The holidays…they can be wonderful and full of fun and laughter but they also can be stressful and tend to derail our best efforts at eating in a mindful way. Today I want to give you the top four tips that I’ve found helpful for navigating eating/overall life challenges during the holidays.
1: Stress management
Since the holidays can be a stressful time, we might find we need to make more deliberate time for our own self care and relaxation. This can be difficult since the holidays are also a very busy time for many of us, but I find that really prioritizing self care at this time of year (even if that means specifically carving out deliberate time in your schedule to do so) is so important. Think about what you enjoy and what you find relaxing. Would taking a bath after you get home from Thanksgiving dinner help you feel more calm, relaxed, and reduce your desire to use food to cope? Then great do that! What about doing a quick yoga routine or taking a walk before you leave for that family gathering? Great give it a try. Self care is very individual so going into this holiday season take some time to really think about what those things are for you that you would look forward to and leave you feeling your best.
2. Prepare for the hard conversations/difficult people
The holidays are typically a time with lots of gatherings with people you may not see on a regular basis or maybe just not even get along with that well. If there is a situation that you know is likely to happen that may be a struggle for you think about how you want to handle that ahead of time and plan for it. Does your crazy uncle always make comments about your weight? Does your grandma always comment about how much/how little you eat or what food you choose to take or pass on? Does your aunt always want to talk about politics or religion with you? Whatever those situations are that you know are likely to make gatherings this season difficult, give how you want to handle that some thought before the event.
It may be that there are boundaries you could set ahead of time that might help these get togethers go more smoothly (I bet there are)! It’s totally ok to let Aunt Sally know before you see her: “hey Aunt Sally, I love seeing you but I would really appreciate it if we could not talk about religion and politics on Thanksgiving. It makes me uncomfortable and we don’t share the same political and religious beliefs”.
3. It’s ok to say no.
Really, I promise it is. Are you seeing mom several weeks in a row and she wants to throw in another get together? You actually don’t have to say yes. While you’re at it maybe that’s a good time to take some self care time as you likely need it if the idea of doing another get together isn’t sounding fun. Is there a gathering coming up this season that you truly dread? Does your family always get in loud arguments after drinking too much on New Year’s Eve for example? It’s ok to say “you know what I (or we) are wanting to start some holiday traditions of our own and are actually going to pass on the New Year’s dinner this year” to your family.
4. Be gentle with yourself!
I’m putting this last but it is actually probably the most important tip of all. Please be gentle with yourself. Did you eat a little too much at Thanksgiving and are feeling sick? It’s ok! (And think about how you are going to really take care of yourself that evening/the next day. Maybe a bath tonight and a leisurely walk with your dog in the morning will do the trick. Maybe going to bed early and eating a light breakfast in the morning is what sounds good to you. Listen to your gut with this). Did you get into a fight with your uncle because he mentioned you had gained a few pounds? It’s ok, we are human we all get triggered sometimes/behave in ways we might not be proud of. How are you going to handle that differently next time? Regardless of what happens during this hectic holiday season, please allow yourself a little grace and kindness. You really do deserve it.
So how do these tips relate to eating mindfully? Well if we are not doing these things, eating mindfully through the holidays is likely going to be a challenge. We are likely to over eat/binge, restrict food, or even just indulge in the treats of the season more then makes us feel our best physically due to the stress we are under. Taking care of our over all well being is a big part of being able to eat in a mindful way!
Questions about mindful eating over the holidays or anything else food/body image related? Feel free to get in touch!