“I don’t want a lot for Christmas...there is just one thing I need…” I bet without the name, you know which famous Mariah Carey song I am referencing!? It begins, for true Holidays lovers, at midnight 31 October, serving as a reminder that the holiday season is weeks away. How did that happen?! Sure, the Holidays can be a magical time. But unlike those Hallmark films, for many of us they are a panic-inducing, self-care forgetting, high-stress period. One thing we don't need from the holiday season is regret.
When the holidays aren’t so magical...
Much of the holiday season can be triggering. For some, there is great isolation, far from loved ones. Those that do make it home may be navigating complicated familial relationships. It's also a busy work period, with finances and final reports stacking up in anticipation of time off. Let's not forget about the amount of holiday invites pinging on your phone. Cue: an overwhelming feeling of pressure that you have to do it all, while still feeling sane and not gaining a single pound. It's an impossible feat, and can feel debilitating. It's so important to acknowledge that you aren't alone in feeling this - we are all trying to balance this wild period.
Put your best foot forward this holiday season
Slowing down and acknowledging that the upcoming season is challenging is more important than you realize, as it shows that you’re making space to hear your needs. From there, try to pinpoint what exactly is making you anxious, through meditation or journaling. Once you've established the stressor, that will help you establish a plan.
In the plan, consider boundaries. This will vary and isn't just about saying no (though we support that, too!). Boundaries will establish what is realistic for you and what isn't. If you can't function without 8 hours of sleep, can drinks be at 7 pm rather than 8 pm? Does your favourite restaurant do holiday meal kits to make dinner parties easier? Book in those exercises classes with your favourite instructors well in advance, creating a commitment to yourself. Boundaries are such a healthy self-care tool.
Speaking of self-care, this time should be full of it. Breath work, short workouts, even drinking water are all time-conscious activities you can do every day. When scheduling out your holiday season plans, schedule in times for self-care activities and rest.
It's time for some new traditions! Get creative with your loved one by creating healthy, new traditions. Maybe this could be volunteering, hosting Friends-mas, or festive exercise challenges. We can create our holiday magic focused on joy and love.
One of the biggest regrets when reflecting on the holidays is overindulgence. Try to reframe these thoughts into gratitude and reflect on the delicious meals you shared with important people in your life. It's about how we move forward with balance!
The holidays are fleeting. Focus on prioritizing your individual needs through boundaries, self-care, creating new traditions and gentleness, to reframe regret into recognition and gratitude. What tradition will you create this year?