The older I become, the more I realize that the holidays can be a complex time of year. You feel so much joy and happiness being surrounded with love, family, and friends. Pretty decorations everywhere. All of that.
However, the days get shorter and colder. Less sunlight. Worse weather. Lots of stress to try to put on this show for the ones we love (which really shouldn’t be a thing by the way). Also, some of us may feel sadness from past events that happened around the holidays, missing loved ones, or even missing the happiness we found in childhood holidays.
So, all in all, the holidays can be a whole ball of emotions! Handling a ball of emotions is tough. It’s not healthy to be on a rollercoaster of emotions for weeks and months on end. That’s why it’s so important to practice good wellness.
By wellness I don’t mean exercising a ton, having a six pack, all the face masks and bath bombs, and being “perfect”. No, its about nurturing your body and giving it a break sometimes. Being kind to it, and letting yourself know that you are only human, and really listening to what it needs and giving your body that. This is about social interaction and laughs with your family, eating two (or three or four) pieces of pie–one meal or a week’s worth, won’t kill you. It’s about not stressing about your choices because you are doing the best you can. It’s about reaching out for help when you need it because you aren’t weak for asking for help. This is the true definition of self care and wellness. (PS check out the post that inspired this one, and defines the TRUE meaning of self care and self love.)
So just a few things that you should remember around this beautifully complicated time of year:
Limit Your Stress
Yes, stress kills. I know it’s hard to NOT stress on what to buy Aunt Jenny for Christmas or your significant other who has EVERYTHING. But seriously–relax. A gift is from the heart, and whatever you buy or make them–they are gonna love it, because it’s from you. If it makes you feel better–they are probably just as stressed if you are going to like YOUR gift!
Same thing goes for cooking dinners, who’s house you are visiting first, etc. There are no right answers, and if you jut calm down, make some lists and logically plan things out–it will all work out.
PS if you are afraid Aunt Jenny won’t like her gift, slip her a gift receipt. If she doesn’t like it, she doesn’t have to keep it!
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Feeling down about the change in seasons? Maybe a relative or friend passed away around this time a couple of years ago. Or maybe you just can’t seem to feel as joyous about the holidays as when you were a kid? Ask for help. Ask for support.
Vent to your closest, most trustworthy friends and family. If even they can’t seem to help you out–consider seeing a therapist. Therapy is totally underrated and a great outlet to discover coping mechanisms and simply letting out all of your stressors to a total stranger who can give you some unbiased insight on your problems!
We tend to hold everything in and try to be this perfect human who has no problems or feelings. I think we should say what we are feeling MORE. Especially around the holidays. This helps prevent misunderstandings, grudges, and those lovely melt downs of when we break down after one irrelevant thing was said that tips us over the edge. Don’t be afraid to express yourself to those you love and care about.
Try to Find Some Consistency in Your Routines
I know, I know. You are going to be eating a few more treats and a few more plates of fattening food around this time of year. But that’s OK. Try to set goals to workout at least 2-3 times per week for 30 minutes. Be consistent. Aim for little health boosters, such as drinking lemon water or eating healthy breakfasts throughout the week. Still keep up your healthy habits, but it’s okay to relax a bit and actually ENJOY your time with your family and friends. Cut back on the gym to go shopping for presents or to go see a holiday light show. Maybe play in the snow with your younger relatives. Once the New Year rolls around, you can hop right back on track and grind it out.
The holidays are a special chance to make some awesome memories, so no need to hate on yourself or your “progress” enjoy some social gains and new wonderful memories and awesome food!
If You Aren’t Happy–Change It.
Last but not least, if you aren’t happy–change it. I know life isn’t all about you, but you have to take care of yourself before you take care of others. Listen to your body’s needs. Nurture your body. That may not be going on the latest fad diet or going 110% all out in the gym everyday. It’s hard for all of us to stay on track around the holidays–why do you think we have so many New Year’s Resolutioners??
Learn to love yourself where you are at. Be comfortable with YOU. In all forms. Know you are doing the best you can day in and day out, and if you don’t like something about your life? Change it. Don’t want to deal with Uncle Ron’s rude comments at dinner this year? Maybe it’s time to confront him. Don’t have the money to give gifts this year? Talk to your loved ones about it–they will understand. Don’t stress yourself out. Want to eat the holiday goodies in moderation this year so you don’t over do it? Make a plan, make goals and stick to it daily. It all comes down to you.
Everyone feels we have to act a certain way around the holidays, but I guess what I am saying is, do what’s best for you and what will make YOU happy. Even during the giving holiday season. Once you are taken care of, you are ready to give that much more love to others. And in the end, your loved ones will be happy you spoke up and voiced your thoughts about whatever you may be facing or going through.
That, is how you practice wellness during the holidays.