Are you looking forward to the holidays? No? Sort of? Too stressful? Too much food? Too much family? Too little family? The holidays can be a bittersweet time. It’s supposed to be joyous and full of good cheer, but can feel forced and full of pressure and stress. Here are a few things I like to keep in mind during the holiday season. First, when it comes to food, I hope by now that you have rejected the diet mentality and you are not listening to the all the people telling you in a panic how many calories you are going to eat between now and New Year’s. That message only plays on our fears and does not serve us.
Let go of what does not serve you.
If we didn’t restrict ourselves all year long with dieting, then we wouldn’t have anything to fear at the holidays. The only reason all that food looks enticing is because we have waited a year to have it. It’s not the holiday eating that is the problem, it’s the 11 months of restriction leading up to the holidays. The rubber band has to snap sometime when you pull it tight. If you eat intuitively, and allow all foods all year with full permission to eat what you want and when, you diffuse the novelty and the mystery in the rich and high calorie foods. In addition, if you practice intuitive eating then you will trust yourself at the holidays to eat what you want without making yourself sick. The bonus is, when you take away the stress that the guilt over holiday eating can cause, your body is already functioning in a more optimal manner mentally and metabolically.
Next, what do you do when well meaning family comment that you haven’t been to the gym lately or have put on a few pounds? Or what about when they are talking about the great diet Aunt Alice is on and doesn’t she look fabulous? Maintain your boundaries. You don’t have to talk about anything you don’t want to talk about and
your body is not up for discussion.
Change the subject, leave the room or tell them straight out that your body is none of their business. Internally, keep in mind what you know, that 98% of diets fail and that dieting actually makes people gain weight. Read the studies for yourself and refuse to give in to the fear that our diet culture promotes.
Also, what are you doing to take care of yourself? When I worked with Rachel Cole (Rachelwcole.com) she used to ask,
“How can you make yourself 10% more comfortable in any given moment?”
It’s a great question. Can you change your clothes? Shift your position? Go for a walk? Stretch? Listen to music while wrapping gifts or baking Christmas cookies, shop by catalog from the comfort of your couch? In what ways can you reduce the stress that you put on yourself? Take exquisite care of yourself with time to rest and and a schedule that includes pleasurable activities that you enjoy, whatever that looks like for you.
Also, can you lift up someone else’s spirits? Compliment someone who looks stressed or irritable, or be a secret Santa to someone in your community who needs an extra lift. It doesn’t need to cost money, it can be as simple as a smile or a helping hand at the right time. Let them take the parking space, let them go in front of you in line when they are buying one item. Your positive actions will cause a ripple affect around you and will improve the holiday for us all.
"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha
Finally, this year I learned all about setting intentions. What do you want to get out of an experience? Do you want to be reactive and have something just happen to you? Do you want to feel like you “had” to do this and that? Do you want to expect the worst and get it and feel justified? Do you want to get mad or have fun? How about expecting better? You create your own reality. Thoughts become things. Think about how you want to feel going into an event and picture it going just the way you want it to. Imagine yourself moving and talking and being the person you want to be. Hold onto your intention for the days leading up to your event and you have actively changed your course for the better. Come back and tell me how it worked out, I’d love to hear your story.