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  • Writer's pictureCandy Widdifield

Dear Candy Q & A: Staying Centered In the Midst of Chaos

Candy Widdifield

Dec 12, 2022

4 min read

The holiday season is a time where many of us are out of our usual routine. Perhaps we have company or family staying with us, or significantly more social expectations. The demands on our time and energy are greater than usual.

So how do we stay centered in the present moment and not get caught up in the flurry? How do we maintain our wellbeing despite the situation? Start by recognizing that it is temporary. Company will go, visiting and demands will decrease, routines will resume in January, which is only a few weeks away. Our thought processes about what is happening either make it easier for us to navigate or add another layer of stress to an already taxing situation. Keep reminding yourself that this time is short lived. Take things one step at a time and don't get caught up in the to-do list or over-planning. Focus on what you enjoy or feel grateful for in this time instead of what is difficult. Slow down, breathe, and come back into the present moment as often as you can.

Second, watch what expectations you place on yourself. Are they reasonable and realistic? If not, are you willing to modify them, to set boundaries and say no? And just because others hold an expectation of you doesn't mean you have to live up to it. Sometimes it is helpful to ask ourselves, "If the roles were reversed would that person sacrifice their own needs to meet our expectations?" I have found in my own life that the answer to that is almost always no. Knowing this can sometimes create more space to prioritize yourself.

If you feel guilty prioritizing yourself and your needs, then you have just identified an area to work on that is crucial for recovery and increasing wellbeing. Consider Kristen Neff's self compassion practices, or reading the Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. When we are willing to meet our own needs and look after ourselves in a healthy way, we have so much more to give to others. And frankly, no one is going to do it for us so it is up to us to rise to the occasion. The people around you will benefit from you taking the time out to do your practices and to meditate. You will have more to give and you will enjoy your time more with others if you are first taking care of yourself. It is important to remember that the quality of your time together is more important than the quantity.

Third, get creative about how you can incorporate the principles of brain retraining in your everyday tasks and visiting. Having uplifting conversations and redirect conversations when necessary. Revisit favourite memories with people. Compliment others. Listen to good music while you cook or clean, be playful and fully engage in games or fun activities, embrace the spirit of giving (even if it is just mentally sending out blessings or good vibes), focus on what you appreciate about this time of year, take in your surroundings, say "stop" or "cancel" if your brain wants to go down old pathways and then reorient yourself to the task at hand with enjoyment.

And finally, take breaks in your day to recharge, even if it is just five to ten minutes here and there. Be in a position where your body can fully relax and your muscles can let go. On Insight timer there is a great 8 minute Yoga Nidra practice called "iRest Yoga Nidra for a Restful Nap". I've used it frequently during busy times. Or you can use your own imagery to relax and restore. The key is to let go of all the planning and to-do's and simply be present for those few minutes so that you can really get the benefit of the re-charge. If your brain is busy, take a deep breath in and then as you exhale let go and gently redirect back to the guided mediation, imagery or to your breath. Imagine with every in-breath you are being recharge with vitality. Fill yourself with light or life force. Release and let go of whatever isn't serving you. Call on something greater to assist you if you so desire. The possibilities for rejuvenation are endless!

This will be the last post until January. Wishing you a blessed holiday season. May you find good balance, inner peace, and contentment during this time!

Until next time!

If you have a question, please email me at


Candy Widdifield is Registered Clinical Counsellor, Wellness Coach, and Registered Reiki Master Teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She has a background in nervous system regulation, trauma, grief & loss, mindfulness, somatic therapy, & positive psychology. She taught the DNRS in-person program for 5 years, has over a decade of experience coaching brain re-trainers & provides mentorship to other coaches. Candy works with people all over the world, helping them to optimize their wellbeing and thrive in their lives. More information about Candy can be found at


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