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The holidays are a time where many of us get caught up in a whirlwind of overwhelm and stress. Our to-do lists double and even triple, with the addition of holiday parties, decorating, shopping and cooking.
It's easy to get sucked into the eye of the storm and not see a way out until January 2nd hits. By this time, it's almost too late and burnout has set in. But this doesn't have to be the case for you this holiday season. You do have a choice.
You CAN thrive through the holiday season in a peaceful and balanced way, so when the New Year comes you feel ready to move forward in an empowered way, instead of feeling like you have to start at square one and fix all the damage you did.
Below are my Top 3 Actions to Help You Avoid Burnout this Holiday Season:
It's no secret that this time of year can be filled with obligations and family traditions that often feel overwhelming. During my annual 7-Day Balanced and Blissed Holiday Challenge, I challenge hundreds of participants with the action of choosing things that feel aligned with them, versus participating out of obligation.
This very action includes being able to say No, which can be hard for a lot of people. In order to not burn yourself out this holiday season and avoid the overwhelm that often comes along with it, I encourage you to choose your experiences and to-do's wisely.
Here's how to do that:
Take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Write the heading, "To-DO" on one side, and the heading "Events" on the other. Write out everything you feel like you have to do under the "To-Do" Heading (ie: getting a tree, baking cookies, decorating, buying gifts for everyone at the office, even long time traditions), and then write out all the events you need to attend including kids (if you have them) plays, holiday parties and bake sales under the "Events" heading.
Once you complete your list, go down each column and circle anything that IS a priority or feels GOOD for you to do. Then go through the list again and X out anything that feels heavy or like an obligation. Note: This process won't be easy, especially if you are a people pleaser or someone who is afraid of being judged for not participating. You will also have to learn to let go a bit and really tune in to the things you WANT to do (see below).
Once you complete the X + O process, go through the circled items, or any items that you are questioning on the list and ask yourself the following questions:
How is this bringing balance to my life?
How is this bringing bliss and joy to my life?
Will this bring balance to my life if I do it, or will I feel resentful?
Is this something I feel obligated to do? If so, can I shift it to feel balanced instead?
If the item feels obligatory, overwhelming etc, cross it off your list and LET GO! You will be OK, I promise. Often we will do things out of obligation or fear of what others will think of us if we don't bake cookies for that bake sale, or show up to that party.
Once you have gone through this process you will feel much clearer. Complete it by writing the remaining items in your calendar. Block out one hour windows of time to complete tasks such as shopping, baking or wrapping gifts. This will help you manage your time better.
This practice will be one of the most powerful actions you take for yourself this holiday season. Life coach and personal growth guru, Tony Robbins says, "If you don't have 10 minutes to give yourself, you don't have a life...." This is so true and one of the main reasons why people feel stressed out and overwhelmed.
By starting your day with what I call the 10+10, you will set yourself up to feel grounded, balanced and connected this holiday season instead of harried, frazzled and buried under your to-do list.
The 10 + 10 consists of 10 minutes of movement and 10 minutes of "me" time first thing in the morning. Of course, both of these activities can be longer, especially if you like to do your workouts in the morning, but start with a minimum of 10 minutes for each.
Most importantly though, is the 10 minutes of "me" time where you either meditate (I love using the Insight Timer App), breathe, read something uplifting excerpts from a book (here is my favorite,) connect to your own heart, journal by dumping whatever is on your mind on the page, or set intentions for the day.
This action is life-changing and will set you up to have a more empowering and connected day so that you don't' feel as overwhelmed by all you have to do.
Also, studies show that people who have consistent morning routines are more successful than people who don't. Instead of hitting the snooze button 3 or 4 times, get up out of bed and give yourself the time you deserve.
Many of us are living in the future or the past. This causes anxiety and overwhelm.
You are ONLY one person, who can only do so much. The more you keep thinking about ALL the things you have to do, versus staying present and doing the next "right" action, the more stressed out you will feel.
Practicing presence is one of the most impactful and balancing things you can do for yourself this holiday season. I know it doesn't come easy for most, myself included, but you can access it with a little bit of awareness and pause.
Every time you catch yourself feeling anxious or overwhelmed, STOP and take a deep breath. Seriously. It's incredible how quickly it works. Know that these feelings come from you not being present. Then take another.
Once you take 2-3 deep breaths, then ask yourself if you are living in the future and worrying, or are you focusing on the task at hand and what's in front of you?
