Raise your hand if you are like me! I have to consciously work at not overdoing, overspending, or overeating during the holidays.
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My goal is to explore a new tradition, one where I am okay being comfortable, and yes – okay with feeling whole.
On Thanksgiving, my family had a Spa day – where we ate moderately, meditated, did yoga and shared what we were grateful for this year. The day after I had no regrets and felt whole.
What if we could create holidays where we celebrated being whole rather than overdoing?
Childhood memories of the holidays both haunt me and make me want to recapture them.
My memories include childlike delight in opening packages, sharing wonderful meals, and visiting with family.
Then there are the ghosts of holidays that left me feeling empty searching and feeling like I didn’t have enough love, presents, caring, and definitely not enough self-esteem.
If you are like me those ghosts are parents passed out from consuming too much alcohol or food, or parents fighting because there weren’t enough presents, and now there are way too many bills.
What are we searching for, or really needing for the holidays?
Most of us are looking for love and mistakenly think we will find it outside of ourselves. As a result, we socialize more than we want especially when winter is traditionally a time of hibernating, nurturing and restoring ourselves.
When we go against that inclination to hibernate a hole in our psyches is created. That hole opens the door to overdoing, overspending and overeating. But if we plan ahead we have a better chance of creating wholeness and some wonderful new traditions for our holidays:
Take time to think about what’s essential for you. What do you need to feel whole for the holidays?
1. Plan Ahead
Ask yourself what is essential for you this holiday? Do you want to create loving memories that feed your soul?
Perhaps you want to focus on spending time with loved ones skating, caroling, playing games or cooking together?
Or you want to make enough cookies to feed your family, friends, and neighbors? Or you want to volunteer at your church, homeless shelter or ASPCA?
Think about what activity will fill you with love.
2. Make Gifts For Others
What is your unique expression of yourself, a poem, a cake, or wrapping presents you contemplated and then purchased?
When we take time to create something we receive the gift of confidence and satisfaction.
And those we gift receive that offering of our time and contemplation.
Do you love to sing, make music, or take photographs? What creative activity is unique to you?
3. Set Aside Nurturing Time
Every time we schedule a massage, hot baths, cups of warm tea, or a foot rub we are nurturing ourselves.
And every time we nurture ourselves we take a step towards self-love and away from overdoing.
Can you offer someone a massage? Can you make a pot of tea and share it with a friend? These offerings may be the best present you can give.
4. Decide Which Traditions You Want To Keep
Do you like the caroling but hate the parades? Let others watch the parades.
Do you like the shared meals but hate the cleanup? Consider going to a restaurant to share a meal.
Do you like to put up the lights but don’t want to cut down the tree? I hang solar lights in the trees and drape colored lights inside the rooms.
If you aren’t a fan of the old traditions, then create new ones that feed your soul.
The most important element to create a holiday full of wholeness is to remember this time is yours. We can still share our time and hearts with others. But be sure to ask yourself, what do you want?
May your holidays be exactly what you need.