Learn How to Own the Holidays Before They Own You with Whole30 Certified Coach, Bree Shields
The holiday season is officially upon us and while this is my favorite time of the year, thanks to my Nana who left her Christmas tree up year-round, the holidays can also be a time where we feel the pressure to give in a way that we may not normally give during other seasons throughout the year (and I’m not just talking about gifts)! We feel the pressure to give our time by way of countless holiday parties and holiday traditions that are a “must.” We feel the pressure to perform and show up in a way that says I must be perfect with the perfect gift, perfect holiday attitude, and perfectly clean home. Plus, we feel the pressures of finances, food choices, and so much more!
Now, I’m not here to stress you out more or kill the holiday vibe but rather to help you take back this season and enjoy this time of year to the fullest! Here are a few tips to just that!
1. TAKE A MINUTE FOR YOURSELF
The season does not feel kind to us when it comes to time and rushing around seems to be the norm. I would encourage you this season when you are feeling overwhelmed and like life is rushing all around you to take one minute (you can set your timer if you would like) to just pause. Breathe. Don’t take this one minute to scroll through social media but rather to give your brain a break and infuse it with the good. This one minute can be devoted to silence, focused breathing, to smile and take in the sights/smells/and people who you are around. My tip specifically related to the holidays though would be to take a minute to remind yourself what the holidays mean to you. What makes them so special? What is it that you love most? Tap into that because the things that are pulling us away from the magic of the holiday season often times have nothing to do with the true meaning!
2. SAY NO
I have never, ever, never-ever had someone say to me “Remember that holiday party 3 years ago that you didn’t come to?” I would encourage you this holiday season to prioritize the events that feel the most special to you. I am giving you permission right now to say no thanks, to think of yourself, and conserve your energy and spirit for the people and things that you want to give it to most! I would much rather you show up as 100% authentically yourself with the excitement of the event you’re attending very evidently pouring out than plastering on a smile, nodding politely, all the while not being present and wishing you were somewhere else. If the event you are invited to doesn’t seem like it’s something you want to attend, say to the person inviting you, “Thanks for the invite. I will get back to you and let you know if I am able to make it.” Then take some time and decide will this serve you or drain you? If it is a situation where it is going to drain you, it is 100% okay to say “I won’t be able to make it this time.” Or be transparent and say, “I have a lot going on during this season and I’m feeling worn down”. This kind of authenticity then gives permission to those around you to also take a breath, say no, and care for themselves! Look at you leading the pack!
3. MAKE TIME FOR SELF-CARE
This does not have to be extensive by any means! You do NOT need to meditate for an hour, you do not need to go to yoga every day, and you do not need to feel the pressure to be a master at self-care! Maybe this is your first time trying it out or maybe you haven’t been consistent in the past. I would strongly urge you to pick two things per day that you can do throughout the month of December that fills you up! Self-care may look like putting that laundry away you’ve been meaning to so then you can get it off of your mental to-do list. Self-care may mean turning into bed 30 minutes early or going for a walk. Here is a list of things you can do that have the potential to recharge you and won’t take a lot of time:
- Write a list of 10 things you are grateful for from that day
- Say a positive affirmation right after you brush your teeth (bonus if you look at yourself in the mirror and do this)
- Spend some time in prayer, meditation, or other spiritual practice
- Listen to your favorite song and sing really loud in the car
- Dance ridiculously for 1 minute (this is my go-to every morning because it makes me smile)
- Call a friend
- Take a technology break either during the first half of your day or last half
- Smile for one minute straight
It doesn’t have to be fancy or glamorous! Self-care simply has to be you committing to giving to yourself day in and day out so that you are filled up rather than burnt out! Try it and see what happens. You might be surprised that this new act of self-care can create the type of energy needed to show up well even under high holiday stress!
4. STAY WELL-FED WITH NUTRITIOUS FOOD
This might seem weird that I am saying this but I find that when I am well fed my choices that follow after seem to be more in line with who I want to be. If I am hungry I typically make really weird choices with my food and want to eat all the things (especially things that I rarely eat). One Christmas cookie easily turns into 10 when I’m hungry. We all know that hangry is a real emotion too and no one wants to be hangry during the holidays! I will also say that when I am well fed I feel like I have the energy to go about my day as my best self. We know that the days will be long so stash some healthy emergency foods (nuts, jerky, olives, etc.) in your desk, car, purse, diaper bag, etc. This puts the ball back in your court and allows you to feel in control with your decisions rather than reaching for something you don’t really want because you feel like you don’t have another choice.
5. DECIDE WHAT IS WORTH IT
Finances, Food, Events, and everything in between!
- Evaluate that Christmas list. Maybe your second cousin twice removed who you only talk to every other year doesn’t need a Christmas gift this year. Could you switch to sending out really awesome cards instead?
- Evaluate holiday treats! What are the things you have been looking forward to and which things are simply “just okay”?
- As we talked about earlier evaluate which holiday parties you are really looking forward to and which ones you would rather pass on.
- Last but not least evaluate your energy! Some things this holiday season may get you fired up and other things are simply not worth it. Know what is where you want to spend your energy and what things you can set aside and come back to later after the holidays! After all, this is your time of year to enjoy just as much as everyone else!
I know many of us have various goals whether that be financial, relational, health-related, or simply the goal of showing up as your best self. These tips are meant to do just that and help you mindfully navigating the holidays enjoying them to their fullest potential. Finish the year strong my friends. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t forget to give to yourself so you can, in turn, give to the world around you! You are so worth it! Happy Holidays!
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