By taking this pause, you will get reconnected to the present moment and then you can make a discerned choice about what needs to be done next.
Again, you are ONLY one person, and can only do so much. DELEGATE if you need to. Ask for help and don't think you need to be Superwoman or Superman.
By following these 3 empowering actions this holiday season, I guarantee you will feel so much more balanced and peaceful by the time the New Year arrives. And if you are concerned about weight gain this holiday season, check out my recent blog about How You Can Avoid Holiday Weight Gain.
The holidays are in full swing. Stores are bustling, parties are happening and people are stressing. It's no surprise that most people will gain anywhere from 5-15 pounds throughout the holiday season.
With the amount of sugary treats, high-calorie foods and a constant flow of libations, it's easy to take in a whole lot of extra calories that your body doesn't really need. Not to mention, the amount of stress we put ourselves under, which also includes lack of sleep and overextending ourselves (aka people pleasing.)
I want you to thrive this holiday season, and not just survive. Most people will do their best to "just get through it" and then deal with the consequences of that in January, which in my opinion, is not an empowering way to start off a brand new year. It feels like a very large mountain to climb....
Here are 5 Tips to support you in having a Thriving holiday season void of weight gain, guilt and regret;
This is usually the first thing to get pushed down to the bottom of our to-do list at this time of year. But, it's more important than ever for you to move your body in some way over the holiday season, for more reasons than avoiding weight gain.
Exercise helps to relieve stress, stabilizes your blood sugar, keeps your metabolism fired up and also supports healthy sleep habits. This is not the time to avoid your body movement, even if it's for only 20 minutes a day, just do something. And preferably something you enjoy!
If you struggle with this commitment, invite others to join you, so it doesn't feel so grueling, and you will have a real reason to show up.
Just because there are tons of treats around all the time, especially some that we only see once a year, doesn't mean you need to stockpile them and overdo it. This doesn't serve you on any level; mentally, emotionally or physically.
Plan to enjoy and truly savor the treats you do love. Take a few bites, really taste them. Put them on a plate, walk away from the table and go sit down to eat. Don't put any negative thoughts toward yourself or the food, because that will only make you want to indulge more, and leave you feeling full of regret.
I love to stick to the 80/20 or 90/10 guideline, of enjoying those sweet treats about 10-20% of the time throughout the season. This way I don't feel deprived or restricted, and I can REALLY enjoy what I am eating without all the thoughts of guilt and regret.
If you keep your attention on what the holidays are really about, which is being with family, connecting and spreading cheer, then food won't be the central focus. It can be easy to get caught up in the holiday craziness, but remember, you DO have a choice about what you put in your mouth and where you put your attention.
Get in the habit of focusing on all the blessings you have right NOW in your life, especially when you start to worry about overeating and feeling out of control around all the treats that are hanging around. The holiday season has much MORE to offer than food....
Overextending yourself during this time of year will deplete you, and create feelings of resentment. Resentful people usually turn to food to help them feel better. Also, if we are burned out and depleted, it's harder to make sound decisions that are in alignment with our healthy lifestyle.
Take a moment and write out all your To Do's, parties and commitments this season. Then go down the list and cross out the ones that feel obligatory or stressful, even certain traditions you think you need to keep out of fear of upsetting others. Last year a client of mine told her kids they weren't going to bake cookies anymore because it was so stressful for her, and she didn't enjoy it anymore. The kids were actually relieved and they created a new tradition of making homemade cards instead.
If you are worrying what others will think of you when you start saying no, or not doing what you always do this time of year, then tell yourself that the decision to take care of, and honor yourself is the best thing you can do for those around you.
Most of human suffering comes from the stories we make up in our heads about things. If you are constantly making up a story that you don't have time, or that you will never be able to eat healthy over the holidays, then those things will be true.
I'm sure you've seen that quote by Henry Ford, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, You're Right."
Everytime you find yourself spinning in your head about food, your weight, your to-do list, etc, redirect your thoughts to the present moment and what your VERY NEXT STEP will be. All you can do is put one foot in front of the other. Future thinking will only create feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. Tell that inner voice, NO THANK YOU, and then name one thing you can be grateful for RIGHT NOW and move forward from there.
Implement these Five Tips this holiday season and I guarantee you will not put on weight or feel burned out in the New Year. If you need further support, join me inside my Private Online Food Freedom Group by clicking the graphic below.