Ahhhhhhhh Christmas time…it’s the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it? Unless it’s NOT.
I have personally experienced both sides of the wonderful when it comes to the Holidays and I can tell you that I much prefer being on the happy, joyous side rather than the stressed out, miserable side! Can you blame me? I’m sure you’re with me on this…
Christmas has always been my most favourite time of year, I love the snow, the music, the people, the wrapping of gifts, the hustle and bustle, gathering friends and family inside for cozy visits and parties. You name it, I’ve loved it.
It was his favourite holiday too; we got engaged on Christmas day out in the snow and it was the last holiday we celebrated together before he very suddenly died in 2006.
I didn’t realize at the time how great of an impact all of that would have on me at Christmas time. It took me YEARS to understand that my anxiety, anger, restlessness, stress, depression, exhaustion, lack of patience, need to stay busy, desperate need for perfection during the Holiday season were all a direct result of the my trauma and grief from losing him.
Christmas…what’s not to love?
To put it mildly, the Holiday season was torturous for me and everyone else around me as well for a lot of years.
The saying about needing to hit rock bottom before you can truly implement change into your life is absolutely, positively, 100% TRUE! My rock bottom came on Christmas Eve 2012. To spare you the ugly details, let’s just say it was explosive and that explosion knocked something loose deep inside of me and it was then that I knew something needed to change.
I learned that I needed to give myself permission to feel the Holidays and all that they brought up for me.
I learned that it was OK to share those thoughts, feelings, fears, sadness and grief with those close to me.
I learned that I could not be all things to all people because that didn’t leave anything for me and my cup.
I learned that food choices impacted my emotional state and my ability to regulate my moods.
I learned that not only did I enjoy exercise during the Holiday season and ON Christmas a little more than the rest of the year - I needed it.
I learned that living in gratitude helped me to minimize all those ‘little’ things that so easily turned into ‘big’ things.
I am actually forever grateful for that nasty Christmas ‘event’ in 2012 because it got this ball rolling finally after 6 years of awfulness and now, I am back to enjoying Christmas. It is for this reason that I want to share my methods with you! Consider it my gift to you through the interweb!!
OK, let’s get down to it; now that you have a snippet into my history and how I came to know and practice all of these things.
SIMPLIFY. Nothing alleviates stress like taking the expectations OUT. Less gifting, fewer cards, less baking, less entertaining, less ‘perfection’. Focus on love first and just enjoying the season and making memories. The gifts don’t create the memories, the spirit that they’re given in and the time spent with loved ones is what creates those special memories. We went so far as to start a ‘No Gift Christmas’ tradition in 2017! You want to talk liberating?? That’s it my friend!
DAILY MOVEMENT. Get outside, hit the gym, workout in your basement, it doesn’t matter just get your body moving and blood pumping! Aerobic exercise creates an endorphin release; endorphins are a group of hormones that improve mood, giving you a euphoric feeling. On the other end of the exercise spectrum; gentle walking doesn’t release endorphins but rather it will help lower your cortisol level. Cortisol is your ‘stress hormone’, the ‘fight or flight’ hormone which will run rampant at this time of year for even the most chill person! So get your body moving.
EAT BEFORE YOU GO. I know, we’ve all read this on the cover of some magazine in a grocery store line up every year but I will tell you from my honest experience - it HELPS! Going into a party or dinner party feeling satiated instead of ravenous is really helpful in controlling the amount of crap I have consumed. There’s always less than awesome options at parties and dinners out generally encourage over eating and drinking so whatever you can do to mitigate some of that ‘damage’ is a winning combination in my books! I just have a quick protein shake before leaving the house.
LIGHTEN UP ON LIQUOR. Lighten up as in the amount of consumption but also lighten up as in switching to clear spirits with a sugarless mix has been pure brilliance in my life! Year round! I have found that limiting my consumption not only helps out my waistline, it also helps out my mood. Liquor is a depressant after all. Not to say I don’t still enjoy a lovely glass of red here and there over the Holidays, but when I commit to making a tall-gin-soda-2 limes my cocktail of choice, everything is better. Less hangovers, less weight gained, more stabilized mood and less consumed actually.
FIND GRATITUDE. I love what Tony Robbins says about anger and gratitude. He says that it is impossible to feel anger or fear and gratitude at the same time, gratitude is the antidote to fear and anger. After that ‘Christmas event’, I was full of fear of what my life might end up like, fear of what I had turned into and how much anger ruled my life. I did what my heart knew to do, I chose to find gratitude and to practice gratitude daily. It’s my go-to place when life gets me down, when the Holidays feel like they’re just ‘too much’. So when you find yourself in that place of fear, stress, overwhelm, anxiety, anger and all those other emotions that can so easily ruin your Holiday ‘high’, go to a place of gratitude, connect with your heart.
There you have it, my 5 proven methods to having a happier, healthier Holiday Season! I have and do practice all of these every Christmas season and they have been life savers to me. I can now say that I truly love and enjoy Christmas again, and believe me, there was a time when I wondered if that was actually even possible.
My wish for you is that you find peace and health throughout this upcoming season and beyond. Life can really take us down sometimes but by surrounding ourselves with more positive, hopeful messages and people, it is possible to rise up again.
Christmas 2016…amazing how things can change!
Join the Tribe! If you’d like to be notified when new cool and interesting stuff hits the blogs, drop your info below! I promise to never get weird or spammy
Hey! I'm Robyn!
I'm an Online Entrepreneur and Fitness & Wellness Coach. I've been told that I have a way of making nutrition and fitness feel simple and not scary at all. I operate on Systems and stay focused on Simplifying everything I can.
My Goal is to teach you how to regain your health and build a better life.