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How to Thrive During the Holidays
I’ve written dozens of holiday blogs and articles over the decades and here’s another. You can check out previous ones in my blog archives on my website. My goal here is to provide simple guidelines for you to follow over the holidays which will help you take excellent care of yourself and make you proud of yourself.
Focus on what’s enough. Whether we’re talking about food, alcohol intake, cleaning, decorating, gift giving or partying, get in touch with what feels like the right amount for you. Ditch all-or-nothing thinking and stay connected to self-regulation.
Don’t diet. Holidays are a perfect time to practice “normal” eating. Sure there are more treats around, but that just gives you more opportunity to have small amounts of foods you really love. Have a tapas mentality—a little of this and a little of that is enough.
Emotional regulation. Keep tabs on your emotions. If you know you’ll be with people who get your dander up, plan ahead. Find people who are buffers, keep visits short, lower your expectations, do deep breathing, don’t personalize what’s said to you, visualize managing difficult relationships well, and vow to be the adult in the room.
Stay active. Moving your body will release emotional tension and make your body happy. Do yoga exercises, body stretches, dance up a storm, or take a walk.
Maintain routines. Don’t break routines just because you’re on vacation or there’s lots going on. If you generally meditate, refuse to let schedule changes get in the way. If you usually get up and go to sleep at a certain time, give yourself a bit of leeway, but try to keep to your normal sleep habits. If you go to the gym or exercise classes, continue. If there are no classes during the holidays, come up with another plan to stay active.
Don’t focus on your body. Yes, we live in fat phobic, thin obsessed culture, but you don’t need to buy into it. Your appearance is only one small part of you. If you don’t feel badly about your body, no one can make you feel that way. Wear clothes you like and that flatter you, but don’t obsess about looking thinner. Refocus on what’s happening in the rest of your life.
Manage stress effectively. Between shopping and traveling, holidays can be a stressful time. Note when you’re frustrated and feel helpless. Put problems that crop up into perspective. Go with the flow as much as possible. Don’t try to be perfect. And remind yourself that the holidays will be over and your life will be back to normal once again.