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How to Practice Feeling Content This Holiday Season

  November 28

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feeling contentI’ll be honest with you. It’s not often I feel content.

Call it a character flaw. Call it a strange little personality quirk, but I’ve always been someone who is looking forward and on to the next thing and not appreciating where I am.

I always want to improve, to do better, to be better. A colleague of mine once sent me a book with a personality test in it, and my personality test said that I was the type of person who wasn’t happy if 99 out of 100 things on my to do list were checked off because one was missing.

Sigh. That’s me 100%.

It always feels like more can be done. As a mom, I feel like I could have taken the twins to one more place, read them one more book, done one more thing.

As a digital entrepreneur I feel like I could have pitched one more client, answered one more e-mail, written one more post.

 

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As a wife, I feel like I could have offered one more word of praise, washed one more dish so he didn’t have to after a long day, or given one more hug or kiss.

It’s a blessing and a curse, because this tendency of mine pushes me to pursue great opportunities and improve all aspects of my life, but at the same time, I am prone to moments of withdrawal when things get to be too much, when the responsibilities are too weighty.

So, knowing all this about myself, I am going to practice contentment this holiday season.

Here’s how I am going to do it in case you need help doing it too.

Write It Down

One of the best gifts I ever received was a one line a day journal. I love that it literally has space for you to write one sentence about your day (because seriously, who has time to write an entire journal entry?!)

At night, while I’m doing my nightly routine of washing my face, taking my vitamins, and getting in my jammies, I also write one line about my day. Usually I try to remember something funny my kids did or something I’m happy about.

Life can be challenging, hard, and unfair at times. However, when I write down that I’m grateful my kids held hands with each other unpromted, it reminds me that it’s truly the little things that matter. Below is a picture of what it looks like (I love the teal color!)

Remembering That I Don’t Have it All But I Have Something

My husband’s medical school loans are over the $500k mark, and I can easily feel the weight of that majorly negative net worth. The truth is, though, that I don’t have it all but I have something.

I don’t have millions in the bank, but I have a good job that I created for myself.

 

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I have enough money to feed my kids high quality food, and I have enough money to do something enjoyable every now and then outside of my house.

And, let’s be honest, I have money to buy coffee and wine, which makes me a fully functioning human sun up to sun down.

 

Ultimately  I want to practice being content with what I have and where I am. There will always be a time for fancier Christmas gifts, for more experiences, for more income to provide more opportunities. But for today, I will be content knowing that we’re fine, that we have healthy kids, and that my husband and I have a loving, albeit imperfect, marriage.

I want to be content in the moment. I want to be happy and grateful that I have my children today as they are, nothing more, nothing less.

Just for one holiday season, I don’t want to worry about the future, about what might happen to my kids as they grow and go out into the world. I just want to be here as I am and be totally and completely okay with that.

I know finding contentment will be a process, especially for someone with a personality like mine. However, I think that with enough focus on my loved ones and a commitment to stop and realize how much we all have will help me to be more mindful this holiday season.

What are you thankful for this holiday season? How do you practice contentment?

 

feeling content

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39 responses to “How to Practice Feeling Content This Holiday Season

  1. Cat, we are cut from the same cloth. Like you, I’m always driven to seek more in life and in my business. I’m not easily content and I’m not very good at being relaxed or taking time off. I’m going to do my best to be unplugged and present tomorrow with my family. I have so much to be thankful for everyday, not just on Thanksgiving. Being content is hard for people like us, but it’s good for us to take a step back now and then. Enjoy your day off! You deserve it!

  2. I can totally relate to this, Cat. It’s 1:30 AM, the morning before Thanksgiving, and I’m worried about not getting up early enough to squeeze in some work tomorrow. But your post is spot on! Breaks and holidays exist for a reason. And we should definitely be grateful for that. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. I wish I could say that this sounds crazy, but I’ve totally done the same thing. Last year on Thanksgiving I worked 2-3 hours still. :-S I’m trying really hard to take a break for family, but it’s hard.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving, Cat!!! This post related to me so much. You are not alone!! (And yes – thankful for wine!!) I read something a while back about how all we have is this moment – yesterday is gone and tomorrow never comes. That REALLY resonated with me and kind of changed my whole perspective on life. Even when sitting in traffic annoyed, that’s the only moment that is truly mine. So, I just try to do the best I can with each moment I’m given, and nothing more 🙂

    In light of being thankful, I am so thankful for a wonderful friend like you!! The internet really is incredible in that it brings not only tons of income-making opportunities, but it also connects so many of us who are in the same phase of life. So, thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I wish you nothing but the best on this day and in life!! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  4. I love the message of this post and your honesty about your struggles. I am quite negative by nature, and while I’ve changed in this area, I can still get focused on the 1 thing out of 100 that is not going well. I kept a gratitude journal for years and this definitely helped me see life more realistically by focusing on the good I would otherwise ignore. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. “And I have money to buy wine so there’s that. (I should have led with that because we all know how important wine is.)” Ha ha! True! I think it’s really hard once you have the momentum to stop, perhaps in fear of it not starting up again, or that taking a break will make the universe punish you in some way that work will just stop. OK maybe that’s just me. But it’s so important to rest and take stock. Hope you make some time for that!

