The holidays are likely going be a little different this year but some old stuff may still come up. When we’re back with family we can slip into former roles and revert back to established dynamics from childhood. For help, I asked Zayna Rose, image strategist and consultant for her ideas on how to survive the holidays with family this year.
1. Look to initiate one or two fun activities
For us people pleasers, you can’t play referee or expect to mediate and keep the peace all night. But you can likely have a couple of special moments. So if someone brings negative energy to the party or family zoom gathering, just let them keep it. You don’t have to be a doormat. Gently assert yourself in a calm voice (which will irritate them) to correct someone who is wrong and start something fun like asking your nieces to show off their lip-sync skills or teach you the latest TikTok moves.
2. Start making daily win lists
This year Thanksgiving is likely bringing up a bunch of “stuff” for all of us. For me, this year’s Thanksgiving marks the one-year anniversary of being informed my position at work was “being eliminated” (wait, what) and finding out I was pregnant (seriously, wait, what) eight days later. As you may recall from my first blog, I was an emotional mess. I felt resentful towards my former employer, excited to be expecting, and scared to soon-to-be unemployed. I had some dark months and I am grateful for my family’s support, as I felt physically ill and emotionally bewildered.
With this year’s circumstances, at 6 weeks postpartum I was in no shape to return to the office and ship our newborn off to daycare so I resigned from my corporate job. I’ve been helping small business owners and entrepreneurs with brand consulting and writing services ever since. When I got my first proposal acceptance and was awarded a contract, I felt euphoric. And then I got another. And then another. So not only are my days filled with motherhood activities, they are also filled with business tasks. So how do I “settle in” and embrace my newest roles as mama and business owner?
I started making daily “win” lists. Did two loads of laundry? Totally counts! Made space in the day for a Facetime call with a family member, WIN! Showed up to my accountability pod for our weekly zoom check-in? Add it! There are little things I make happen each day, and adding them all up gives me a sense of accomplishment and positive momentum. I’ve been at it for the past 12 days and I am really enjoying my new little habit! Plus, research shows
The more frequently people experience sense of progress; the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run.
3. Become a master of your own energy
Easier said than done, especially because of the whole reverting back to childhood roles thing I mentioned at the beginning. If you’ve changed since then (most of us have) keep in mind your loved ones don’t always like changes you’ve made.
Keep your tone clean and steady to become a master of your own energy vibe and self-protect.
4. Liberate from just one idea; it’s too much to let it all go, so just let one thing go
Quick note before getting into this one: I had no idea image consultant services were even a thing! But, eager to embrace the new physical and professional changes in my life, I turned to Zayna. As a Certified Image Professional (CIP) and TEDx Speaker, her services involve personal branding, public image development, interpersonal communications coaching, media training and styling.
Lucky for me or anyone going through self-image issues, Zayna has a three-step process: Liberate, Explore, and Expand. We can cycle through these but to start, just pick one, like “Liberate.” For example, I could liberate myself from the expectation I would be “back” into all of my pre-baby clothes four months later/in time for this year’s holiday season.
I had a LONG recovery from childbirth. Longer than the Internet said it should take, like twice as long. So three months later, my body finally FEELS better but it does not LOOK the same. I am not in my skinny jeans. I can’t button my professional, non-iron dress shirts. I could cut calories and carbs…but as a nursing mom, I don’t want to sabotage my supply just to fit into old clothes. So I’m working on liberating this pressure I unknowingly put on myself to drop all of the pregnancy pounds. I eat nutrient-rich food, and enough of it to fuel my active lifestyle (big sis’ personal training sessions are no joke! If you know Coach Kimmy, then you know.) The slimmer version of myself can wait until I am finished nursing; for now, I'm grateful to be a strong, healthy mama.
5. Explore why it matters
As I thought about all aspects of resigning from my corporate job, I was worried people would judge or have a narrow view of me, “oh she’s just staying home” (even though I am also investing big time in my long-term career.) I worked my ass off to get where I am professionally and didn't want people to think just because I am no longer working in a corporate office, I am no longer working. As I explored why it even matters what other people think of my decision, Zayna says something I circled in my notes from our session because it resonated big time for me:
“When we change the way we see ourselves, it changes the way others see us.”
Pretty powerful and it applies for adjustments you make to your wardrobe, home décor, career, and even your friendships.
6. Expand ways of thinking or communication to the next step
One easy way to “Expand” is to eliminate the word “just” from our vocabulary when we encounter situations and people. (This often happens on the subconscious level.) Someone is not “just” at stay-at-home-mom. None of us are “just” one thing; “She’s a republican.” Or, “He looks exotic, he must be from Europe.” As a society, we have a tendency to categorize each other. We are hyper aware of the need to label people. It’s time to drop the labels and embrace expansion. We all have multiple facets.
Those outer labels and categories can get in the way of understanding and connection.
7. Do an image refresh
If you’re looking for help to adjust or expand the way you communicate or the way you feel about yourself, check out Zayna’s Jumpstart Session.
If you’d like to get your on-camera act together quickly, you can join me in checking out her complimentary pdf guide which will also get you an invitation to her new FREE On Screen Style 1hr Training on December 2.