Thanksgiving is this Thursday and in typical American fashion, we will jump right into consumerism with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Then off we will go to consume more than our little hearts can bare. More cookies, more alcohol, travel, frivelous spending, eating and repeating. Then January will hit us and everyone will be looking for the latest gimmick that will help us “do better” or “look better” or “feel better.”
There is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself, in-fact I encourage it. That’s why this blog post is dedicated to helping you do all of those things without guilt, or shame attached.
Getting through the holidays can be tough for many people. Some feel they need to do all the Holiday things perfectly, from trimming the tree to wrapping the gifts, finding the perfect dress to wear to the party, and oh yeah let’s not forget all the tempting treats that some knucklehead nearby will cleverly remind us how much sugar, gluten, fat and calories are in the decadent treat you so badly want to shove in your mouth. Or even worse, some dip-wod trainer will mention how many burpees you will have to do if you eat it. Instead of stressing, feeling shame or guilt, do yourself a favor and let yourself off the hook. Instead of trying to push through and do everything to make it perfect, and shiny, try doing a little less, and focus on the things that make you feel happy and bright. A little less bogged down too.
Tips to finding joy during the Holidays:
Tip #1 – Pick only the traditions you really love. This can be hard because there are soooo many. But keep it to 3 or 5, even less if you choose to. Don’t participate in a tradition you don’t enjoy just because it’s always been one or your loved one will be mad if you don’t. Instead, talk to your family members and see what traditions they like most and which ones they could do without. For example, perhaps baking cookies for neighbors and friends has always been a tradition in your family from when you were young and now you do it with your kids. However, if all that baking and clean up leaves you feeling drained and the kids get bored with it after they crack the first egg, then skip the baking. Perhaps be a good neighbor during another time of the year. Offer to get their mail when they are out of town, or water the plants. Or just bake less. Just choose a simple recipe that you can knock out in 20 minutes or less, put it in a tin and call it Christmas.
Tip #2- Don’t go to every party that you and your spouse or kids are invited too. All that running around will leave you feeling exhausted and drained. Especially if you have to go to a party where you don’t know most of the people and act like you really care about where they are vacationing this year, or what college their kid is getting into, and blah, blah, blah… Nope, just go to the one or two parties that you know you will have the most fun and least amount of stress. Extra Tip – if you have to drink just to get through the party, this is a huge sign that these are not your people and you don’t need to be there.
Tip #3 – Say No. Start by saying no to the party you don’t want to go to. 😉 That means to family too. There is no need to drag all the kids from your parents house, to your spouses parents house and then to Uncle so and so’s house back to your house. That’s stupid stress-full. Pick one house to spend Christmas. Even if that means its yours. Also, if there is a difficult relative that is always causing drama, just say no. Don’t invite them to your house just because your mom wants to keep the peace and will be mad at you if you don’t. You are a grown up and your feelings count too. So, if it causes you stress or you have to drink the entire night away just to be around these people, just say no. This also goes for gift giving. Gift giving should be out of pleasure of wanting to buy and give a gift for the people we cherish in our lives, not out of obligation. I know this can be hard for parents to say no to their children, but if you really can’t afford a certain gift, it would be better to say no and figure out a different gift then to spend money you don’t have just because you want to please your loved one. In fact, say no to it all if you have too. No to the baking, the parties, the visitors, the traveling and the gifts. Lol! I’m not saying to be a Grinch, just say no to doing all the things that stress you out and make things harder than they need to be during this time of year.
Tip #4- Say YES! Or better yet, Yes Please! Say yes to the things you love to do during the holidays. Go to the fun parties, the ones where you know you will laugh, play games and have fun. Say yes to the gifts that you can afford and know that your beloved will really appreciate. Say yes to the traditions that bring you joy. Say yes to giving good will, and love out of the pure sake of giving. Maybe you have a few extra dollars and you want to give to those in need, do some research and give to your favorite charity. Or say yes and spend time with a friend or love one who would love to see your beautiful face.
Tip #5 – Enjoy and be present. When you choose the traditions you value the most, go to the parties that bring you the most joy, say no to things or people who stress you out and yes to the the things that make Christmas time great, there will be nothing left to do but enjoy and be present. Look at the lit Christmas tree at night as you sip a cup of tea or hot- chocolate. Watch your loved one open a gift that you could not wait to give them. Taste the yummy food. Choose the food that you really just can’t live without. Turn down the food that you can do without. Whatever you do, don’t waste your time and energy thinking about macros, calories, or how you plan to punish yourself at the gym the next day. Also, really be present. You don’t have to post everything on social media. Take a break from documenting everything on your phone and just be in the moment. Not that there isn’t a time and place for pictures and posts. I love seeing family and friends bundled together in front of a tree on Instagram. Take a lot of pictures, but also have a lot of conversations and be in the moment.
Next week, I’ll post about the best places and things to spend your money on in terms of health, fitness, and self-care.
Happy Thanksgiving. Let’s be grateful for the simple things in life.