written by Eric Pennington, Partner, Spirit of EQ
written & photographed by Lauren Pennington Photography
“There should be purpose to what demands are placed on our energy. Not all time is meant for activity and not all time is meant for solitude.”
How Mindfulness is Impactful
Mindfulness. What is it, and why is it important?
Mindfulness is a way for us to stay aware of our present moment while acknowledging and accepting how we are feeling, what we are thinking, and how we perceive the situation happening around us. Practicing mindfulness during the holidays can stretch us due to the natural hustle and bustle that comes with this season. Taking an extra moment to asses our feelings, thoughts and perceptions can go a long way in protecting our own mental health during both joyful and stressful moments.
During holiday seasons in the past, I would see myself not fully utilizing the much-needed break and filling my schedule with family events, catching up with old friends, and running around town shopping for Christmas presents. I was so concerned with what event I had next on my calendar that I realized I wasn’t acknowledging what I was feeling or thinking in each moment. I see this theme play out a lot during the holidays and if you relate, know that you’re not alone. For some odd reason, resting and creating margin during this season seems harder due to all the activities we jam into a couple of weeks. What if this holiday season, we took a step back and reassessed and asked these questions:
- What do we want this holiday season to look like? Feel like?
- As we start to gather with friends and family again, what did we learn from the past years when holidays may have looked differently?
- What would being present in each moment look like?
Prepare for What You Want
Perhaps throughout your life you’ve heard the word “prepare” in relation to events, projects and more. The secret to preparing is breaking down the “pre” and “pare” parts. Author Jim Branch recommends we focus on parts. The pre is what happens before the event. In this time, you’re making decisions around what is needed, what the timing should look like and potentially writing checklists to keep it all in order. The pare part, speaks to what must be cleared away, what must be moved around and potentially what must be edited. All of that wisdom paves the way for a successful holiday season and beyond. While the holidays may be upon us and plans already made, it’s never too late to build and use this strategy for your year ahead.
Manage Your Energy
In my work, I don’t start until after 9:30 AM. The reason I chose that time frame was not random. The choice was based on my energy and when I’m at my best. As a former corporate executive, that’s big. In the world I ran in before becoming an entrepreneur, starting after 9:30 AM would be a fire-able offense. We create narratives and neural pathways that have no real place in our lives. Whether it’s an employer that has no real purpose in its demands for your time, or our own self-inflicted stress to perform, there should be purpose to what demands are placed on our energy. Not all time is meant for activity and not all time is meant for solitude. We all would be much healthier if we recognized and managed this area better. I use the same approach with relationships, business meetings, vacations and virtually everything else. It took a long time to get there, but it was one of the wisest decisions I’ve ever made.
About Eric Pennington
Eric is the managing partner at Spirit of EQ. He leads the strategy for keeping the mission moving and growing. He is also responsible for all upfront client interaction and onboarding. Eric is a certified practitioner in varied emotional intelligence and neuroscience tools and has over fifteen years of entrepreneurship and leadership experience in both small and large organizations.
Eric is also the author of the eye-opening book, The Well-Being Guide: Making the Most of Life and Work. Based on personal experiences and as a follow-up to his 2008 book, Waking Up in Corporate America, the guide is practical and offers readers the opportunity to evaluate their own lives through self-discovery.
About Lauren Pennington
Lauren is the Social Media Manager and content creator at Season Journals. She is a recent graduate from The Ohio State University with a major in Communications and New Media technology focused in Human Computer Interaction/UX with a minor in Design Thinking. She loves to problem solve and vision cast, and social media is her favorite outlet for that. In her free time, Lauren also runs her own photography business and does freelance UX Design work. Stay tuned for Lauren’s next adventure as she moves to Seattle, Washington in the new year!