Doing everything we have to do in life gets remarkably harder this time of year. Between Insta-smiles at parties, gift decision paralysis and just finding five minutes of silence, the happiest time of the year can leave us feeling depleted, and then, guilt-ridden for feeling exhausted. Before you know it, it’s over and if we’re not 100% (if there is such a thing), we spend the new year ruminating over the coulda, shoulda, woulda’s of the last 12 months.
Here are just a few quick reminders of what you already know deep inside. Take them and use them for the next few weeks. Screenshot them, save them to your phone photos, or just write them down and review them every night before you go to sleep. Taking a quick peek at them with your morning coffee or tea, helps tremendously too. Be well and enjoy each day.
Seriously. Despite all of the warm and fuzzy thoughts from sweet holiday movies and cards from friends and family we have stored in our minds, real life isn’t a movie. Holiday or not, good, bad and “meh” things (and feelings) happen. Put your conditioned expectations of this time of year away – for good. Let the warmth of a smile or the surprise of a kind greeting move you instead.
Think of boundaries as the one tool that keeps you sane. Boundaries aren’t fences – they’re pieces you use to build strength to actually share more with others by honoring yourself and your limits. You, your body and your mind should not be bound by a constructed calendar of must-do and must-feel events and sentiments. The holiday spirit is best used at a pace that works for you and year-round.
During this time of year, the first things to go to provide some relief in an overly-hectic schedule are regular bedtimes, healthy eating and trips to the gym or stretches in our living room. Don’t change these beneficial habits. If you start to trim 30 minutes here and there to accomodate parties, shopping and other holiday activities, your healthy routine will suffer.
Be it it food, alcohol or simply overextending yourself socially, the holiday season sends us messages that this is the time to indulge. If you want to, do it! But if you have any doubts or hesitations, honor that and give it a second thought. Remember that you’ve (hopefully) committed to sticking to your healthy routines, so if you have the extra time or desire to participate having kept up those routines, just keep the moderation idea in check!
I have to remind myself of this at least 5 – 6 times per day, everyday. During the holidays, I literally have to remind myself that I’m in charge at least 15 times per day. If pressed with in in-person requests or invitations, don’t commit immediately. “Let me think about it and look at my schedule.” is a perfectly polite and legitimate response and may even inspire others to put the same thought into their replies this time of year.
I hope these tidbits help you remain healthy, calm and safe this time of year. –Caitlin