Holiday Madness!! We are now in December – Yikes!! Where has this year flown?
It has been quite the year. Hopefully your year has been action packed and filled with grand adventures.
Sometimes, the adventure of getting through the week without anything going wrong or gone bang in the night is as good as it gets. And that is pretty darn good.
And now, here we are in December, we’ve navigated Halloween and Thanksgiving in the manner that worked best of us (or didn’t).
The December Holidays and New Year’s are rapidly approaching. And it will happen in a rush.
So how do we survive this time with the minimum of casualties, self-blame, sickness and downright disasters?
The holidays come with their own special expectations and baggage. If you are anything like me, you grew up with a certain vision of the perfect holiday. While a portion of them measured up, there were others that were just plain hard to handle.
Spiritual and Emotional Health
Pay special attention to your spiritual and emotional health.
The real purpose behind the December holidays is revisiting many of our spiritual beginnings and beliefs.
It is the time for refreshing ourselves spiritual. With our spiritual game sound, no matter the rest of the outcomes, we can position ourselves for a peaceful, serene and joyful season.
In that baggage category are too many things that may tend to overshadow the holidays.
That old baggage rears it’s ugly head at times and bites you in the butt, leaving you shaking your head in the “where did that come from” wonder.
This is where you might want to seek professional help. Someone to talk through the ghosts of the past.
Don’t let the past steal your present, steal your enjoyment of your friends and your loved ones.
Generally, as I had more “say” in how my holidays were planned and managed, they were much better (ok, call me a control freak!).
Yet, I am an eternal optimist and have continued to re-craft my holidays on an annual basis to be a blend. A blend of:
- Family and friends;
- Serenity and wonder;
- Joy and amazement.
Some years may miss the mark; but, they consistently get better – you know the old “practice makes perfect” routine!
Eating and the Holidays
I love eating and sometimes even baking. There were years that I would make cookies, pumpkin bread, strudel (Mom’s recipe) and fudge (purportedly the See’s Candies recipe) and give it as gifts.
Of course, I had to sample.
Honestly, there was a time in the past, when the first weekend in December my diet turned to sugar for the rest of the Holiday season.
So, it was no surprise that I’d gained 10 pounds by the end of December and I felt awful.
Worse yet, I might only lose 5 pounds before the next December, when, once again, I repeated the process. Needless to say, after several years, I had gained a LOT of weight!
It took me a long time to break that cycle, to realize that I probably shouldn’t bake and give food as gifts.
This year, I enjoyed the Thanksgiving eatathon, and then have been working toward a more moderate approach during most of December.
My plan is only to indulge in the absolutely BEST homemade baked goods and special holiday treats!!
And even if I eat or taste a LOT of those homemade baked goods and holiday treats, I have learned to be gentle with myself. And maybe I’ll go for a walk and drink lots of water and work toward more balance.
Be Gentle with Yourself
The gentleness with myself includes forgiving myself for indulging in the food and treats.
Can you tell that food has been a trigger for me? A trigger to beat myself up. Maybe it is also a trigger for you.
Maybe the holidays are an excuse/reason for you to drink excessively. Maybe creating situations that cause you regret or embarrassment.
Try to be moderate in your drinking or not drinking. Give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the holidays.
Does any of this ring true for you?
What strategies can you use to be gentle with yourself and to enjoy the holidays without beating yourself up?
Now as we are talking about balance, at this time of year, where else do you need to exercise balance?
Do you try to do it all?
You know, find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Attend every party or event you are invited to, even if you aren’t certain you have the energy to go to one more event?
That despite being exhausted, you insist on going on without resting?
And then you try to be the “perfect” hostess with the perfect decorations and perfect holiday menu for whatever event you decided to host.
And you aren’t quite certain how you are going to get all the Christmas Cards done.
And sleep – who are you kidding? Sleep is for January!
Then…you catch that cold that knocks you out for three weeks right in the middle of December and you wonder why – what happened?
Any of this sound familiar?
Try a Different Approach
Maybe now is the time to do something differently. Maybe now is the time to set some boundaries. To say “no” to a couple of things. You don’t need to go crazy try just one or two.
Maybe now is the time to ask for help. Rather than make that holiday event be all your own cooking, what about a potluck. Ask others to bring a dish, just like the olden days.
Or maybe even “hire it out”. There are more restaurants and caterers who are more than happy to prepare your dinner and you just reheat.
Then you get to spend more time with your friends and family – enjoying your own party.
Unless of course that holiday dinner party is your “thing” and it is your big event for the entire season. So say “no” in another area of your holiday traditions.
Maybe rather than sending personally handwritten holiday cards, what if you did a picture card with the high points of the year. Or, try sending one of the electronic holiday cards. Save yourself some time.
Ok, the holiday letter is your “thing”.
Then look at your gift list. Simplify or scale back. Rather than make every gift by hand, maybe do more online shopping or give gift cards for their favorite store. Many grocery stores have racks of gift cards for the big retailers and of course Amazon and Google cards can make many people happy.
Ok, handmade gifts are your “thing”.
Then look at the holiday decorations. Again, simplify or scale back. Maybe you don’t need to decorate the entire house inside and out. Maybe you don’t need to have all those strings of lights – hang a few less strings. What about a pre-lit tree?
Ok, decorations are your “thing”.
You Don’t Need to Do It All
You get the jest. You don’t have to do it all. And you don’t have to set all the boundaries at once this year, just try something, one thing. Take baby steps. The point is to cut yourself a break.
Enjoy the holidays with getting sick or some other consequences of over-doing.
Something to consider, is that the holidays and self care are a small part of your complex life today. And we are continually looking for ways to expand your rich full life.
If you’d like to discuss a holiday survival strategy, book a call with me here.
Have an amazing holiday season. Until the next time: