All research shows that women experience more stress at Christmas time, but women in senior leadership, dealing with changing family and personal dynamics are likely to be even more affected. So what might really be going on?
If you’re a woman in leadership who’s feeling scratchy about Christmas, the problem might not be Christmas!
So it’s a week until Christmas Eve and, if your house is anything like ours, the pressure is mounting to get everything done. The phenomenal effort of balancing work, works parties, shopping for presents and getting the house prepared and larder filled ready for family to arrive cannot be overstated. We told ourselves last year we’d be better prepared this time around, but somehow that’s doesn’t seem to have happened!
On top of all this, are you perhaps feeling that this time there is something else, a different sort of nagging feeling which is making you feel out of sorts or anxious? It’s all too easy to dismiss such feelings as yet another culprit of changing hormone levels, but let’s just take a moment to take a closer look. Is there perhaps something right at your core, that isn’t about the stuff that’s going around you, something you’ve perhaps been ignoring for a while, that seems out of kilter?
Life has a natural tendency to pass through periodic phases of upheaval or change, and normally we ride the waves of these changing tides with the dexterity that years of having done so has taught us. There are, however, pivotal points in our lives when we really need to pay attention to what’s actually going on. If, this time around, delivering the usual magic of your rock-like, executive super-mum alter ego feels ‘heavier’, less authentic, then this could be one of those times when it’s really important to stop, find and really listen to your inner voice – the one that, once you strip away the layers of executive, wife, mother, colleague and friend, exposes the truth about how you really want the rest of your life to look.
So, be honest – does this resonate with you?
The fundamental reason for this feeling of discontent which so often emerges at what seems like the pinnacle of our careers, is that the ‘why’ we had when we were twenty-something, the one which defined the trajectory of our working and family lives, is no longer the same ‘why’ we have as we go into our fifties. We have grown and changed, but have our career and personal goals adapted with us? Does what seemed so attractive when we were 25 still give us the sense of fulfilment and reward that we expected it to? The wisdom and experience we have gained in our fifties often drives a desire for a more streamlined approach to life, one which authentically matches our more mature priorities. And this is exactly the moment to take some time out to hear what that inner voice I referred to earlier has been trying to say….
Now, there’s good news and bad news: the bad news is that I can’t offer much in the way of help at this late stage to get you through Christmas, other than to advise going with the flow and abandoning ideas of perfection! The good news is that the New Year is coming and, however much supposedly wise folk advise against New Year Resolutions, we can’t help treating it as a time of renewal, when we’d like to make those changes that have been waiting patiently in the wings to be acknowledged.
If you feel you’d like some guidance in helping you sort your thoughts and convert them into meaningful and mindful action then get in touch. I have programmes specifically designed to help you reconnect with your authentic self and flush out a really compelling ‘why’ for the next chapter of your life journey. These programmes are firmly rooted in years of experience of leading people through profoundly life-enhancing change, and they could just be the key to the restoration of your mojo!
Click on my coaching page to work with me.