The holidays often bring about so much joy and excitement for many as they are able to spend time with loved ones, possibly travel, and gather together with delicious food! However, with so many events and circumstances to attend to, the holidays may also bring about a sense of overwhelm, with less time to rest and recharge. For others, certain holiday seasons could bring about feelings of sadness, loneliness, grief, anxiety, or overwhelm. It can often bring peace to let go of expectations and refrain from pushing ourselves to be or feel a certain way, allowing ourselves to engage in activities in whatever capacity we wish. No matter what season you are experiencing in life, we wish that our community members would embrace peace and enjoyment, whatever that may look like, in situations that may not meet our expectations.
Therefore, we encourage giving ourselves permission to feel what we are feeling, rather than placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves and others. Not only do we need compassion for ourselves, but especially for others. In order to do so, we often have to make sure that we are adjusting our oxygen masks first before attending to others. It may take some time and patience to learn and grow our mindfulness tools that promote self-awareness in order to make this possible. By becoming aware of what our bodies are feeling and what emotions are showing up within us, we can participate in self-compassion and give ourselves what we need in order to maintain physical and mental wellness. For some, this may look like prayer or meditation to recharge. For others, it could mean going for a walk to clear the mind. The beautiful thing about this is that when we make sure we are emotionally and spiritually fed and taking care of our bodies, we can show up better and more whole for others! This is definitely a life-long process.
Showing up for others may look like having a greater capacity to engage in deeper conversations, serving others, being there for a grieving friend, being more present, enjoying the company of others to the fullest, letting go of expectations of others, and having more patience with ourselves and others when triggered... Because let's be honest, sometimes the holidays can bring forth triggering circumstances!
It is also worth mentioning that taking care of our physical bodies during the holiday seasons may become a bit of a challenge, with altered routines, busier schedules, less sleep, and more exposure to treats. It can be very freeing to give yourself some grace during this time and avoid perfectionism. It is often more important to look within and monitor your mindset around food, and your relationship with your body and food, versus solely looking at the tangible amount you choose to limit vs. splurge. For example, if you allow yourself to indulge in your favorite Christmas pastry, but judge yourself and stress about it the whole night, it may appear that you are promoting moderation but are actually potentially causing more stress. We want to avoid having an all-or-nothing approach and avoid over-indulging as well as under-indulging. The easiest way to do so is by checking your thoughts. Are you overindulging because you are planning to restrict yourself for the following week, or are you thoroughly enjoying the treats knowing that you will be satisfied with getting back to your healthy, balanced, eating routine after the holiday? This is a question you may ask yourself when checking in with your mindset and relationship with food!
Another tip we suggest is to apply the most important aspects of your healthy lifestyle habits to the degree that you can during the holidays, in order to enjoy your time to the fullest! For example, rest and sleep are SO important when it comes to metabolic, mental, and hormone health. In order to avoid mental burnout, excessive cravings, and better immunity with the additional stress from treats and busyness, you may want to make sleep your primary focus. Try aiming for at least 7 hours of sleep and opt to maintain your normal circadian rhythm as much as you can. Your body and mind will thank you this holiday season!
Self-care can be easy to neglect but so beneficial during the holiday season in order to maintain balance and focus on what truly matters. While it can be a busy time, it is helpful to check in with yourself and make time for activities that rejuvenate you. Fill your cup so you can show up better for others! This may include taking time for prayer or meditation, going for walks, enjoying fellowship with loved ones, and serving others. It's also important to be gentle with yourself and avoid perfectionism. If this is a triggering time for you, give yourself permission to only engage in activities to the capacity that you can. As always, embrace compassion for yourself and others, and enjoy the Holidays!
Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!
Your TCLM Fam!