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Sail Through The Holiday Season

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The holiday season can feel like a storm at sea.  Extra socializing can wash away your physical energy, extra spending can create a monster wave of mental worries and extra time with familiy can bring up emotional issues which tempt you to abandon the ship.  It is easy to feel spiritually adrift wondering about your very survival. Our desire is for a fulfilling holiday season but in reality the voyage often takes resiliency.

The epitome of resiliency is the cartoon character ‘Popeye the Sailorman’ who famously said, “I Yam What I Yam”. He knew who he was and made no apologies as he downed cans of spinach to replenish his strength. You can follow his lead and find ways to replenish your energy by being who you are and finding your own personal energy boosters. It is the sure way to sail smoothly and successfully through the holiday season.

To make the most of your energy you need to know yourself. What people, places and situations give you energy and which ones take it away? In the same way that the successful sailor stops to feel the wind, you must feel your energy. What energizes each of us it is different and there are no right or wrong answers. What catches my sail might leave you stranded at the dock. Focus on your own North Star, sailing with the current and the wind at your back.

There are lots of well-accepted practices to increase your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy but the key is to find the ones that appeal to you personally. If you do things because someone else told you to, it is unlikely that you will keep it up. Every successful voyage at sea depends upon onboard systems to be sure that things are not only balanced, but ‘shipshape’ and this applies to you as well.

Sailors are required to eat 6000 calories a day to maintain their energy on a trans-oceanic yacht race and there are things that you must do to maintain your physical energy too. They include getting enough sleep, exercising and eating fresh food. Start by recognizing what you are doing that is good and congratulate yourself on that. Then make some baby step changes. Maybe commit to taking a walk every day or giving up one unhealthy thing in your diet, like French fries.

When sea conditions are tough sailors often fear they will drown far from home, and like any negative thought, that is an energy drainer. It is well accepted that positive people have more energy and get better results. Those who listen to their inner critic can waste a lot of energy. Arianna Huffington calls this “the obnoxious roommate in your head”. If you were to do an analysis, what percentage of your thoughts would be energy giving and what percentage would be energy draining? Consider filling your head with positive affirmations before the negative thoughts creep in.

How you feel about things will determine whether your energy is flowing or blocked. All it takes to get things moving is to stop and find three things for which to be grateful, even when things seem to be the most dismal. You’ll feel uplifted. Practicing forgiveness of someone, even in your distant past, will release more energy, as will giving up judgment of others. Take time each day to feel a positive emotion about those with whom you work and it will change the energy between you. In fact, you’ll both have more energy!

Sailors, at the constant mercy of the elements, tattoo their bodies with images of crosses or Viking spiritual symbols to feel protected. Spiritual energy is NOT about religion. Rather, spirituality has a vertical and a horizontal dimension to it, says Geraldine Bown from Domino Perspectives. The Vertical connection is to the sacred and divine. You believe in a power higher than yourself and in a greater purpose. The Horizontal connection relates to others, which means being mindful of the highest good for all. Connect both vertically and horizontally by praying, meditating or taking time to reflect.

Joseph Conrad wrote, “He who loves the sea loves also the ship’s routine”.  You need to schedule energizers in the same way that you do a coffee break. Consider it like taking vitamins. For example: If spending time with your kids running in the park rejuvenates your physical energy, schedule it and shorten the supplier cocktail reception; if going to a movie stimulates your mental energy, buy a gift certificate for a friend and the two of you can go together; if you can’t avoid spending time with someone who drains your energy, fill yourself up first with an energy gainer. Finally, to anchor it all, take time to read something inspirational before bed to stimulate your spiritual energy.

On every ship there were usually just a hand full of highly skilled and experienced seaman.  These ‘real sailors’ were experts in seamanship. They could rig and repair the ship, read the weather and were prepared no matter how rough the waters. They knew the calm sea was often the lull before the storm and when it came they always learned from it. For like the old English proverb, they accepted the challenge knowing that ‘a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor’.

Resilience can be learned and in the same way that these sailors were experts in their trade, you can become an expert self-energizer. Popeye knew what he needed for energy and by celebrating his individuality he found strength. You can do it too. Discover the energy boosters that will help you set sail this holiday season and enjoy the high seas

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