Let's get straight to the point. The holidays can be an emotional time for many of us. Each year I think to myself: Jennie. You've made some much progress this year in feeling the way you want to feel! You are more aware of your emotions, you are managing your stress and you aren't as reactive as you've been in the past. You're going to be fine at Christmas. You've got this.
Inevitably something minor and rather silly takes place, like someone making a joke about my vegetarian diet or my choices around alternative healing. Or I tease someone and they are offended, launching me into a defensive outburst worthy of a team sport.
Last year I made a list of how I was going to take more responsibility in managing my emotions and reactions around the holidays. You can read that post here.
Here are a few suggestions that I will invest in to help keep me to be my best Self:
Morning practice (sadhana) My morning practice is varied and can include everything from dance, yoga, writing, tea and meditation. This time of day is pretty sacred. I love the quiet and the quality of the light. I love how the world still seems asleep and the whole day lies ahead. I love how I feel during this time of day, because it's the time of day when I know that for 10-60 minutes I will feel like my best Self. Making and taking time and space for my sadhana practice is a priority for me. When I practice in the morning I feel more ease, more softness, more creative, more generous, more intuitive and more motivated. This one is a non-negotiable for me.
Easing off on the booze I recently chose to stop drinking for a month to explore what the experience would be like. In general, I'm sleeping better, am more patient, less angry, have way more clarity, have more energy and feel lighter both energetically and physically. One of the big things I've noticed is that I'm far less emotional. I'm less reactive to situations or comments and am quicker at noticing the negative self talk that creeps up. I feel more even keeled, grounded and at ease. I am easily triggered over the holidays and can get very defensive. My hope is that if I'm more aware of how much I'm drinking, that I will be able to take a moment before speaking or reacting and checking in on whether what I'm about to say is kind and/or necessary.
Time outside My dog and I walk everyday, sometimes a few times a day. Being outside with her is some of the best therapy available. The fresh air, moving my body and seeing her enjoying herself bring me a great deal of pleasure. Committing to taking time each day to get out for an hour or two is vital to my brain health and physical health. And ultimately, that's in everyone's best interest.
Taking time for myself I tend to get FOMO when I'm with my family. In part I feel like we should be doing everything together, and the other part is that I just really like these people. They are funny and generous and tell good stories. (We are never short on stories). All of that time together can be a lot, and I recharge best when I can take some alone time. Whether it's reading, napping, walking or writing, I know that choosing to spend some time alone will ultimately make time together easier for the people I love.
I'm curious to know what you do during the holidays to ensure that you are able to be your best Self? Are there some practices that are tried and true? If so, I would love to hear a few of your favourites.