By: Ellen Kamaras
Are you trying to stay positive while juggling your occupational spiritual, familial, and domestic responsibilities? Yes, we wear many hats – especially during the hagim. At times, we feel like a juggler, struggling to keep all the balls in the air, or a tightrope walker trying to stay balanced.
Hashem offers us the incredible opportunity to renew our spirit and spark every year, but it does come with challenges. We take many days off from work during this time and some of us lose pay because of our absence. There are extra costs involved too – buying holiday clothes and greater quantities of food and dessert so as to host our families and friends.
Here are some strategies to help you re-balance, manage your stress, and keep you positive in the coming weeks.
Seek Balance– Strive for Rambam’s shviel hazahav – the middle, or golden, path. This tool has been my compass for most
of my life – one that my father, A”H, taught me. When I overate or had unrealistic expectations, my father would remind me that Jews are encouraged to take the middle path and not be extreme in their actions or middot. It’s all about finding balance.
What makes the hagim meaningful for you? Is it connecting with Hashem and your family? If your answer is yes, consider inviting a number of guests over, while staying within your financial budget. Envision yourself sitting in the Sukkah feeling positive and relaxed, rather than exhausted and irritable. Imagine your stress vanishing as the people you love most surround you.
Reframe– Reframing your mindset will allow you to view
and experience events, problems and emotions in a new and positive light.
As an unknown author once said: “It is difficult to see the picture when you are inside the frame.”
Can you step out of that frame and see the hagim through
Can you reframe your worries about the hagim and focus on the blessings that come with them?
Yes, there are many balls to juggle around the holidays – shopping, cooking, cleaning, and making up lost days of work –
but think about the quality time we’ll all spend, re-connecting with Hashem and forging a clean slate for the New Year. What a welcome rest we’ll all have! No carpools, no subways, no traffic, no incessant pings coming from the computer and smartphone. Jews invented “unplugging, after all!”
How many more blessings can you come up with?
Be Mindful– Mindfulness is about being totally focused, aware and present within your own life. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines it as being fully in the moment or “paying attention on purpose.” Remember, there’s a high cost to not being present for our own lives – missing out on some really precious moments.
During the hagim, make the effort to be more mindful – whether you are shopping, cooking or sitting with your family at meals. Give yourself the gift of being totally present for your family. Think about the messages you want to send your children about connecting with Hashem, being kind, doing hesed, having derech eretz, and showing hakarat hatov to others.
Live your Life with Intention – On Purpose– In order to enjoy the many gifts that Hashem offers us, it is essential that we live our lives with purpose and with intention. The concept of kavanah is about intention, focus, concentration, and meaning. Before you go to synagogue, or while you sit in the sukkah, take the time to explain to your children what the various hagim symbolize and remind them to pray from their hearts in addition to their minds.
Be the Author of Your Own Story– Finally, the holidays are about rebirth – creating new goals for the upcoming year and focusing forward. They’re about becoming a better you. Are you ready to make some positive changes in your life? As long as you stay focused, balanced, and mindful, you can do it!
Wishing you all a Shana Tova and Hag Sameach!
Ellen Kamaras, CPA/MBA, is a International Coach Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach (ACC). Her coaching specialties include life, career and relationship coaching for singles.
Ellen coaches individuals who want to get “unstuck”, find their purpose/passion, re-invent themselves and make positive changes in their lives. She also helps singles get clear on their values, vision and relationships requirements, needs and wants for a lifetime partner.
Ellen can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.