written by Paula Hartmann
Imagine you would stay 100% true to yourself and your personal needs during the Christmas season! Do you think the holidays would be more fun and meaningful to you?
Instead of making this time about love and joy, we usually sacrifice our wellbeing to meet the expectations that come with the season.
If outspoken aunt Jane wants us to have the third glass of wine against our will, we shy away from saying no, because we think, “It’s no use anyways.”
If mom thinks it’s important to attend a meet up with family members we haven’t seen the whole year, we give in and give up on what feels right to us.
Then there are the expectations we put on ourselves. We think we need to get everybody a present that gives us one. (even though we don’t even know this person very well or what they like). We think “this is what I NEED to do”, instead of asking ourselves, “Is this what I really WANT to do?”
This year I would like to invite you to take the chance and really make this month about love and joy.
Tune into your body and ask yourself, “What would feel joyful to me?” and “What feels right to me?” as opposed to asking yourself what everybody else is doing.
Making decisions based on what feels good to you might make your Christmas look less "spectacular" from the outside. You might not have thirty presents under your Chrismas tree or you might not host a party for fifteen people with fancy drinks. But it will give you a feeling of fulfillment and ease inside.
Here are five ways to stay true to yourself during this holiday season:
1. Acknowledge which activities make you feel good and which ones don’t
Everything starts with acknowledging how you feel. If something feels off, it usually is. Tune into your body a couple times a day and ask yourself, “How am I feeling right now?” F.i. notice how you feel after rushing through the stores to buy presents or how you feel after a walk through the snow. It’s simple: what doesn’t feel good to you isn’t good for you. Take your feelings seriously and act on them. You’re worth it!
2. Allow yourself to break with existing traditions
If the things you usually do during the holiday season stress you out, allow yourself to break with these traditions. A few examples are over-eating, over-drinking, over-spending or not taking any time to relax. You don’t have to keep a tradition going if it doesn’t make you feel good. (read more about how to change a gift giving tradition with friends and family). If you’re afraid of making other people feel uncomfortable, when you start doing things differently, know that the only thing you’re responsible for is your own wellbeing. You can’t change other people’s moods and opinions, but you do have the power to change your own behaviour. Stay true to your own values!
3. Boycott busyness
Does it make you feel uncomfortable when your friend asks you what your plans for the weekend are and your answer is "nothing"? Do you think "I have nothing to talk about" or "I'm not interesting enough"? DON'T!!!! Sometimes I don't remember what I did all weekend. Nothing spectacular happened. Maybe I went for a hike, danced in my living room or I cooked a soup. Don't compete with your friends about who is the busiest. What's more important than dinner parties and weekends at the ski lodge is that you feel relaxed and healthy.
4. Enjoy the season
Fully experience what this season has to offer! Go for hikes in the snow, cuddle up with a hot chocolate on the couch and watch your favourite childhood movie! Get creative and make paper snowflakes for your windows! Take a walk at night and marvel at all the lights and X-mas decorations! Put on candles and eat oranges! Stay in your PJ's all day and bake some cookies. Listen to your favorite music and write letters to the people you love.
5. Be present
This time of the year invites us to bring more awareness to the things we do daily. It's not only about WHAT we do, but also about HOW we do things. Practice bringing more love and joy into every moment. When you wash your hands, feel the warm water on your skin. When you eat an orange, take a deep breath and smell it, take your time to really taste the flavours. When you talk to a person give them your undivided attention and really listen.
Allow yourself to say no to the things that don't feel good to you, so you have more time and energy for the things and people you love.
Wishing you a wonderful season!