So it's that time of year again, the time that seems to bring in stressful energy that can sometimes be extremely overwhelming. Between the holiday shopping, the travels back home, and the family coming into town, it's no shock that we can expect some tension to rise high.
If you're feeling overwhelmed about the idea of being home for the holidays, I'd like to first invite you to consider that it is extremely okay to prioritize your mental wellbeing & also extremely okay to recognize family situations that can be too unhealthy to go back and visit.
With that being said, sometimes it's nice to be able to experience a holiday season with knowledge of a few personal tools in our kit to manage stress levels & enjoy time with our families. Here are a few tips on how to navigate this upcoming holiday season with a little reassurance!
Hang with the kiddos a bunch! Sometimes, the coolest people at the party are the kids. Find your inner child & rejoice in time with your family's youthful spirits. You're guaranteed some light-hearted conversation & tons of laughter!
Don't overdo it with the holiday parties & events! With the invites coming in or the work functions adding up, don't forget that you don't have to attend them all! Beat the burnout or benders by choosing a few events (maybe annual ones you love!) and give yourself time to decompress in between the holiday cheer.
If you're hosting, have a bigger event this year if possible and invite some other family friends or people who ease any tensions! This is a way less formal setting that can ease up the intensity of trivial or critical relatives. It also allows a way for you to transition into having traditions & settings that make the whole family more comfortable.
Connect with someone you feel comfortable with! Have a cousin you always got along with? Or maybe you and your grandpa have an unwavering bond! Spend some quality time with them if you can and rely on them for some help with things that make you more uncomfortable. Remember- it feels nice to be needed, so don't feel like a burden when you're needing someone to lean on!
Change the seating arrangement or ask the host to place your somewhere specific if you're comfortable with it. People make have questions but overall, they can be accommodating! Another reason it's great to throw a casual gathering with members from outside of the family to break up seating & act as buffers for bickering family!
Bring something to do or read if you're going to be somewhere overnight or out of your comfort zone. I suggest a book because, for me, it's calming & easy to spend time doing. Finding something that brings you into a comfort zone for away from home situations can be really great when needing to connect back with Self.
Try talking to people at the holiday parties, engage in conversation & who knows- you might connect with an unlikely person! Also, try asking most of the questions if you don't want to feel like you're under the interrogation! Cmon, we all have that one family member LOL! It might sound tricky at first but most people LOVE to talk about themselves, just give them the gateway to do so!
Avoid overeating by bringing awareness to our bodies when we are full! It is very easy to have eyes bigger than our stomachs around the delicious family recipes! If it's easier, stick with your plate guide through the holiday season instead of piling your food on the plate from the very first helping. If your holiday is anything like mine, there will be plenty of leftovers to have later! Really sit with your food (especially when practicing mindful eating), notice whether or not you are truly wanting another serving or if you might be lost in the holiday energy of overindulgence!
If you have an alternative eating style, bring foods that you know and love that way you can still be a part of the celebration! Consider making a dish that everyone can try so you can share your lifestyle with them if you're feeling brave!
Go for a walk after the party to decompress. This is something I do every holiday, sometimes even in the middle of the party! I will excuse myself and go for a mindful walk to connect with the Earth and her stillness. I find it so grounding to touch trees and leaves and maybe even do some Earthing as long as my toes can allow it! Plugging into Great Mother's healing for a moment can recharge us after the overwhelm of holiday energy!
If you are hosting, opt for an alcohol-free gathering if there are issues with alcohol within the family. There is no rule book that states everyone has to drink on a holiday. Prioritize family and togetherness over the typical way of celebration to support those who are facing a battle with addiction.
Plan a mindful movement for the morning after to get you back in the wellness rhythm. Even if you don't have a mindful movement as part of your morning routine, beat the sluggish, cloudy feeling by getting into a movement bright and early the day after the holiday!
Create some mindfulness practices you can use through the holiday! If you have an affirmation that helps you bring awareness to your present moment, or perhaps a method like STOP (Slow down or stop what I am doing, Take a breath, Observe my inner thoughts, feelings, insights, Proceed with intentional action) these are great ways to pull yourself out of your head and back into enjoying your holiday season!
Or, opt for a Friendsgiving if you don't have the ideal home situation! More than likely, you are not the only one of your friends who might not head home for the holiday! Why not spend this time celebrating together?! Because, at the end of the day, the human spirit needs celebration. Traditions exist in cultures (and have for centuries) for the sheer purpose of reminding us to celebrate life! To pause from the mundane every day and to rejoice in time with family and loved ones so please, consider creating some new traditions or ways of adding a little extra merry into these days even if you don't head "home" for the holiday?
Hopefully having a few methods of ways to bring yourSelf back into the moment and into the feeling of togetherness & joy will allow you to feel less tense about entering this holiday season! Remember what the core message is of this time of year- to embrace one another, to give and receive love, to feel rejoice for life. However, this should look and feel is completely unique to each and every individual. Do not feel bad for needing to modify what a typical holiday may look like so that you may be able to enjoy this time of year to it's fullest!
I am so so so so ever thankful for you, dear reader!
With much love, stay *vegan* cheesin' for no reason!
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