Light at the End of the Tunnel
Pumpkin lattes, darker mornings, and Ugg boots; signals that fall is here and it is time to gear up for the holidays and winter. Lighting our houses and yard buffers the shorter amount of daily sunlight, and our yearly goals to not get stressed over the holiday season is a road paved with good intentions. How can we happily anticipate and enjoy the season while keeping ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy?
Adjusting to the cold while fighting one off, overbooking ourselves socially, spending more money and wrapping up the end-of-the-year loose ends are all part of the joy and celebrations. Our daily routines and self-care tend to fall off the list of priorities which is exactly why we must amplify them. When we are ill, we crave rest, proper nourishment and keeping it simple. It is common for our immune systems to take a hit in the New Year after being weakened by all the activity and abrupt halt in the action. Just like the days will start to grow longer, we can enter this season proactively by welcoming a bit of the chaos.
Know what you need to do over the holidays and what you want to do, being sure to keep those separate and straightforward. A need may be the holiday decorating and seeing family, and a wish may be to take more time off or hosting a party. Choose something that is not a typical ritual that could become one in the future, giving yourself agency, and creating your unique way to welcome the season. Trying to fit into any template of celebrating is not always the best way.
Everything takes longer than you think, so plan accordingly. Build in extra time for ordering online, traffic, booking flights, hosting, and making time for self-care. Continue exercise routines to balance the extra parties, rare cuisine and extra alcohol paired with the holiday season. Power down from activities in a similar way. Take an extra day between travel, social events, creating meals; your soul will thank you after. Our bodies will rely on adrenaline more at this time, and our spikes in Cortisol (the favorite stress-hormone) will need defense, so indulging in taking care of ourselves and those around us is anything but self-indulgent. It is critical.
Even if you are “not a planner,” become one. Public speakers, athletes, and any expert at their craft knows that practice and planning are the keys to the kingdom. This is not the time of year to “wing it” for events you know will happen. We cannot plan for everything, but we can take the effort on early to avoid the scrambling and fire drill approach later.
Remember, this is all supposed to be fun. Be mindful of everything you have, not what you don’t, and the appreciation of having another holiday to be present for. While many material luxuries around us can make this time of year more beautiful, convenient, and decadent, it is the people around us worth celebrating. Concentrating on the wonderful relationships we cultivate and people we care about are the reasons we have holidays and celebrations in the first place. À votre santé!