In the blink of an eye, the holidays are here again. The excitement and anticipation this time of year can be particularly challenging for children with special needs and naturally, their parents. Children are faced with so much stimulation, impulses are difficult to suppress, schools are closed and schedule changes throw everyone off. I could go on… But what if you could put down (or cut in half) your anxiety and worry about what will be this holiday season? What would that make possible? What does it look like in your mind’s eye to have the holidays go a different? I invite you to consider.
I have declared the next 30 days “Worry Free Living Month”. In fact, I have even enrolled my daughter in the practice. You see, I struggle with anxiety. Always have. I’m a natural worrier and the older I get, the more practice I have with it. I’m an A+ student at this point. Here’s the thing though, 85% of what we worry about never happens. And even when it does, it’s typically not nearly as difficult to handle as we think it will be. So, I’m basically wasting a whole lot of time and energy worrying with little return on my investment. Actually, it has cost me more than I’d like to admit over the years: time, energy, money, relationships, inner peace, health, connection, productivity, gratitude, happiness.
Through my Coach Training Program and now as a Mentor Coach with Accomplishment Coaching, my worrying has been a frequent topic of conversation with the program facilitators, my coach and my coaching colleagues. I’ve never been proud of it but until now I was unable to grasp how insidious it has become in my life. After a year and half of growth as a practicing coach, I am committed to taking on this shadowy part of me in service of my clients, my children, my husband and myself. I am committed to creating a holiday season where we can just be together as a family, being with what is and what is not. Energy once spent trying to change, control and manage will be channeled towards gratitude, appreciation and being in the present moment. The thing is that there’s an urgency for me to tackle this. Having two children with their own anxiety, I am crystal clear that staying in my cycle of worry send the clear message to my children that this is THE way to “do” life. They must feel, see, hear and experience something different so that they see that they get to choose how it will go for them.
Do you see something available for yourself in dropping the worry? I welcome you to take the trip alongside me. So that I can support you, please post your declaration in the comments section!
You may be thinking this all sounds great but it will never work for you. Or, it sounds great but you can’t figure out how to make the change. While there is absolutely no “right” way to go about making this shift, here are the steps I’ve carved out for myself. You get to decide your path as the ultimate expert in your own life.
- Worrying is a bad habit. And, like any other habit, forming a new one requires gaining clarity on the purpose letting go of the worry.
- What will life look like without worry? What will dropping the worry make possible that isn’t possible today?
- By writing down the answers to these questions, and revisiting them over the course of the month, I will continue to re-present myself to what I truly want.
- Next, I will generate awareness around my worry.
- When does it happen? How do I know when it’s happening?
- What purpose does it serve for me?
- Becoming mindful of my worry might include writing down every time I have a worried thought or recording the number of times I worry in an hour.
- From here I create a new habit to replace the worry.
- Repeating a mantra in my head when the worry creeps in,
- Picking up a small ball and dropping it,
- Stating a gratitude
- Maintaining my spirituality practice. Connecting to something higher than myself reminds me to let go and trust
- Next, enlisting the support of a loved one or friend to keep me accountable.
- Support can take any form. My husband, mother and daughter will all be charged with holding me accountable at my request. My husband will remind me twice a day in person, my mom over the phone each morning and my daughter via text at least once a day.
- Finally, as a recovering perfectionist, having compassion for myself when I backslide is going to be of utmost importance. No worrying about worrying allowed.
And with that, I’m off…Happy Holidays!
As a reminder, I’m the mother of two children with TS. I am committed to be of service to other parents in the NJCTS community. I’ll do this by sharing my own experiences on the blog and by providing complimentary parent coaching. Please contact me for support.