Managing Self Positive Psychology Uncategorized Wellness

Ho Ho Ho or Humbug?

Written by Allison Wolf

Happy holidays everyone!

 I hope that you are getting an opportunity to relax and enjoy some happy times with loved ones… and if instead the holidays are bringing stress and challenge, this blog post is for you.  Three helpful tips from my good friend and fellow-coach Marilyn Orr for boosting your resilience over the holidays.  I have reposted this from her blog.

Although the potential for a happy holiday is present for many of us there are many number of ways that it can go sideways and be highly stressful.

The potential de-railers come in a number of forms: relatives that we find difficult to be around, a lack of control over our own schedule, too much time socializing (if you are more introverted), food that makes you feel gross but you eat anyway, lack of routine, disappointments around gifts, etc.

Over the years of therapy first, and now 15 years of coaching, I have come up with or adopted some sayings that help me make good decisions. Some of them are downright sassy. Sometimes I say these things out loud and sometimes they are in my head. Either way they help me set or guard boundaries or cope with stresses in less offensive ways when others are involved.

1. I’m the Boss of Me!

I have choices all day long. I’m not a small child with limited choices. I choose what I eat and I choose whether to give in to pressure from others on what to eat, subtle or overt. I choose when to go to bed, if I need a break, how often I sneak a little work in, if I want to exercise and how much alcohol I consume.

What kind of boss I’m going to be is also my choice. I don’t need to be an angry or defensive boss. I’d like to choose to be a confident boss, knowing what my best choices are and feeling comfortable making them without the need to justify or defend.

2. Ouch!

There are times when someone says or does something painful or disrespectful that don’t need a huge defensive or offensive response. Sometimes a one-word response such as “ouch” can make the point that a boundary has been crossed.

The effectiveness of this minimal response is that it draws immediate attention to the action and clearly lobbies the ball back in to the court of the one who initiated the harm originally.

3. Not My Monkey, Not My Circus!

All around us people are making poor choices with some troublesome consequences. I’m responsible for me. I’m happy to help other people. I choose to take time though to evaluate situations and decide when I’m crossing over from something that is within my area of responsibility or not.

Watching train wrecks about to happen is not fun. Overtaking the power of choice from someone else in order to “help” them often does the opposite. Even when it is not a choice I would make, respecting the power of others to make choices and live with their consequences is respectful. This is not about not offering support but refraining from interfering and rescuing.

So, my holiday wish for you is that you make the choices that will really give you a refreshing and life-giving holiday season!

Happy Holidays and Ho Ho Ho Y’all!


About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

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