From Health

Winter Slow Down & #24DaysofPresence

OMHG Winter Slow Down 2014

This December on OMHG we are taking a collective deep breath and putting the brakes on for the great Winter Slow Down of 2014. Think of it as a season of slow, or a holiday without hustle, permission to ease into a winter of contentment and calm-even if life is swirling around us. Whether you are a maker,  small business owner, shopper or someone who hides from the rush, it can be hard not to get caught up in the frenzy of the holiday season and end up overwhelmed. Commitments like packing orders, promoting sales, events, shows and magic making for our families are all important but we often prioritize them over rest and then need to squeeze in simple goodness. What if this year we all made our own policies that protect our right to slow down for one month a year? It starts here!

Instead of regular posts and social media-ing from December 1-24th OMHG is celebrating a new kind of advent with our #24DaysOfPresence challenge. For the weeks leading up to Christmas take time to document the gifts each day brings whether it is a lovely sunset, a sweet note, or a quiet moment then share them (or don’t!) with the hashtag #24DaysOfPresence. Connect with others who know that the real treasure is never presents but the gift of presence. Once we slow down we can start to pay attention to where our presence is most needed in our lives and communities. Why is being present not only for ourselves but especially for others so very hard?

Jean Vanier on Presence & Doubt #24DaysOfPresence The thought of slowing down causes many of us to become doubtful and we fear whether there is any real value in being present. Get some help busting those obstacles from our community and by being clear about your plans for the winter. Let your friends, family and customers know that you are taking part in the Winter Slow Down by posting one of our badges on your website and social media or write up your policy for a season of slow.

Here are 10 suggestions for things you could change to help slow down this season: 

  1. Prioritize connection & pay attention: Slow is a reminder that more isn’t always best, so focus on the connections you do have whether that is providing customer service with humanity and care or paying attention to what you and those you love need most.
  2. Take a break from regular blogging & updating: Let your readers and followers know you are taking a break and when you’ll be back! Link them back to this post and give them permission to slow down too.
  3. Reduce your online time: What if you only logged on once a day for one hour? How about once a week? Try limiting the time you spend online and focusing on real connection when you do plug in (setting a policy for what days you are available helps!).
  4. Limit answering email to one day a week: Set up an email autoresponder to let people know you are not as available this month, once you’ve made it a policy you are more likely to respect your own boundaries!
  5. Set a firm cut off date for placing orders or shutting down operations: Don’t go taking orders or setting up more work right up until the final hour, if you’ve ever made the mistake of agreeing to custom orders shortly before Christmas you know how big of a stress-reducer this can be! Let everyone know what days you will not be available and stick to it!
  6. Schedule rest time after social time: Social events are tiring no matter how extroverted you are. Build in rest time instead of going from one holiday party or show to another so you can really enjoy the events you attend.
  7. Start Distraction-Free Sundays: Are you able to turn off all the things for one day a week? In our house we put all the devices in one room on Sundays and only use them if there is an emergency. During the winter we try to keep the TV off, avoid commitments and wear our cozy clothes all day, we make big meals (and offer to share with others).
  8. Set your own hours: Start work an hour later or quit an hour earlier every day. If you have a day job go to bed an hour earlier and wake up an hour earlier. Use the time you made for resting.
  9. Create a ‘time out’ spot in your home: Whether it is a nook or a chair at your dining room table spend one hour every day there working on something you love. This can be playing board games with your children or planning out your meals for the week- whatever brings you joy.
  10.  Remember memories matter: Just like you can create policies to protect your slow season you can create a holiday philosophy that is all about making memories not making purchases. What kind of memories do you want to make this year? Use those as a guide to make your strategic plan for slowing down.

In solidarity with our season of slow after this week OMHG will be publishing just a couple of posts (one is a big one on the reason slowing down is personal for me) before January of 2015 when we’ll be back with a plan for the new year. Our last public #OMHG chat of the year is December 11 and our community will be hosting a video party on December 18th for citizens from 12-2pm EST on my 32nd birthday!

Thank you to our talented Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn for sharing her pattern with
OMHG!

Do you struggle to slow down and be present at this time of year? What will you prioritize during the Winter Slow Down? 

Take 100% Care

Take 100% Care, Erin Anacker for OMHG Academy of Goodness

Late Monday night, I arrived home for good after traveling to and from my sister’s place (four hours away) over the last four weeks. I didn’t intend to be gone so long, nor did I intend to take that much time off of work. Though, I was able to squeeze in a few days here and a few hours in between, my original plan was to spend just two weeks with my sis and the rest of the time working on my growing business.

Instead, between a (fantastic) design festival I attended in Cleveland, OH and an adorable baby boy who decided start the process of birth just as I summited the pass on my way home, my schedule has been less than predictable.

Our family has always been extremely poised and willing during any major life event. I remember growing up having family friend’s over who were going through a divorce or struggling with a miscarriage. Or spending time playing games with extended family while they grieved the loss of their daughter.

When I found out my sister was pregnant with our family’s first baby (she always does everything first even though she’s my younger sister), I knew I would do anything for her. I already feel that way about her in general but adding a baby to that equation means I feel it that much more.

Spending two weeks with her postpartum was an easy and emphatic, “YES.”

But it wasn’t easy. And it was even harder to spend the better part of four weeks away from my husband, my life, and the business I care so much about.

In times of need, big or small, it’s easy to loose yourself in someone else’s needs. It’s easy to feel guilty for taking time for yourself, tell them when you need it, and actually follow through without cutting it short or cutting it out entirely.

All but a few days, I would wake up and walk to my favorite coffee shop—something I enjoy doing as a part of my morning routine at home. For an hour or two I would hold space for myself. I would listen a podcast or two, observe the houses nestled in the neighborhood, or call a friend from across the country to enjoy the company.

The other day I (finally) got a chance to participate in the #omhg chat on Twitter for the first time. The topic was how to give good and keep ourselves from burning out or becoming embittered.

One thing I shared was that I truly believe generosity starts with you, and I don’t mean that in the traditional sense of “be the change you want to see in the world” (though these concepts are not mutually exclusive). Generosity starts with you in that you must be 100% in order to give 100%. You must put yourself first, no matter how counter intuitive.

If we always put others first without any regard for ourselves, we will run ourselves ragged. Lisa Jacobs shared, “like on the airplane, you have to make sure you’ve put on your own air mask before you can help others.”

How much are we able to do for anyone if we are always sick, hurting, exhausted, and unhappy? Taking care of you teaches others how to respect you and empowers others to care for themselves. It is not selfish, it is strategic.

When you send email at 3am; respond to client fires immediately and often without established boundaries; sacrifice sleep, food, exercise, relationships and your general wellness, you are setting up expectations regardless of what your words have stated.

We must show our children, friends, and clients how we want to be treated and empower them as a strong example of self-respect.

Though being there for my sister was much more than I anticipated, I still made time for me. In taking care of my needs, even in a small ways, I was able to be that much more present, helpful, and gracious with her.

Are you taking 100% care of yourself so you can give to others?

I am designing a course on developing meaningful relationships for the indie designer called Cultivate. One of the principles I am fleshing out is this concept of putting yourself first so that you may better serve others. I invite your thoughtful comments and welcome the opportunity for dialogue.

Meet Erin Anacker | Betwixt

Erin AnackerErin Anacker is a People Enthusiast at Betwixt—a business helping women in design connect with their people. When she’s not thinking too hard, you’ll find her out on the trail, drinking a good latte, or boisterously enjoying the company of friends.

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