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THEY SAY it’s the season for peace on Earth, generosity to those in need, focus on family, time off from work to reboot, home-cooked meals with friends and in-laws, and outpouring of love to all mankind. And of course, Big Boxes marketing and media alike start shunting these messages into our brains even before the last lame Halloween costume has been tucked away for next year. Painted in that rose-colored prescription, what’s not to LOVE about the holidays?
Picture perfect is a crock.
Tell me if this line (or something like it) doesn’t ring a bell:
“Honey, would you please turn off the damn football game and hang the lights?! I ask you to do ONE thing during the holidays and you always take forever.”
Even if some of you don’t have a lovely wife who bugs you about the whole twinkling lights task, fifty bucks says someone nags you to attack some dreaded list of responsibilities during the holidays… and it snowballs into a festering bout that neither of you drop until you’re finally swigging champagne on NYE. Point being, year-end holidays can become a force-feeding of extra duties—shopping, cleaning, decorating, packing, prepping for company, cooking, blah, blah, blah. And often these lead up to overspending, travel catastrophes, overeating, rerun parties, never getting enough real rest, cramming for end of year deadlines, putting up with that ONE obnoxious, know-it-all relative, and perhaps a small Christmas tree fire.
Maybe any other time of year you’d be a little more appeasing or less chapped about hanging the damn lights (or whatever)… but for many men, the holidays create a pressure cooker situation that starts around Thanksgiving and doesn’t end until they apologize for not becoming the perfect version of Bobby Flay meets Bobby Trendy meets Frank Sinatra and for over-celebrating when the team they don’t hate that much wins the Superbowl. We may say and do things for (what we think are) the right reasons; but confetti a few layers of seasonal stress over the whole scene and we end up saying and doing things in all the wrong ways. Certainly both genders are on the hook for it… but somehow men get the short end of the stick.
FYI: Men are STRESSED too
Go ahead and Google “holiday stress women men” and see what even the first few pages reveal. Beneath the countless regurgitated, idiotic Band-Aid therapy tips to counter seasonal anxiety—just focus on the good, try forgiving and dive into meditation—are pages of stats and stories of the pressures of high anticipations, Christmas shopping brawls, couple meltdowns, corporate party indiscretions, suicides and depressive acts of desperation.
Embarrassingly for the publishers of plenty of these articles—even the most recent ones—is the fact that some of the data repeatedly referenced are as old as 2006. But the worse crime is the emphasis on concern for women’s health and sanity over men’s, asserting that women face impossible guidelines and expectations to create the perfect holiday celebrations and top last year’s family experiences; thus, features from HuffPost to the CDC and every therapist and talk show in between create a case that women shoulder much more stress than men- downplaying the roles and responsibilities guys bear as well as overlooking the emotional roller coaster they experience.
Additionally, these incomplete articles shed little light on the stressors that work and career finances place on employees and CEOs alike; and this further skews the argument because there are still more men in the workforce than women, and, even during the holidays, career/job/income stress outweighs all other categories of pressure. All that said, I am not a huge fan of memorizing and tossing out statistics… because I can safely assume none of us enjoy being shuffled into a stack of nameless, faceless numbers; but I am not pitting men against women- suggesting you keep on with your procrastination, inauthentic one-sided apologies, and overfilling of your favorite highball glass. So let’s focus on real solutions- without the lame re-gifted “eat more veggies and try focusing on the power of giving” pacifiers.
3 ways to understand WHY & HOW stress fills your stocking with coal
Amidst the smorgasbord of seasonal articles and other yearround research I do as a Performance Coach for businessmen, I ultimately see three blatant truths, gentlemen:
To fulfill these though, you gotta do some of the heavy lifting—3 simple (though not entirely easy) strategies. But know they’re the gifts that will keep on giving throughout the year.
Happ-ier Holidays mean being proactive
Getting a handle on how you can better thrive through the season might help you to smooth things out for future holidays… you know, the ones you dream about—with more football games and fewer musical specials; more NORMAL food, less fancy unidentifiable little bites; more quiet time and simple gatherings, and fewer over-hyped, overdressed affairs with strangers.
If you still need a hand and a solid wingman, give me a shout. Cheers and Happy Holidays, boys. ~KD
© Kimberlie Dykeman. Coach, Confidante and Wingman for overstretched, overstressed Executives, Entrepreneurs & VIPs. Unique packages include Life/Performance Coaching, Mini-Retreats, Wingman Detail. Maximize your strengths, dump the toxic issues, boost your confidence and feel more in tune.
Pure SOAPBOX podcasts will continue on www.puresoapbox.com in January 2016.
Folks, it’s that time of year again. My only HOPE is that perhaps this is the year that triggers the masses to dissolve themselves in the notion that GIVING THANKS can happen year-round… should happen each and every day… costs nothing, is timelessly priceless and indeed changes lives.
thanks·giv·ing (th ngks-g v ng) n. an act of giving thanks; an expression of gratitude
In black and white, the operative word here is giving. Needless to say, the actual form of the “thanks” itself is rather important as well. This nationally respected date for giving thanks has been anchored in time by our forefathers in an unyielding attempt to showcase its kinetic nature. And so, let us share pause for the brilliance of one of the unshakable Canon…
“Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.” ~ Teddy Roosevelt
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John F. Kennedy
And so, I THANK YOU, folks, for giving me your time. I coach, write, speak, volunteer, paint, create… because I am moved to do so; because I love each craft; but above all, because I can be of service to anyone who crosses my path. I am thankful for those who help me, call on me to serve, egg me on and cheerlead, put me through the ringer (!), and show me that my purposeful actions are having an impact! So, I urge you: Be THANKFUL. Think it, say it, show it, never keep it bottled up, and pour it out every day. ~ KD
Another article of KD picked up by The Good Men Project . This official second article hits on loneliness:
If It’s Lonely at the Top… Go Fill the Damn Moat: How to shift your perspective, dump the gloom, and become less lonely by re-engaging and igniting your relationships.
REMEMBER: This article will be the fuel to an upcoming podcast on the PURE SOAPBOX channel, as an episode on the show “EVOLVE or Decay.” So SUBSCRIBE to plug in to the podcasts for FREE.
Never Stop EVOLVING
This just in: I have officially become a contributing writer and now join the brilliant international community at The Good Men Project (www.goodmenproject.com). Apparently they needed a bold female life coach who covers all things WINGMAN! I am honored and truly jazzed at this tremendous opportunity to have a greater impact on the broad, diverse, international audience this organization has galvanized.
The Good Men Project is a community of 21st Century thought leaders fostering a national discussion centered around the issue of men’s roles in modern life. Not so much a magazine as a social movement, the diverse ecosystem of contributors evolved from just a book into a movie, live events, a national discussion, a platform, and a non-profit helping boys and men at-risk. Good Men Media Inc. is the multi-media strategic platform modern manhood and the question, “What does it mean to be a good man?”
Selected to offer my angle on business, relationships, motivation and wellness, the first article just out of the gate hits on friendships: Arithmetic of Friendship: Kimberlie Dykeman shares her simple but wise process to sifting out, seeking out, and solidifying a killer circle of friends.
This article will be the fuel to an upcoming podcast on the PURE SOAPBOX channel, as an episode on the show “EVOLVE or Decay.” So SUBSCRIBE to plug in to the podcasts for FREE.
Never Stop EVOLVING