Let it flow. Let it flow. Let it flow.

Reducing Holiday Stress


Let it flow this holiday season!
 Holiday time has its ups and downs. Many people experience the holidays as a depressing time of year due to many problems and issues they are dealing with in their families, friends, work or social organizations.

This year we are using the theme of ‘Re-Booting’ over the holidays.  We can cover one key element of Re-Booting. This key element is HOPE.   The first step to rebooting is your own self awareness and decision to keep hope.

Everyone has something or someone they are hoping for.   Hope is a key Christmas message. Tis the season and time for hope.  And research shows that hope is one of the most important gifts we can ever give one another.

Good news! Hope can induce flow state!

In this blog, I want to talk about flow state, because if you are able to intentionally think how you can get some time in a flow state over the holidays, you will in turn reduce many negative impacts due to emotional triggers and family gatherings.

So, this post is to underscore the importance of letting it flow.

Consider what flow means.  Basically, when Flow is active we experience positive gains from some type of focused concentration.

Flow experts say we yearn to drop into flow states because we are so absorbed that we are “taken away from our worries, concerns, anxieties, and problems for a time.” Activities that induce Flow are those that challenge us at the particular level of difficulty perfect for us as individuals. The effort must be just the right level of challenge – not too hard or too easy for us.  Sounds like a good hobby, doesn’t it? Well, flow state is what we are looking to get more of when we engage an interesting activity, such as a hobby. The man cave is a highly prized place for finding Flow. People who spend hours tinkering in their garage or working in the garden seek a flow state that gets their minds off of work and winds them down. New parents gain a precious child and mourn the loss of their solitary “getting away” time.  Challenging sports (i.e., rock climbing, white water rafting, etc.) can also induce a flow state. When engaged in increasingly strenuous sport activities, we must be present in the “here and now” with full concentration in order to just be safe.

An hour of being present in Flow can feel like a week of vacation.  We will go to great lengths to experience a little bit of Flow – it’s that good!

At work, we also crave flow states. However, interpersonal interaction at work keeps us from dropping into a state of Flow. When we are constantly interrupted and shift our attention frequently, we lose flow energy. If you are a leader today, you’ve likely lost the privilege to spend much time doing work that induces Flow anymore. You have to find Flow outside of work activities instead. High impact managers know they must lead themselves first, so they manage their WIL (work inner life) by forming a habit of practicing presence and Flow.

Learning to maintain flow state characteristics during less enjoyable activities is a learned skill. Choosing an activity outside of your work that gets you into Flow, and doing it frequently is recommended. Some busy professionals do not yet know which activities will rejuvenate their energy with flow states. If this sounds like you, it’s worth your time and attention to gain more self-awareness and find out.

This holiday season think about it. If you are not able to find any still time to flow, you can simply practice silence while staring at a fireplace, even if it’s on a monitor!

  • What activities involve Flow states that serve your inner satisfaction and sense of enjoyment at work?
  • What are the activities you can plan into your holiday time that will most likely induce you into your flow state?

Jane Hundley, M.A. has coaching programs both in person and online that help people learn how to live in more flow through a powerful process of rapidly gaining more self awareness. These are essential skills for both professional and personal development.

About the Author:

Jane Hundley, Executive Coach, M.A. Industrial Organizational Psychology (I/O) & Development, President of Impact Management, Inc.

Leave a Reply