We’re deep in the holiday season! Parties, lists, gift giving and receiving and plenty of ways to jangle your fa-la-la-la-la’s We’ve asked licensed therapist Nicole Shannon to give us her expert advise, her time tested ways to celebrate and stay creative and productive during the season.


Happy and Delicious New Year!

At the end of the year, lots of deadlines are upon us. What are the best ways to balance work and personal commitments this time of year?
The best way to stay balanced during the end of year hustle and bustle is to be mindful of what you’d like to accomplish and how you want to feel when you’re ringing in 2014. If you want to ring in the new year the same “exhausted” and “busy” way you watched it roll out then continue doing what you’re doing, but you can remain connected to yourself and others even though there are deadlines and commitments up ahead. The number one pitfall we all make is to over commit ourselves and in the process we disappoint ourselves and others. Don’t over commit, ask for help, and start by getting comfortable with the word, “no”. Balance is a state of mind we achieve when we’re being true to ourselves.

Holiday parties means lots of shmoozing and socializing. What suggestions do you have for having fun while still being professional at the work events? Depending on your introvert or extrovert status, holiday parties can be fun or torture. Either way, you can have your type of fun and feel comfortable come Monday. First and foremost, keep it classy. Choose your outfit wisely and keep in mind you’re headed to an office party not the nightclub. Self-monitor as much as possible or hang with a friend who can assist you with that if you feel the temptation to indulge will be too strong. Keep the conversations pleasant and upbeat and have a time limit in mind. Typically, nothing good happens after midnight.

How can people enjoy the holidays and get everything accomplished on their “to do” list? If your “to do” list is reasonable then you should be able to enjoy the holidays and get everything done. It’s always important to have realistic goals though. Look at your to-do list and ask yourself a few questions, 1) Do I really need to accomplish everything on this list? 2) What will happen if I don’t get everything done? 3) Am I too focused on checking things off my list that I’m forgetting about the important things? Nothing feels better than checking things off our list, but we sometimes focus on the “lists” more than our time connecting to those around us.

What are some good ways to stay creative and productive during the holidays? Stress and overwhelm are two sure fire ways to zap creativity. In order to keep your creative juices flowing during the holiday season make sure you’re creating space both internally and externally. The internal and external space need to be congruent. So many times I have people telling me that they don’t understand why they’re not feeling inspired and once we take a peek at their internal and external worlds we can see why it’s so uninspiring. If you’re just rushing from place to place and not creating space for self-care then I’m sure you’re not creating space in your life for inspiration. Connection to self and others is what inspires creativity as well as taking the time away that you need to be quiet and thoughtful.

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