How do we go about surviving the holidays? Are holidays even meant to be survived? Or, are they something that should be enjoyed? Chances are you may be stretching yourself thin — financially, physically, emotionally — by over-committing yourself this holiday season. What does that lead to?
- a run down immune system
- emotional eating
- over eating…
Does this resemble your experience of the holidays? If so, welcome to “Your Brutally Honest, and Somewhat Hedonistic, Holiday Survival Guide.” Without further adieu, here are some tips to help you not only survive the holiday season, but thrive this holiday season.
- Be honest with yourself.
If you’re dreading that visit with Aunt Jane, buying John Doe a gift because he always buys you one and you feel it’s something you have to do, or feel like you have to attend all of the holiday parties you’ve been invited to…Stop. Listen to yourself and what your body-heart-mind is telling you. If you really do not want to visit Aunt Jane, buy John Doe a gift, or attend every holiday party, admit it to yourself.
Now that you’ve sat down and gotten real with yourself, you can make a choice as to what you want to do. What is going to serve you most? What is going to make you happy and healthy? What will allow you to honor your truth? If that means not buying John Doe a gift, don’t buy one. If it means only attending three parties instead of twenty, just attend three. If you really don’t want to visit Aunt Jane, don’t visit her. Might there be backlash from this? Sure, but you can approach it from the perspective of honoring yourself, your time, your health, and your energy. What people think of you has nothing to do with you.
- Be willing to accept your decision.
If you feel the consequences of not visiting Aunt Jane over shadow the benefits of staying home, for example, then I would encourage you to accept it and realize that you have made the conscious decision to visit her. It is your choice. Man up or woman up. When we consciously choose to do, or not do, something, we become accountable for our own actions, the obligatory becomes a decision, and we may become less likely to project resentment and anger towards others.
- Embrace the overindulging.
How many times have you heard people beat themselves up, call themselves fat, disgusting, and other derogatory terms for overindulging on Grandma’s rum-soaked fruit cake, or Ma’s tiramisu, or the roast beast? Probably quite a bit. If you choose to overindulge, embrace it, bless it, enjoy it, and move on. Beating yourself up like Mike Tyson or Conor McGregor is in the boxing ring with you isn’t going to do you any favors. Accept your overindulgence. Enjoy it. Start clean tomorrow.
- Ask for what you really want.
Oftentimes, people are afraid to voice their heart’s desires out of fear of being judged by others around them. If you don’t say what is on your heart-mind, if you don’t express yourself and what it is you want — whether it’s a date night out, a massage, that ring you’ve been eyeing at the jewelers, or something that was made from nature, from the heart — chances are, you’re pretty unlikely to receive it. You may wind up like this poor girl:
Exercise, particularly in the form of working-in, can be a fantastic way to relieve stress, increase energy, and stave off some of those holiday pounds. Find something you enjoy doing and go do it. Taking an hour everyday to get out in nature is a great way to ground yourself. If you’re too busy for an hour in nature, then I’d recommend spending two hours in nature.
All those late nights will catch up with you. Set a limit for yourself, honor your biological circadian rhythm and get thy arse to bed at a reasonable hour. You cannot make-up sleep or get caught up on sleep. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Want to have the energy for those parties? Do you want to remain grounded during your visit with Aunt Jane or calm, cool, and collected whilst all around you are playing parking wars at the nearest mall or Whole Foods? Sleep. Seriously. It will help your ability to remain emotionally centered during emotionally charged times.
- Receive a massage or draw a bath…or both!
Yes, de-stress. It’s vitally important to your sanity and your health. Treat yourself to at least 60 minutes on the table while your highly qualified and exceptionally talented massage therapist works out the stresses of your day. Draw a bath, scent it with your favorite essential oils, add some Epsom salts, close your eyes and allow yourself to drift away.
- Intimately connect with your partner or yourself.
In other words, have sex or make love, practice tantra, with your partner or yourself. Mmhmm. Yep, I went there. We were given bodies to experience all that human life has to offer — including pleasure. Not only does it feel great, it also relieves stress, burns calories, can boost your mood, increase circulation and give you a natural glow, help you fall asleep, and develop a more intimate relationship with yourself and your partner. Psst — it’s also an opportunity to ask for and show your partner what you like or explore yourself and what you like.
Before your panties get all in a wad, herbs can mean many things. Some days, there’s nothing more relaxing than coming home, slipping into your favorite pair of pjs, plopping thy wonderful self upon the couch and enjoying a cup of tea. For immune-fortification effects, add some reishi, chaga, astragalus, or he shou wu to your cuppa or your smoothie. Check out one of my favorite recipes – Winter Wonderland. Likewise, if ganja is up your alley and helps to take the edge off, among numerous other benefits, by all means enjoy.