  6. Have a very happy thanksgiving Cat! It can be tough to want to have everything together for your kids and your husband (I feel it too), but extending love and gratitude is better than even the best financial riches.

  7. I can definitely relate to this, too. I’ve been working all week as I have a few major projects to wrap up and I don’t know how to take a break. There’s no such thing as “enough,” either. I agree it’s a blessing and a curse. I’m glad I have a great work ethic, but I hate that it comes at the expense of my sanity more times than not. I’m trying to get better at giving myself credit and taking a breather. I hope you were successful and enjoyed Thanksgiving with your family!

  8. Now I know why I gravitate towards your site so much;) Hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for the time I took away from the web these past few days (the time I forced myself to take).

    1. You wrote it a few weeks ago? Ha! I wish I were that organized and ahead of schedule. It’s hard to balance my blog with writing for others and my life away from the internet. Too funny that we both wrote about the same topic though. Great minds do think alike. 🙂

  9. Cat, I’m the same way! I never feel content with where I’m at, and am always moving on to something bigger or better. It’s tough to be in that position all the time. Sometimes I wish I could just be happy with where I’m at and enjoy life!

  10. I feel like I have been hearing this topic more lately than usual or maybe because this is resonating with me now. But you are absolutely right that feeling content is to find joy in what we have and not focus on what we don’t. $500k for med school can be stressful but sounds like your family is a great support system!

    1. They definitely are! It’s crazy at times and I try not to think about the student loans too much or it stresses me out, but I know it’s a good investment in our future.

  11. This was so refreshing. I think 100% contentment is very hard. We all want more, whether that be material possessions or not. Thank you for sharing your struggles with contentment and how you are overcoming them! I’m sure your family was blessed by your time.

  12. I love the concept of “practicing feeling content.” Many people seem to think that contentment only comes from outside…like buying something or something cool happening. However, often times contentment is something that comes from within us when we learn to be grateful for all the good things that we have.

  13. Feeling content is so hard when there is so much to do! I completely relate. I have had to learn to take a step back and write gratitude lists. The top is always my children followed by good health for our family. Everything else really is secondary for me. I still have lapses though!

  14. I really understand you, for many years (and occasionally also now) I was looking for what I haven’t, I was envy about other things/life but inthe end I understood the importance to enjoy little things and journal helped me a lot…so don’t worry you’re not bad you are human-and yes caffeine and wine are essential things:p!!!

  15. I thank you for this post, Cat. I am in the midst of launching my own solopreneur gig, juggling a toddler and an infant, helping my husband adjust to a new job, and coming off a year that was tough for our family financially. As Christmas has approached I’ve found myself stressed out about the gift budget and wondering how we’d get through to the New Year, but in reality I want to be present with my little ones this season and appreciate the beauty of the holiday season for the chance it g ives us to reflect. Right now I have a candle lit at my desk and a reminder on my white board to embrace the holiday spirit. I’m just taking little steps each day to appreciate this time of year instead of worrying about it!

    1. Girl you sound like a super mom!!! It sounds like you are doing an amazing job. E-mail anytime if you want to talk!

  16. Cat,
    Once again with your intuitive intelligence you have hit on something a thousand years old. Among the practices of Yoga is one called Samtosha — contentment. And it IS a practice. It doesn’t come naturally to us. Our minds are made in such a way that we go to the negative or to the “one more” thing to do or become.

    It’s why so many people identify with your post — we are made that way.

    And that’s why contentment is a practice, and an ongoing one.
    To be aware of the things we already have that, when we are paying attention, provides contentment.

    It’s not easy with twins, a busy and tired hubby, a demanding job (even if you do it from home) and a natural go-getter attitude.
    Good for you for making this your holiday practice!

    I hope your holidays are filled with wondrous moments.

  17. I think you have to loosen up a bit or take a moment to be grateful for something or find the things about yourself that you’re happy with. What I realized is that moms like me should accept that we have flaws and we’re not perfect, but we can be good at most of things.

  18. I understand where you are coming from. I was exactly like you. The quote that “Hind Site is 20/20…well, I am at that point in my life. I know it is hard when you have many demands, and you want to do a good job…on all fronts. Take it from me, I wish I had slowed down, and really prioritized. Life is rapid, take time to enjoy; and savor it. Good Luck.

  19. We absolutely love this post! Being content does not come easy to everyone! It is important to find that happy medium between being content and grateful for what is given to you and striving for bigger and better things! Happy holidays from Centsai!

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