Happy Holidays, ACO Community!

I hope this letter finds you all well and moving through your holiday season with ease. I realize with a bit of awe that our next connection will be in 2011. It’s amazing how 2010 has flown by!

As I was considering what to write for this month’s letter, I did (and am doing) what I typically do which is to consider what seems to be currently happening in my life and the life of my ADHD clients. One consistent theme is anxiety – another is anger. It is interesting to consider the holiday season and all that it means in terms of its emotional impact to most every human and its exacerbated impact to the sensitivities and empathic nature of our ADHD crowd. When I consider this impact, I tend first to think globally and then drill down to personally.

Holiday Season Part of Global Cycle

This holiday season can be looked at from the natural death and life cycle of our planet and from a coaching perspective for both ourselves and our clients. All processes have a natural birth, growth and life, decline, and death cycle. Our planet moves through this order with spring, summer, fall and winter. We as humans live this process through as infants, children, adults and then as seniors towards death. Our projects and our coaching follow the same arc traveling from idea, to initiation, to growth and action and finally the completion phases.

I find it useful to consider that we are currently entering into a death cycle. I laugh because this could be taken in a very morbid way, but that is not how I think of it. The way I think of it is that it is likely time to allow ourselves to slow down a bit, regroup and re-energize to be prepared for the re-birth of energy and a new capacity that will happen after the first of the year. It is not the time to force through anything. The impact of the practice of ‘pushing through’ challenges many people and certainly our ADHD clients.

Personal Push Increases Stress

Our tendency during this time frame is not to slow down, but to try to pick up speed and get everything done – whether this is about holiday plans, personal lives or work lives. So while energetically the universe is slowing, we are pushing against the tide and trying to speed up. For me, here is one place where anger and anxiety both show up and increase. If my body is calling for me to slow down and I am trying to speed up, what happens? If my energetic bandwidth is depleted or calling for rest and I am perhaps ignoring that call and pushing on through, what happens? If I need to slow down and everyone around me is asking for ‘more’, what happens? The most common answer is anxiety and anger with an increased experience of sensitivity among the ADHD crowd.

Emotional Self-Care Guidelines

What you might ask, are some good guidelines to reducing this anxiety and anger for an overall approach of self-care?

• First – Awareness, then Action: I don’t know what I don’t know until I know it. Once I know that my need is to slow down and pay attention, I can then apply action to slowing down.

• Second – Lower the stressful situations that I put myself in: there is no need to set myself up for anxiety. Within this too, is an overall approach of SLOW DOWN!  For me, slowing down is a critical component of moving through the holiday season with grace, ease and peace.

• Third and crucial for me – Eat well and get in movement.

  • Decrease my sugar intake (which is particularly challenging during the holidays). The decrease in sugar increases my level of tolerance for stress.  Sugar highs and lows tend to create emotional volatility and a susceptibility to recreating old emotional patterns.
  • Increase my quality protein to anchor into a more grounded feeling.
  • Create Movement – also known as exercise – to release emotions, stress and anger which again increases my ability to tolerate all that is going on.

• Fourth – Be Gentle with myself, my schedule and with others.

• Lastly – Find Joy! Be grateful. Look for places to laugh. This season is also about nurturing and getting prepared for the birth of a new year (and self). Let’s live in that!

Winter and the Holidays Create Space

When I have cared for myself as an overall holiday/winter approach, and when my clients follow suit I have found that winter and the holiday season can become very useful indeed, as it was intended, to make space for what is next. Without this new space there is no room for the amazing year and life experience to come. Without regrouping and re-energizing, there is no capacity to make those things happen in a sustainable way. Without making space for me, there is no room for me and thereby none of me to go around for others.

Following these guidelines may you all sail through your December schedule and enjoy your time with family, loved ones, clients and yourself immensely!

Be well and again, Happy Holidays to you all.

Reaching out,

Ian