What are the holidays are meant to be: relaxing, celebratory, inclusive, social (but not stereotypical – families are made up of all different kinds of groups and people), generous, full of gratitude, delicious, joyful, cozy, and fun!
What the holidays aren’t meant to be: stressful, expensive, a wallop to your digestive system, annoying, full of old anger-inducing family patterns and arguments, packed with non-stop travel, short on self-care and me time, wasteful and excessive, or full of resentment, anger, frustration, or disappointment.
I mean, in reality, we all know this instinctively. No one sets out with a wish to make their holidays as miserable as possible (with the exception of the Grinch, pre-heart enlargement).
So this Christmas season, take a few moments to remember what counts. Be sure to take time for yourself, and to appreciate the smells, the sights, the lights, the snow (or lack thereof), the special food and traditions, the dark chocolate, the family or friends, your furry life companions, the good books, a nice fireplace, and so on. Take every opportunity to remember what makes you happy in your life, what fills you with joy, and what makes you feel so lucky to be alive. These things can tiny or grand. It just matters that you think about them.
Survive and thrive this holiday season by:
- making a daily gratitude list: dentifying those things – no matter how small – that brought a smile to your face. Aim for a balance of both material things (like, you’re grateful for the sweater that Aunt Doris brought you) and non-material things (like, you’re grateful that Aunt Doris said this is the last year she’s bringing sweaters for everybody).
- indulging in special foods, but sticking with a few meals and a few days that include healthy options: maybe a green juice, or a green smoothie, oats for breakfast, some clementines here and there. Indulging is a wonderful way to celebrate the different foods and traditions we have available to us, but feeling like crap really sucks. And so does getting sick. So keep up with those fruits and vegetables.
- walking as much as possible: the schedule at the gym changes for the holidays, you might be in your car for longer stretches, or because of the holiday and family parties, your regular routine might just end up in shambles. What can you do? Just walk more. Walk to see a movie, walk to a party, walk in the morning, walk before bed, just get outside. Not only is walking one of the most beneficial overall exercises you can do for your health, but walking outside has so many other health benefits: the fresh air (better air quality outside, typically, than inside), the change of scenery, the ability to deeply inhale, the smell of woodsmoke, the beautiful lights. It’s like a whole body de-stress in 30 minutes or less.
- making it a point to seek out what makes you laugh: look for as many good laughs as possible. I personally love The Mindy Project and watch episodes on the regular for good laugh out loud time. Find what works for you: Jimmy Fallon youtube videos, National Lampoon, Seinfeld reruns, maybe a David Sedaris book.
- being present: with a jam-packed schedule, it’s easy to spend time thinking about what comes next on the list. The next event, the next party, the next obligation. Try to set those all aside and just enjoy each experience as it comes. You’ll feel calmer, more appreciative, and more in the festive spirit.
Happy Holidays from Backyard Owl!
© Backyard Owl