Sanity Saving Tips for a Health-FULL Holiday Season
I don’t know where in the world you are reading this from, but where I live in NW Montana we are entering the depths of winter and I am 99.9% certain that we will have a very white Christmas, because…well… we always do.
As we sink deeper into winter, I cannot help but feel that the season seems a bit at odds with the idea of holiday cheer and party going. Looking around at nature, winter inspires rest, simplicity, and calm NOT hustle, late nights and stress, which seem to have become the cultural norm this time of year.
As someone who helps women take better care of themselves with more consistency, the holidays are BY FAR one of the most challenging times of year for women to nourish themselves. I often work with women who step into November feeling grounded and sure-footed in their self-care because for months prior they have been honoring their body’s needs but, if they don’t stay vigilant, they can all too easily get pushed down the slippery slope of self-sabotage thanks to a litany of triggers that start to show-up right around Thanksgiving.
Sacrificing yourself in the name of holiday cheer is downright unnecessary and can quickly unravel the traction you have built in previous months or delay the traction you intend to build in the New Year.
So, here are a few things to keep in mind as the holidays approach…
Find YOUR Holiday Joy
How you navigate the holiday season is likely something that you learned earlier in life. Maybe your mother insisted on hosting a family dinner of 35 crazy relatives every year on Christmas Eve. Or maybe your dad always overindulged on gifts for the family to express his love. Or maybe New Year’s Eve necessitates the consumption of alcohol for you because getting trashed is how you have rung in the New Year ever since your 21st birthday even though you wake up every January 1 feeling like hell and promising yourself next year will be different.
Newsflash: you are an adult and as an adult, YOU get to redefine what “Happy Holidays” means for you at any point.
Too often people move through the holidays trying desperately to keep their head above all of the “expectations” that they fail to stop and question if the things they are killing themselves to accomplish are actually bringing them real joy.
I totally get that the holidays are a season of giving but, sweet sister, you absolutely cannot give what you do not have. If you are exhausted, frustrated and resentful because you are spending all of your energy doing things you don’t really want to be doing, you aren’t really serving people in the way you think you are. You cannot give from an empty cup, so maybe you should check what is in YOUR cup if you truly want to fill the cups of others.
Give Yourself Permission to Break Tradition
Getting clear on what a “happy holiday” looks like for you might bring up some anxiety because what you discover may very well go against the grain of “holiday traditions” that you have been slogging through for decades for no other reason than “it’s tradition, dammit!”
It is ok to change your mind.
Did you hear that??
You CAN change your mind AND… the sun will still come up tomorrow and the world will still turn. True story.
If it depletes you… let it go! You will not be labeled a Grinch if you decide to simplify things a bit. In fact, you will probably be a much more enjoyable person to be around. How does that saying go? If mama ain’t happy, no one is?
You don’t have to go to every holiday party (or any) that you are invited to.
You don’t have to cook a 12-course meal to express your love.
You don’t have to extend so much love to everyone else that you have zero left for yourself.
You can say “no”.
You can set some boundaries.
You can break some traditions to save your sanity.
Have Some Fireside Chats
If you decide to do things a little differently this year to honor your health (and I really hope you do), you must be willing to have some crucial conversations with your loved ones.
We teach people what they can expect from us, and if you decide to conduct yourself a bit differently but don’t tell anyone why, you will leave a lot of room for interpretation and that can go horribly sideways (you not going to Aunt Ginger’s to make 500 cookies that no one needs gets interpreted into you holding a grudge with your cousin who dated your ex-boyfriend back in 1985).
People love to run wild with interpretation, so don’t give them the chance.
Instead, invite your loved ones to a fireside chat where you explain why you’d like to try a few things differently this year.
I am in no way suggesting they will understand 100%, but you telling them in a compassionate way WHY you intend to do things differently this year is YOUR responsibility to your health, how they respond to that information is THEIR responsibility.
Reign It In
If you are struggling to figure out what might bring you more joy this season, let me help you out:
Simplifying is a GREAT place to start.
Like so many things, we have made the holidays into a complicated, over-scheduled, very expensive few weeks that leaves us sick, tired, reactive and often, even a little depressed.
What if this season you gave yourself permission to:
Let go of the guilt?
Reign in the expectations you have of yourself and others?
Forgive yourself and others?
Nourish rather than deplete?
What if this year you committed to showing love with your PRESENCE more than PRESENTS?
Take a Long Winter’s Nap
When all else fails…
When you have burnt the turkey, your family is still making you feel bad about not showing up to Aunt Ginger’s to make those 500 cookies, and your dog gets diarrhea on your white wool rug because he helped himself to the burnt turkey, in the name of all things holy, resort to plan B.
What is Plan B??
Take a freaking nap.
No matter how many triggers you face during the season, there is nothing that a nap cannot soften. Everything is easier to face when you are rested. Yes, everything. ♥