receives 400 billion bits of information each second. To give you some idea of just how much information that is, consider this: It would take nearly 600,000 average-size books just to print 400 billion zeros...When all is said and done, we’re down to 2,000 bits of information each and every second. What we choose to take in is only one-half of one-millionth of a percent of what’s out there.”

That's right - out of all the information our brains receive every second, we filter out the vast majority, and make meaning out of only .0000005% of it. What are you going to refocus on?

When we hold space to acknowledge our losses, empathize with ourselves, then gently reframe and refocus on what is good, we can truly rest and recharge. And maybe, just maybe, this month can be exactly what we need to regroup and start fresh in 2021, making it the most wonderful time of the year.