If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed I’ve been a little emo about the holidays this year. The season of life I am in just has me emotionally drained, and the usual holiday festivities have lost a lot of their sparkle and appeal. Don’t worry, I’m not a total scrooge. Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday, and I love a good Mariah Carrey Christmas Single as much as the next. However, I’m not going to fake it for the next two months and pretend like everything is normal and magical now. It is my same exact life, only now there’s lights and music, too many opportunities to gain weight, and quite a few people pretending we are suddenly close. Ugh, I went emo again. Sorry.
The point is, we should remember that everyone is going through different things, and all the “merriment” can be not so merry for some. If you are one of those people, here are some tips for surviving and even enjoying the holidays when your “soul tank” (as Oprah would say) is low:
-Find a “check out” ritual
A check out ritual is anything that allows you to go to a place of zen. It is crucial that this activity is free of phone calls about holiday plans, free of photos of girls in target carts on Instagram, free of work stress or drama, free of thoughts about finances or really anything that will raise your Cortisol level. For me, this has been a twice a week BEGINNER yoga class where there are no mirrors and no phones. The lights are dim, and there is absolutely no way not to relax. The beginner part has been key, because there is no aspect of competition in this class – it is all about basics and doing whatever is healing for your body on that day.
Pick something, and do it 2-3 times a week like clockwork. You could do a facemask and take a bath, lay in the sauna at the gym, leave your phone and walk to get coffee in the morning, really anything you find relaxing. The key is you need to be consistent with it. This creates a grounding effect that will help you to recharge your energy and help you stay sane. It also gives you time to think about yourself and what you need this season, so you don’t get as pressured into doing things you truly don’t want to do.
-Become OCD about your priorities
During the holidays there are so many different ways you can use your time. It is important now more than ever to have an agreement with your self about what trumps what. This means you become a psycho about your calendar, and you schedule in your top priorities first. (Could be date night, working out, alone time, dinner with a friend, a family tradition, even your “check out ritual”). These things become non-negotiables. Then, if something comes up during those blocked out times, you just say no. Simple as that. Yes, you will miss out on things when you run your calendar this way. GET OVER IT. You cannot do it all AND give your best to everyone all the time without sacrificing yourself. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of sacrificing my sanity and physical health to appease others.
-Communicate your priorities with those you care about
There is nothing worse than deciding to put yourself first and then getting a TON of backlash from those around you. This will only add to your stress and cause you to second guess your commitments to yourself. Instead, communicate your plans to your family, significant others, even friends ahead of time. If you have a friend you really want to get dinner with before the new year, tell them now that you aren’t going to be at every game night, cookie decorating party, or Friendsgiving, but that you really want to prioritize seeing them. Schedule it in and DO NOT reschedule it. Then there is no reason to feel guilty for missing any of the friend gatherings. Same thing with family. Tell your parents that you are working on your holiday calendar and that you are not going to do any last-minute plans this year. Is there one tradition they cannot live without doing with you? Find out what that is. Then schedule that thing, and DO NOT schedule over it. In the end, you will spend your time doing the thing that will be most impactful for you AND your fam. Now I’m not saying you still won’t get heat because I don’t know what your situation is, but I do believe that if you communicate with them in advance, there is no reason you should feel guilty for prioritizing what is important to you. By the way, you can still have fun! I just encourage you to spend your energy for the last few months of 2018 on your top priorities in life- and Boycott the BS.