How to be “Full of Joy” during the Holiday season

Uncategorized Feb 09, 2020

If you’re cruising this blogpost, then I’m going to assume that the holiday season may be not all that ‘jolly’ all the time …  We try to focus on love, joy, gratitude, and togetherness. And yet, when family and friends congregate, we sometimes experience something else as well: STRESS!

You’ve got holiday events and meals to plan, attend, and clean up. Presents to buy and budgets to keep. You’ve got family members coming together who are not used to each others’ style. Kids with tantrums. And you feel this pressure to make the holidays what everybody wants them to be. If on top of that you are worrying about food and potential weight gain, there’s not much joy and togetherness left to rejoice in…

But there is a way to navigate the holidays while maintaining your balance and having fun!

 

1. Honor how you feel

If you are feeling stressed out, overwhelmed or are in emotional pain, don’t push yourself in the pursuit of having it all under control and painting the perfect picture while underneath you are crumbling… It’s easy to keep ignoring and ignoring your cues until you just can’t take it anymore and then crash (either binge or explode in anger or become ill etc… ). STOP and Take Note of your feelings. Don’t judge or berate yourself for feeling what you feel, instead honor and respect those deep emotions. You are not failing for feeling overwhelmed, annoyed or deeply sad, you are just human like all of us and YOU are VALID, every emotion you have is VALID.

If you don’t honor and make space for your emotions and limits, nobody will. Put yourself first. Treat yourself with compassion and kindness. Use soft and loving self-talk. If that’s hard to do, imagine how you would talk to a child that’s feeling what you feel now…

2. Go into the holidays with the sole intention of feeling good.

Many people don’t realise that they deserve to feel what they feel and more, that they deserve to feel good. I’m going to repeat it in capitals just to make sure you got it: YOU DESERVE TO FEEL GOOD.  Now, the holidays can be filled with obligations that don’t necessarily make us feel good... In addition a lot of body-shame can come up (when seeing people we haven't seen in a while, fear of comments) and many people feel guilty over the food they ate and then go on some compensation food plan in 2019...

This is all avoidable …

 The only important question here is:

how do you want to feel?
Relaxed? Peaceful? Joyful? Balanced …
Are you committed to feeling this way this season?
Ok then let’s get going with point  3...

 

3. Either we change the situation or we change our perception of it

There are litterally only 2 things that can be done in any unpleasant situation: either  

 A. You manage to change the situation or

 B. you change your perception of the situation. Ok yes, there’s also

 C. You stay stuck in the negative, suffer, complain and make yourself and everybody around you miserable. But let’s say option C is outside the scope of this blog.

As humans we don’t easily accept unpleasant things unless we have done everything in our power to change it first. So for starters A:  try changing your situation. 

-  Decide what is absolutely necessary to be done and what’s not. There’s no need to stretch yourself. Cut the non-necessary stuff, let go, there’s no use in chasing perfection if your joy and health are suffering from it. Nobody benefits from you being moody, cranky or burnt out.
 
 
- Outsource whatever you can, because… it’s 2018, you probably have a lot of commitments at work & at home and let’s face it, you’re not Mary Poppins, however much you’d like to pretend to be… You probably need some help to prepare food, the house or heck that last deadline at work. Asking for help is not you failing, on the contrary it is you being authentic and vulnerable, which is where real strength lies (Brene Brown!!) Also, asking for help creates connection. People generally love to help if they can.
 
 
-Is there anything else you can change? Can you downright cancel some stuff you don’t feel like doing, can you change seats during the dinner so you chitchat with the people who are more in line with your values?

 

After doing this, you are now left with the situation, as is. It’s not gonna change anymore, unless somebody pleasantly surprises you...

But don’t count on it, it’s time to face the facts...

You have zero power over whatever is left.  So, it’s time to go for B: change your perception of things. Remember, you want to feel GOOD, your purpose is to enjoy yourself and the only tool you have left now to feel good is your own MAGNIFICENT MIND.

 “Change how you look at things and the things will change.”

For option B. I’d like to introduce an important mindfulness practice : The art of saying “fuck it.” ... Because “Fuck it” pretty much sums up eastern philospohy when applied in day to day life.

Let me go over the topic of “people” and apply the “fuck it” practice:

People!…will be people… When worrying over fellow humans, remind yourself of the following universal truths:

-People see the world through their own special shaded glasses. If someone comments on the way you look, eat or live that is merely because they entertain that rigid belief themselves and hence they torture themselves on a daily base the way they torture you now (luckily only for that brief moment). However painful and unfair their comments are, you can choose to opt out of that torture easily by choosing to simply think differently and remind yourself of this universal truth: What people say and do is a reflection of what’s going on in their mind and heart, it says nothing about you and it is not the objective truth. Don't lose precious energy in feeling hurt or angry, just express yourself and then let go, aka "fuck it".
 
 
 
 
*** My lovely grandmother has a knack for beauty-obsessive remarks and “watch your food” type comments. Since I’m on my non-diet peaceful relationship with food and body, I question her remarks, but I do it without any “repressed anger”. I simply express who I am now, what I don’t appreciate being said to me and what can be expected of me in the future. With ease and grace. I also forgive her, even if she has troubles understanding my views, because I know it is coming from a place of love. She simply believes she is protecting me from exclusion in a beauty obsessed culture.
 
 
 
Which brings me to the second point though:
 
 
 
- No matter how convincing you are, a person only changes when he/she has decided to do so herself. It’s futile to expect people to be on board with you or approve of your opinions. Don’t base who you are or what you think on others approval. People are probably not shifting at your pace on some topics, don’t let that hold you back to shift yourself. Just be yourself, express yourself and “fuck it”. (aka, be a 100% comfortable with being different)
 
 
 
If you're having particular troubles with dealing with food this season, go read up on intuitive eating over here. Whatever you do or whatever you "eat" : take care of yourself, don't beat yourself up, don't let guilt run the show. Shift your focus again and again on what provides you with Joy.
 
 
 
Leaves me with nothing more to say than:  Hohoho, Merry Xmas!!! 
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