Chaplain Benjamin Box, who serves DESRON 23 at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., shares ways to regain your holiday perspective through an intentional timeout. Prior to his military service, Chaplain Box was a civilian pastor for 10 years.
Along with the challenges of shopping, traveling, decorating, attending parties, consuming calories, and balancing family expectations, it seems as though we can find ourselves with an abundance of eggnog and ugly sweaters, yet suffering a shortage of money, time, and peace of mind.
Shipmates, let me encourage you to hit your pause button and call a “Holiday Time Out.” Be brave enough to slow down, find meaning, and rediscover perspective. A time out can be a walk, journaling, star-gazing, or simply giving yourself space to gather your thoughts for an hour. Now that you have this special time set aside, what do you do?
- Family: Take time to give thanks for your family. Maybe write them a note or a letter and mail it to them or place it in their stocking.
- Friends: Express gratitude for true friends who enrich your life. Make a point to call a friend or two to catch up; or better yet, schedule a time to get together and “talk life” over lunch or a coffee.
- Faith: For many, the holiday season represents more than “winter” break and festive decorations. If you are a person of faith, set aside some time to refresh your soul, and to connect with the One who gives you hope, meaning, purpose, strength, and a reason to rejoice.
2. Regroup and Re-enter. Next, you will now want to prioritize and prepare to tackle the sources of your holiday stress. In your mind, or on paper, walk through the days ahead and ask yourself: What stress points can be reduced? Who do you need to discuss this with? Are expectations aligned and realistic? How can you be proactive, intentional, and assertive? With these questions addressed you can move forward with confidence, ready to make the most of the meaningful days ahead.
3. Focus. As 2014 draws to an end, give consideration to how the year went for you, and to how satisfied you are with it. What accomplishments are you proud of? What regrets do you have? What lessons did you learn? What memories did you make? How did you grow? Are you happy with whom you are as a person? What goals do you have for yourself in 2015? Do you have a clear vision for the year ahead and what you want your priorities to be?
Once you have completed your holiday time out, my sincere hope is that pressure gives way to perspective. May this busy, holiday season and New Year be blessed for you and your loved ones.