December 2, 2019

The Bermuda Triangle of Holidays

Leadership Development | Team Development

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Happy Holidays! We have kicked off this annual trifecta – Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Traditions and thankfulness filled the air as people ate together on Thursday (or another selected day) and shopped together on Friday! Belated Thanksgiving wishes to you all! As much as this season is intended to be joyous and magical, it can also be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. The holiday trifecta can swiftly become the Bermuda Triangle of Holidays.

We have celebrated and/or survived apex number one – Thanksgiving. Although, the ramp-up continues as we enter December. Tis the season! If you are feeling your joy mysteriously disappearing, it might be the time to take a moment to reflect. Take some time to consider holidays past. Do you want to create similar memories, or is it time to preemptively rid yourself of the Bermuda Triangle of holidays and build a new Trilogy of Holidays?

My colleague Deb Harrison recently wrote of the “Power of Gratitude.” She reminded us that choosing gratitude can “improve resiliency, add joy, and increase happiness.”  I would add to that by suggesting that you pause and consider your wellness. How is your spiritual, emotional and physical wellness journey working?


What do you do to “fill your cup?” Every one of us is different; we have different journeys, different needs, different things that fill our cup. Yours might include meditation, prayer, quiet walks, or rigorous hikes. But the common denominator is that we all need to make time to clear our heads and hearts from the chaos we all call life. Doing this is necessary to reduce stress, anxiety, and exhaustion so that we may experience the joy of the season.


Being emotionally well requires embracing ourselves as we are, not as we wish we would be. It takes connection and community with a safe tribe to embrace the authentic you. It may take counseling to get to this point, and that’s okay. But when we continue to avoid the fact that our life story is the sum of all our experiences, the good the bad and the ugly, we cannot be emotionally well. We spend countless hours stuffing and denying the hurts, habits, and hang-ups that have never been acknowledged or dealt with.  Add to that the time and energy we spend projecting false wellness, especially during the chaos of the holidays, and it can leave us teetering on a dangerously unhealthy cliff.


Are you making choices that will make and keep you physically well? This can be so difficult during the holiday season with all the parties, dinners, and treats. It’s important to place some boundaries – enjoy the season but do so in moderation. And don’t let others pressure you into stepping outside of that. Each of us has different limitations and abilities, so be cautious not to get sucked into the comparison game.  Some will choose to eat Keto and run marathons; some will choose to eat a more balanced diet and increase their steps; some may need to eat more calories and use additional supplements to keep from withering away. What we have in common is we all require sleep, food, water, and activity. It’s your responsibility to find what brings wellness to you.

If any one of these parts of your wellness is lacking or missing, your foundation becomes wobbly which will eventually lead to your life becoming wobbly.  As leaders, we don’t just care for ourselves and our families during the holidays – we care for those we lead as well. It is especially important that we maintain our wellness, not just for ourselves but to lead by example. It’s easy to get into the mindset of, “I don’t have time to spend on these things!” and let our wellness get pushed aside.

Leaders, I challenge you to change that mindset. I challenge you to build a Triangle of Wellness to get you through the Bermuda Triangle of the Holidays. Imagine what leading will look like when your Triangle of Wellness is balanced. You will lead better and live better.  And, when you lead with wellness, it has a ripple effect. Your influence will allow your team to lean into their own wellness.

Look at this season.  How might it look different for you and yours if you began to implement the Triangle of Wellness? How might the rest of the year look? It’s not meant to be a New Year’s Resolution, but a lifestyle that you choose. Just like Deb discussed how choosing gratitude can lead to improved resiliency, additional joy, and increased happiness, when you choose a journey of self-care and wellness, your Return on Investment will be endless in leadership and in life.

The Bermuda Triangle of Holidays or a new Triangle of Wellness – the choice is yours!

Be well. Lead Well.

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About the author

Connie Smith-Hein, MS, ACC

Connie Hein has accumulated 25 years working in behavioral health focusing on executive leadership and team building. She has deep experience in psychology and counseling.

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