The holidays will be here before we know it! Costco had its Christmas stuff out before Labor Day this year (I find that ridiculous)!
But the truth for many of us is, the holiday season starts well before the calendar flips to December. For me, it kicks off with birthdays in October, followed closely by the Halloween festivities. From there, it’s off to the races with more birthdays jammed between Thanksgiving and Christmas! While these months have always been a source of joy and one of my favorite times of the year, they also come with a lot of stress. Not so many years ago, the stress and celebration of it all would cause me to experience weight gain and the accompanying feeling of low energy, low self-confidence, and overall misery by the time it was all over. However, over the years, I’ve discovered some strategies that when applied have transformed the way I experience the holiday season.
As we approach these next couple of months, I implore you to take action now to help ensure that the season of peace and joy can be experienced fully, without regret or self-deprecation. Life will still be lifin’ and stress will still come, but how we prepare and react to it can make all the difference in the world. So here you go…
Embrace Meditation for Inner Peace
As someone who used to dread the arrival of the holiday season because of the inevitable stress from a never-ending to-do list on top of family and financial pressures, I’m learning to value making time for meditation. The chaos of planning and social gatherings often leaves me feeling overwhelmed, which used to lead to a very cranky mom and wife — not the best version of me.
Meditation is quickly becoming my anchor in this storm. Finding even just a few minutes each day to meditate allows me to regain control of my thoughts and emotions. It helps me stay emotionally stable so I can bring my best energy to those who deserve it most. This is still a practice I’m working to make a habit but when I do, I find inner peace, boosting my self-confidence and helping me stay grounded, which I need during the holiday whirlwind.
Create a Master To-Do List
I have always been a list person, but before I adopted the practice of creating a master to-do list, the holiday season used to overwhelm me. Starting a master list now helps me decide what is truly important, set boundaries and remove things that simply don’t really need to be done.
This can be easier said than done as the expectations from others seem to be higher than normal this time of year. As moms, we feel like we are expected to make everyone else’s holiday perfect – prepare the food, buy and wrap the perfect gifts, decorate, host and do it all with a smile on our faces. The pressure to perform and make everyone else happy can suck the joy right out of everything. But seeing the big picture helps me see early on things that aren’t really a priority for me, but are a priority someone else has put on me – those don’t serve me and can be moved off the list.
I begin crafting my holiday to-do list as early as possible. Birthdays in October serve as a reminder to start planning. By outlining all the tasks, big and small, I anticipate and distribute them evenly over the coming months. This not only eliminates the anxiety of procrastination but also allows me to tackle one task at a time, maintaining my sanity and overall well-being.
Start Your Health and Nutrition Journey Now
For years, I struggled with post-holiday punishment, brought on by the low energy I experienced over the past three months. It took a toll on my self-esteem and made the festive season anything but enjoyable. The turning point for me was shifting my approach to health and nutrition.
Six years ago, I started my health and fitness journey and after decades of cycling through diets and punishing myself with exercise, I found lifestyle wellness. Now, instead of waiting for the holidays to hit and then feeling guilty about indulging, I focus on my health and well-being all year long. I make sure I reset after summer and I am on track in the fall before holiday eating kicks into full effect. When the holiday treats do appear, I don’t deny myself because treats are not cheats! I enjoy the goodness in moderation and return to my healthy way of eating and exercising – no big deal.
These practices have helped me maintain my weight and given me the energy and self-confidence to truly enjoy the holidays. I no longer dread the indulgent feasts or the sweets that come my way because I know I’m taking care of myself year-round. I also don’t fall into comparison at holiday gatherings because I feel fat and unattractive. Instead, I feel beautiful and confident. The result? I can fully enjoy the holidays without the burden of guilt, fatigue or comparison.
How Will You Do Your Holidays?
The holiday season is going to come. You get to decide if it comes with stress, overwhelm, depression and self-deprecation, or if you’ll overcome those things to find JOY in all the big and small moments. These strategies have helped me. They enrich my everyday life and the holiday experience, and I hope they do the same for you.
I’d love to hear from you! How do you bring the best version of yourself to the holiday experience?