Coaching Clients (and Ourselves) Through The Holidays

  • Coaching Clients (and Ourselves) Through The Holidays

    It’s that time of year again—the holidays; a season associated with family, celebration and giving… and, in reality, some challenges.


    It’s been a tough year for a lot of us. In October, The American Psychological Association reported that 52 percent of Americans were experiencing stress because of the US elections. It is speculated that percentage likely increased through November, and it’s not just US citizens who’ve been impacted by recent political and economic unrest. We’re definitely in uncertain times.


    Now, we’re approaching the year’s end and the holidays. Even at the end of the best years we can be a little tired. I know I feel it. We work hard for just under 12 months and then, for a brief moment, stop to celebrate before starting up again in the New Year. That “stopping” is usually the holidays themselves, which can bring more stress. This isn’t just because of the extra work buying gifts, feeding visitors, throwing parties, and dealing with busy traffic and stores, but because we also tend to re-experience our grief.


    One thing I learned when I trained to be a grief recovery specialist is that grief comes in many guises. Not only the experience of sadness, it can include any number of conflicting emotions like resentment, shame, emptiness, overwhelm, anxiety, and even numbness. It’s the natural response we have to those inevitable losses life brings. We lose a loved one, a relationship, a job, our health, wealth, possessions, a lifestyle, a hope or a dream, and we grieve. Not only do the holidays remind us of what we have to be grateful for, they can also remind us what or whom we miss…


    So, I ask myself, how do we consciously help our selves and our clients thrive through these times?


    The first thing that comes up is a reminder to turn my coaching skills toward myself and ask; “Where am I honestly right now? How are my concentration levels, emotions, moods? How relaxed or stressed am I? Am I really okay?” I imagine we could all use a bit of our own coaching, and perhaps even support from others. Either way, as you know, the questions themselves are often enough.


    Then, I think about our clients. We owe them that extra awareness. What is the impact on them? How are they really doing? Again, bringing a simple awareness and compassion can often be enough.


    Like winter, the end of the year feels like an invitation to exhale and take stock of what has passed, before heading into a brand new one. I propose that, in the midst of everything, we all take the time to rest, reflect and acknowledge. When we do that, we reconnect with purpose. Loose ends are tied, and we let go of what no longer serves, leaving space to acknowledge what’s of value. We start the New Year with a clearer mind, a more peaceful heart, and a deeper understanding of whom we are and how we want to continue to serve the world.


    I wish you peace and wholeness this season.

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