Dear Reader

Do you survive or thrive during the festive season? Some people love everything about the festive season, while others are filled with impending doom and gloom about the approaching festivities both in the workplace and at home. So how can you make sure you thrive rather than just survive the festive season? You might be asking why is this important? I think that winter can bring it’s own challenges, so it is helpful to start the New Year in a positive frame of mind.

If you missed the special edition of 'Inspire' Do you want to develop yourself further? about the public programmes I am running, then see the right hand column for more information. The topics are: Coaching & Performance Management, in conjunction with Oxford Brookes University, and Your Inner Critic, Releasing Your Inner Wisdom Workshop.

Look out for January’s issue of Inspire’, which will be about Making Change Easy. It seems appropriate at the start of the year when people are often thinking about making changes in their life to think about the process of change and how to make it an easier process.

Best wishes for a very joyful, exciting and relaxing festive season!!

Melanie Greene

Do you survive or thrive during the festive season?

I’ve just chosen one quote for this edition, which I think sums up many of the points in this newsletter. Here are some wise words from Eleanor Roosevelt:

‘I wish for those I love this New Year an opportunity to earn sufficient, to have that which they need for their own and to give that which they desire to others, to bring into the lives of those about them some measure of joy, to know the satisfaction of work well done, of recreation earned and therefore savoured, to end the year a little wiser, a little kinder, and therefore a little happier.’

  • Tis the season to be jolly!!! – So why do so many dread it? Ghosts of Christmas past; bad New Year day hangovers; New Year resolutions broken before you even get going; attempting to meet everyone else’s needs and forgetting your own. These are some of the horrors that can await some people. I hear the slow dread growing in many clients and friends around me. Just at a time when it is helpful to end the year on a high note and start 2007 as you mean to go on.

  • What would your ideal festive season be like? – what would you ideally want to do? Who would you like to spend time with? How do you want to feel? How do you want to be? Think about what you really want, rather than what you think you ‘should’ be doing or obligations that you feel you have to meet. If you think you are being selfish, my experience is that if I get some of my needs and desires met, I am in a much better place to give and meet other people’s needs without suffering from martyrdom.

What one thing could you do differently to help you achieve what you desire?

Are there any ‘shoulds’ that you feel obliged to do? If you feel you have to do them, can you also meet your own needs, and therefore do them with grace and joy?

  • Thriving in the office environment – Is your office full of festive spirit or scrooges? This can be a time for appealing to everyone’s ‘Fun Child’ – perhaps celebrating all the different festivals that occur at this time of year. If you are working on your own it does not mean you have to miss out. From the start of my business my only associate, Peter, and myself went out for our Christmas meal. Now I have two separate associate events where all us independents can get together and have a good time.

How do you and your colleagues want to celebrate?

  • Respecting differences and different needs – One problem is that people forget to think about everyone’s needs. They can either end up focussing on children’s, grandparents or other people’s needs, and forget to voice their own needs. Coming from quite a diverse cultural family we did have one Christmas where after opening the Christmas presents my mum was lighting the Chanukah candles downstairs, while I was doing my Buddhist chanting upstairs!! And then we all came back together again afterwards to carry on the festivities!

  • Your own & other people’s expectations – talking to someone recently on my Mastering Your Inner Critic workshop she said that only a ‘perfect’ gathering will be acceptable to herself (for others it might be relatives who are setting the unrealistic standards). Perhaps if the focus is on feeling relaxed and happy, rather than on perfection in the decorations, food, presents (you can’t please all the people all the time), you might stand a better chance of enjoying the event. My colleague Peter told me about the idea of ‘Approximate Perfection’ when I was still plagued by my inner critic and the tyranny of perfectionism. It means that you focus on the 95% that goes well, rather than the 5% that might go wrong, and recognise that it does not mean a complete disaster if absolute perfection is not achieved.

What are you aiming for this year? Perfection or fun and enjoyment?

  • Rituals that can be broken – I think that there are some rituals that can be healthy and be part of the spirit of the festive season. However, it is important that rituals don’t become a rod for your back or a drag – creating new rituals can be a fun thing to do.

What rituals do you have that you enjoy? Are there some that have become a drag? What new ones could be created?

New Year cheer – I don’t know about you but for me the expectations surrounding New Year’s Eve have often created huge disappointments in the past. However, my best New Year eves have been about spending the evening with close friends or family or even on my own. So now I don’t feel obliged to join the masses and I have my own rituals for bringing in the New Year.

Have you thought about celebrating New Year’s Day? In my Buddhist organisation New Year’s Day is important and we always get together to celebrate it. We bring food to share and it is such a wonderful way to start the New Year rather than lying around with a hangover or disappointment from the night before.

Is there something you want to change about how you celebrate the New Year? What would help you to get your year off to a good start?

  • Enjoy what there is to enjoy – whatever the challenges you might be facing over the festive season – after all we might be caring for sick relatives, already committed to plans that might not be to our liking, we still have a choice to enjoy what there is to enjoy, rather than focus on the negatives. A few years ago I fell very ill with a chest infection and did not make it to the family Christmas. I was actually so ill on Christmas Eve and day that it made very little difference – but I did watch some classic movies and munched my way through the chocolates on the tree (found out later that chocolate is very good for coughs!). It was not my best Christmas but I enjoyed what there was to enjoy!

Want more Inspiration? If you want any support in finding ways to survive and thrive the festive season or start your New Year as you mean to go on, we can offer 1:1 support, consultancy advice and group workshops to assist you in doing this. Just call 01865 377334 or email to arrange a time to speak in confidence. For more information about Grovelands visit our website:

Feel free to pass this issue of ‘Inspire’ onto others – if you have been forwarded this issue and would like to receive your own copy each month, click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Forthcoming public workshops in Oxfordshire

Mastering Your Inner Critic, Releasing Your Inner Wisdom

Saturday 13th January.  Start the year as you mean to go on – knock that inner critic on it’s head and find a more positive approach to living your life. £100 inc VAT for the one day workshop plus two follow up coaching emails. Email us on for more details and a booking form.

Coaching & Performance Management

Tuesday 13th February

For those of you who have staff and manage others, I am running an open programme for Oxford Brookes University. This is suitable for first time managers, as well as those wishing to further develop their skills. Topics include: building rapport, listening, questioning and feedback, coaching skills. To find out more or to book a place visit their website CLICK HERE.

Other topics, dates and locations – If you can’t make these dates or locations then contact us and we will bear this in mind when organising future workshops.


Grovelands provides:

Consultancy advice

1:1 coaching and mentoring

in-house and public workshops

to individuals, partnerships, SMEs and national organisations.

See for more details

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