I’m sitting at my favorite cafe in Brookline, digging into a hearty lentil stew, looking out a window obstructed by pine need garlands and twinkly lights. There’s a fresh bouquet of tulips and alstroemerias and moody music softly playing through the speakers. I may be working but this is my peace, my quiet, my escape. I’m excited to tell you about a little practice I use when I am stressed out. Read on to learn more.
Happy Holidays! Ah the smell of pine trees, the twinkly lights, and the feeling of overwhelming stress. The holidays can be a tense time for some. I used to find myself stressing over a time that I used to cherish and look forward to as a kid. Does this sound like you? It seems to be all part of getting older. At least that’s what everybody keep saying. But, it doesn’t have to be that way! I want to show you that you can start enjoying the holidays with childlike excitement again and all it takes is a perspective shift. First, let’s talk about some common stressors this season:
Spending time with family - Not thrilled to spend time with Uncle Jerry because of his drinking habits? Worried about not being able to escape the questioning from Grandma about why you haven’t gotten married yet?
Gift giving - You have to buy 15 gifts this year and don’t even know what to get half the people you’re shopping for. Also, bye $$$.
Colder days and longer nights - Winter in New England is rough, traffic is terrible and the sun sets at 4pm.
Food - This is a big one. Weight gain is a huge concern for many people during the holidays. There seems to be less time to workout and more time to eat treats and drink alcohol. Balance becomes way off and depression starts to set in.
Some or all of these things can be triggering but they don’t have to be. Life is all about perspective. How we see things and react to circumstances have everything to do with our experience of existence. Let’s reexamine these common stressors again...
Spending time with family - Remind yourself that Uncle Jerry and Grandma both mean well. Everybody is dealing with their own “stuff”. It’s not always about you, actually it’s usually about them. Practice acceptance and gratitude.
Gift giving - Remember what the holidays are about. Perhaps you can suggest a Secret Santa at your next gathering or think of some gifts that are from the heart rather than from your wallet. My favorite gift to give is homemade chocolate truffles. They’re made with love and are a hit with everybody. And who doesn’t love a homemade gift? (P.S. I just had a holiday truffle making workshop - stay tuned for more foodie workshops in the future).
Colder days and longer nights - One of my November intentions was to remember what brings me light as the days get darker. Grab a pen and paper and start making a list of things you can do in the winter when you’re feeling stuck. My favorites: yoga, candlelit epsom salt baths, reading, calling a friend, bundling up and taking the pup out for a walk.
Food - This is my favorite thing to work on as a health and wellness coach! You don’t have to shun away all the tasty treats, just go into indulgent situations with awareness and loving kindness. Before you head to a party, have a balanced meal so you aren’t tempted to fill up on the heavy stuff. Then, choose one or two things that you will allow yourself to have. Maybe it’s two glasses of wine or maybe it’s one cocktail and a cookie. Exercise is another big one here. Implement small exercises into your day. Lunge your way to the bathroom and back, do jumping jacks in the morning, or do squats while you brush your teeth. The small stuff add up and you’ll be able to maintain your muscle mass even if you don’t have time to hit the gym.
Hopefully this mind shifting tool has helped you have a fresh outlook on this holiday season. If you need more accountability than a blog post can provide please feel free to reach out to me. I’d love to help you reach your goals whether you want to lose weight, heal gut issues, sleep better or increase energy. I offer my clients a free discovery call that you can book here. You can see a list of all the services I offer here.