By Ginni Saraswati
This time of year is the perfect time to pause. Amidst the holiday festivities, having everyone home, and being away from work, it can seem almost impossible to do this. Switching off is something I encourage myself to do more often than just once a year. I find that when I don’t, all paths inevitably lead to being forced to stop and reflect. It’s in this pausing we can slow down and invite in clarity. Our thoughts and emotions can process, and we can become clearer about the present and future. After the two years we’ve gone through as humanity, pausing is non-negotiable.
- Disconnect to Reconnect
Disconnecting from work is super important here. As a business owner, I know how important it is that rest is part of our professional strategy. And now, more than ever, we want to lean into connection, rest, and quality time. This helps us to recharge, be more creative, connected, and ultimately bring more value to our clients and each other. So, at Ginni Media, we are pausing for two weeks over the holidays. We’ve communicated this to our clients to manage expectations. Sometimes we’ve had to communicate this repeatedly. However, in a culture that still takes value in being “busy,” leaders need to commit to setting a new example that rest is invaluable for a thriving environment. Give yourself a break from work emails, a break from Slack, the pings and dings. Train yourself to say “not now,” when something work related pops into your head. Reconnect with your loved ones, yourself, and nature.
Actually rest. Throw out the alarm clock, sleep in, couch time, Netflix and Chill, sit by the fire, and read kind of rest. Just interrupting your work pattern can do a world of wonders for you. It lets your mind know you’re doing something different. If you have kids, plan playdates. or activities you can do together as a family. Around this time of year, I fly back home to Australia for the holidays and plan a lot of fun activities for my niece, Amaya, and me. Before she gets into the “I’m too cool to hang out with my aunt,” phase, we do fun things like go to trampoline parks, see shows together, go to amusement parks, go out for a meal or even just read together. It’s a great way to connect with your loved ones and also your own inner playful self!
- One thing for you
What’s one thing you can do for yourself during the holidays? Think back to all the wishes you made over the year like, “Oh I wish I could go to that cafe, have a cup of coffee and read for an hour.” Now’s the time to do just that! See how it actually feels and truly enjoy the moment. Gifting yourself these simple wishes is one of the best things you can do for yourself and really pause for these holidays.
- Reflect on the year you’ve had.
This process is often circumvented. Reflection isn’t always the most glamourous process and it most certainly can’t be captured on Instagram. It is oftentimes messy—which is also why people avoid this step and skip straight to making new year’s resolutions. Think about what happened this year, where you are at and what you want to create. As simple as that sounds, this process can really help bring clarity to what you need to do to achieve what you want.
– What happened this year?
– What were the peaks, the valleys?
– What do you want more of?
You can journal this or talk this out with a friend. Just this action, along with setting you up for success in the coming year, allows you to slow down for a moment and pause any chaos happening around you.
- What’s one thing you could implement next year that’s most important to you?
It’s a time when we often make New Year’s Resolutions. Goals or Resolutions need to be S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Based) and also not overwhelming to commit to. I used to set huge New Year’s Resolutions for myself that were the opposite: not specific enough, overwhelming to commit to, and unattainable. It’s the quickest de-motivator and throws me off the rails to a point where I stop altogether. I’ve learned to set more focused goals. For example, a healthy body was a goal of mine this year. What did that look for me? I wanted to be a certain weight, wanted to feel more energetic and confident, and also have muscle tone. This meant I needed to look at three things: how often I exercised, my diet, and my sleep. Those were three different areas. I’ve tried repeatedly to make this goal attainable, relevant, and time-based for me, however, I was failing to do so because I was attempting too many things at once. So, I broke these down and focused on each for three months. At first, I focused on one thing and one thing only: how often I exercised. I started at four times a week and realized that I needed five. After the three-month period, this became a habit, and I was able to commit to this consistently. Next, I focused on my sleeping pattern and sleep schedule. I took myself to bed at a certain time every night and woke up at a certain time. This has helped regulate my sleep, mood, and energy levels—not to mention, it’s been a significant contributor to weight loss. And lastly, my diet. So on and so forth. Think of the first step to what you want to accomplish and commit to that. When we try to overstretch ourselves, we end up getting disappointed, and it impacts our stress levels and motivation even further.
So, take a step back. Make your goals, spend some time alone or with your loved ones completely disconnected from your devices and “normal” routine. You’ll thank yourself for it and as your return to post-holiday life, you’ll feel more refreshed and have set yourself up for success.
Ginni Saraswati is the owner and founder of Ginni Media, a one-stop-shop podcasting production house providing multiple podcast services in one company. Ginni has been featured in a number of publications including Rolling Stone Magazine and Reader’s Digest. She’s also a contributing writer for Entrepreneur, podcast host for The Ginni Show, and an award-winning journalist.