It has been awhile, hasn't it? My mind and attention lately have been 100% focused on family and transitioning us to life overseas, I have not had much time to write. But here I am and it feels so great to be writing to you today about navigating holiday stress.
I wanted to write to you today about the holidays and the pressures that mount from expectations, disappointments, stress and comparison.
I bet you can already feel it can't you? It is only the beginning of November and I can already feel my heart racing a bit at the thought of Christmas, everything that needs to be done and all of the spending that inevitably goes along with it.
It is also the time of year we give up on wellness. There is just too.much. stuff (both figuratively and literally) crammed into this season and something has to give. Most of the time, what tends to go first is the commitment to ourselves.
Are you nodding your head yet?
If you have been around here long enough, you probably know that my philosophy to wellness is a bit different than what the mainstream will teach.
I am not worried about the 5lbs that might creep in or the cookies you ate. Life is meant to be enjoyed and food is a part of that.
My concern is the lack of boundaries, our inability to say no, t
he comparisons we make on social media and the money we spend that we don't actually have.
THESE are the things that effect our quality of life. Stress negatively impacts our lives in every single area of well being and it is my firm belief, it is a major culprit in causing chronic illness in millions of Americans today.
So to help you manage stress, set boundaries and make better choices for yourself, I have come up with 4 easy strategies you can use for yourself this year as prepare and enjoy your holiday season.
1. Wait 24 hours before committing.
Have you ever quickly said yes to something only to later regret all of the undue stress it brought to your life? From hosting a party to room mom activities, or even a late night get together that will leave you tired and dragging the next day. Don't say yes immediately. Create a 24 hour rule for yourself to reflect on the activity and see if it aligns to your values and what you are able to offer. If it is a yes, then great! If it is a no, then you just opened up space for what you are truly called to give this season.
2. Shop with a list.
Don't roll your eyes at me.
Do you get carried away in the isles of Target and end up leaving having spent $200 more than what you intended? Do you feel that guilt? How do you feel when a month from now you will find these toys shoved under a bed, forgotten about? Stick to your list and any additional items should be written down (or taken a picture of) to again, wait 24 hours to think about if it is something truly of value to your family.
3. Carve out social media free time.
Social media has it's place. We are able to learn and connect so much easier because of it, but it also has it's silent problems. It is easy to fall into the comparison trap while browsing your newsfeed and see other people's celebration. It can make you feel like you are missing out or that everyone else has it better. The truth is? They don't. We all struggle but tend to share only the good. Maybe it's one day a week or removing apps from your phone but setting boundaries around social media to be replaced with time appreciating and enjoying your own family can be transformational to mental health, especially this time of year.
4. Create an exit strategy.
We have all been at social gatherings where we either feel uncomfortable, are not having fun or simply just want to get away. This could be at a party or with family on Christmas Day. Plan ahead and create an avenue for you to give yourself what you need, when you need it and DO NOT FEEL BAD about escaping for a bit or for good. Sometimes spending time with family means reentering toxic relationships and behavior patterns and that.is.hard.stuff. Go get coffee, run to the store, say you have an early morning, or simply say "I am feeling like it is time for me to go, thank you for having me.". You don't need a reason to make a choice to put your mental and emotional health first.
I hope these ideas have given you insight into what you can do to take care of yourself this season and whatever it is, you need not apologize to anyone for putting your health and well being first.
If you are looking for a more personal relationship with a health coach who can help you navigate wellness, I have updated my health coaching packages and would love to work with you!