- Bonus. Drink and spread the holiday cheer.
If drinking water and green smoothies isn’t up your alley, or your friends and family’s alley, then check out this amazing holiday beverage from Meaghan Sinclair, owner and alchemist of Boston-based Booze Epoque.
2 ounces rye
1 ounce Ancho Reyes (ancho chili liqueur)
1 ounce honey syrup (one part honey to one part water)
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cut fresh apple
1 slice lemon peel
1 lemon slice
2.5 ounces dry hard cider
Muddle fresh apple, lemon peel, lemon juice and honey syrup in bottom of cocktail shaker. Add rye and Ancho Reyes and shake over ice. Strain into highball glass with fresh ice. Add lemon slice and top with dry hard cider.
1 ounce honey
2 ounces apple cider
1/2 ounce lemon juice
pinch: cinnamon, cayenne powder, clove, allspice, brown sugar
lemon and apple slice to garnish
Add honey, apple cider, lemon juice, brown sugar and spices to a highball glass, stir together. Add ice. Top with club soda and stir once more. Garnish with lemon and apple slice.
When we’re having a great day and really enjoying ourselves, it’s pretty easy to say that we’re having the best day ever. Have you noticed that?
What happens when less than ideal things happen to us? Maybe we were in a car accident, lost our wallet, dropped the cell phone in the loo…maybe we broke a bone, found out we’re experiencing an illness, or are mourning the loss of a loved one.
Perhaps you’ve realized that you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship and you sit there, on your bed, locked in your room, with a bottle of Tylenol next to you, wondering…
“Is this all there is to life?”
Or, perhaps the emotional pain you are feeling is too present, too intense to process and…
…you beg on hands and knees for some sort of physical pain so you don’t have to feel the pain within your heart.
You receive that pain only to spend three years learning how to get out of it, chasing your tail in circles. In that blind, circle-chasing process stumble over your own two feet to discover
in order to let go of the physical pain you’ve been feeling, you have to allow yourself to feel all of the emotional pain you’ve been numbing yourself from and hiding from.
What happens then? Do we say that it’s the best day ever? Probably not. Chances are, we’re more likely to sound like Alexander from “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”
I get it. I’ve been there. Up there, that woman who sat on her bed, who numbed herself, who begged for physical pain, over 10 years ago, was me. I understand what it’s like to have hit some sort of rock bottom and to wonder if you’ll ever pull yourself out of the hole that you’re in.
Just as a rainbow can light up the darkest of skies, we can choose to light up our own sky. Regardless of what happens to us or what we’re experiencing, we have a choice. We have a choice to choose whether or not we’re going to have the best day ever — regardless of the circumstances that come our way.
You may be sitting there saying that that is absolute cockamamie bullshit. That’s OK. I invite you to hear me out.
I suspect one day, you might reach a point in your life when you’re tired of “having bad days.” Is any day really bad? What defines a bad day? The day itself doesn’t change. The sun rises and sets, the earth rotates on its axis and around the sun, the moon waxes and wanes, the tides rise and fall. So, what’s different other than our perspective about that particular day?
You see, we fall into the carefully designed trap of living a life of comparison. We consciously and subconsciously compare each moment of our day, each experience we have, to all of the other experiences we have experienced and decide — good or bad; the best day ever, or the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Why? Why choose to compare? Why live your present life in the past?
Each and every single moment of every single day we are free to consciously choose what kind of day we are experiencing.
Wouldn’t you like to experience the best day ever, each and every day? Now, I’m not saying that dark, negative, or challenging experiences won’t ever fall your way because they will. It’s inevitable. It’s part of this human experience. However, you can choose how you react to those dark, negative, or challenging experiences. You can choose to flip the coin. You can choose to open the door to a part of yourself that you may not have experienced.
You can choose to reclaim your power rather than victimize yourself by giving your power away to the situation.
Notice the next time you find yourself saying “I’m having a bad day,” or “this is the worst day ever.” Make a conscious decision to flip the coin. Make a conscious decision to open the door behind which a new experience of your Self lies in wait.
I invite you to choose to say “I am having the best day ever.” You may not believe yourself at first. I certainly didn’t. Once I said that a few times to myself though, I experienced the cathartic, cleansing release of tears.
In that moment, I realized that the only thing holding me back from having the best day ever was me — my mindset, my thoughts, beliefs, and opinions, and my attitude. You too can choose to shift your perspective.
When you stop comparing this day, this one moment which you have never experienced before, with any other day or any other moment, when you choose to live life like there is no past and no future, and all that exists is right here, right now…you will shift.
If all that exists is this one precious moment, regardless of the experience and the visitor that has landed on the doorstep of your Home, what will you choose?