What is your go-to response when someone mentions that the holiday season is now upon us?
- Are you filled with dread?
- Do you immediately start thinking of the to-do list?
- Do you respond with a list of complaints about the responsibilities of the holidays?
- Do you engage in the typical talk about gaining weight and drinking too much?
As a kid, the holidays were magical. Seriously MAGICAL. As an adult, I now realize the care and effort that went into making the holidays feel that way. As a mom of a toddler, I consider it an honor to be on the other side of the holiday experience as the “magical creator”.
Whichever perspective you choose during the holidays - this will shape your experience. If you are a stressed out, control-freak, grinch meister - then the holidays are probably maniacal, not magical. If you focus on cultivating the wonder, hope and spirit of the holidays, you probably experience more joy and fun!
I want to encourage you this holiday season to be very conscious of the thoughts and words you allow into your head and out of your mouth. Over the years, we create rituals and patterns that go with our holidays. I can guarantee that some of them serve us and some of them don’t. Here are some examples you may relate to:
- Getting together with our dysfunctional family and drinking to cope - and don’t think you are the only one with dysfunction - we all have it and some of us are part of it!
- Letting ourselves off the hook when it comes to our health journey because the holidays are just way too stressful.
- Allowing procrastination to increase the levels of stress and rob us of our peace.
- Taking off going to the gym because we tell ourselves we are way too busy and we’ll just get back on the wagon in January.
- Engaging in the same conversations with our family members that makes our blood boil and reminds us every year why we only spend time with them during holidays.
- Spending the holidays being sad and staying isolated because we focus on what we have lost instead of what we have.
How we do anything is how we do everything. These holidays are not the only time during the year that these patterns show up. I guarantee they run their cycles at least a couple of times a year. The power to break any pattern begins with full acknowledgement that they exist and that we are part of the pattern. The next steps are asking ourselves if what we believe is really true and being willing to redefine the truth we want to operate from during the holidays.
Here are some examples:
Is it really true that drinking excessively during the holidays makes it less stressful?
I don’t know about you, but I am much more prone to saying and doing things I regret (especially around my dysfunctional family) if I drink too much. I also eat way more than I intended, I feel sluggish the next day and I keep asking myself, “why did I do that?” I don’t know about you, but that is WAY more stressful than just having a glass of wine and calling it good. So is it really true that you need alcohol to deal with the stress or is the truth that it causes more stress for you?
Is it really true that you have to be sad during the holidays because you would be dishonoring someone’s memory if you were happy and weren’t mourning?
I lost my mom at the age of 23. I spent many years being sad through the holidays because she was not there. I felt guilty if I didn’t spend time thinking about the loss. Then I searched for my truth. The truth is my mom would be devastated (and disappointed) to know that because of her, I was sad and depressed during a holiday that meant so much to her. The best way to honor her influence and presence in my life is to celebrate the life that I have and live it to the fullest. What is your truth? If you have had a lot of loss over the last year or few years - it’s time to establish your truth about whether you want to define the holidays by loss or by what (and who) you still have here with you!
Is it really true that you will be deprived if you don’t eat and drink whatever you want?
I use to give myself permission to eat and drink whatever I wanted because I wasn’t going to “deprive” myself. Wow, really? We don’t live in a society that is deprived. We can have any type of food whenever we want it. I remember eating until I was so uncomfortably full that I spent the rest of the night bloated, regretful and miserable. I also remember feeling out of control in my eating for days after and eventually just throwing my hands up and giving into the entire holiday season of just eating whatever I wanted. But here’s the point. I didn’t REALLY enjoy myself. I don’t like feeling uncomfortable and bloated - it makes me moody and depressed. I really don’t like beginning a New Year feeling like I have taken 20 steps back in my health. When I really thought about it - the whole idea of being “deprived” was a lie. I was actually depriving myself of my joy, peace, energy and health when I ate as if I had no control.
So what “truth” do you need to evaluate before this holiday season gets in full swing? What is a pattern that you want to look at and break this holiday season?
The last tip I want to leave you with is to take a moment and forget about the to-do list, the holiday functions you have to attend, the Christmas shopping and decorating you are responsible for and be still for a moment. Who do you need to BE this holiday season to create the experience you desire for yourself and those around you? Too often, we focus on what we need to “do” (which doesn’t usually change) - but what actually makes all the difference is who are ARE as we are doing everything we need to do. Do you need to be flexible, organized, proactive, healthy, forgiving, grateful, courageous, silly, open, creative, loving, surrendered, happy, patient…? Pick three words that describe who you will focus on “being” this holiday season and post them somewhere you can see them every day. As you approach each task of the holiday, bring this presence with you!
If you would like some support on the exercise portion of your journey, consider joining my 10 day Fitmas Challenge at www.healthyedgechallenge.com.