Angela and I

Angela and I

Friday, December 1, 2017

Everything's different, nothing has changed...

Every year I try to make some sort of post about the holidays, because I know how hard it can be to go to parties, see loved ones, and come home.  No matter who you are, the holiday season can be stressful.  There's an expectation of happiness and cheer and more often than not, it doesn't play out the way we want.  The holidays can be especially hard if you are struggling with food or body issues, and for me, December used to be my worst month.  For 5+ years, this time of year terrified me.  There are still some deeply ingrained, visceral moments of panic that I experience, even to this day, but luckily I am able to deal with them and realize they are irrational.  But it wasn't always that easy!!  

Having this perspective on the holiday season has been interesting to say the least.  Even before I was technically sick, this time of year was hard for me.  I lost my father when I was 12, and every Christmas after that was super tough.  My dad was such a big part of Christmas for me - dragging him out of his bed on Christmas morning, watching him intently as he opened his gift from me, staying in our PJ's all day.  Without him, nothing seemed right.  I would cry when I decorated the house because I knew no matter how hard I tried to perfectly place every ornament on the tree, nothing would be the same.  

I think that's a thing a lot of us suffer from this time of year - the high expectation and the rose colored memories of holidays past.  I know I always will.  That's a tough thing to let go of, and I think a lot of times that feeling bleeds over into how we treat ourselves and our bodies during this time of year.   So here are some more tips to get through this crazy time.  I know how hard it is.  

1. Traditions are cool, but they're not the most important part of the holiday.  As someone who literally has a disorder that makes me need to do things or else I'll have panic attacks (it's called OCD and it's somethin' else, people) I understand that this can be incredibly difficult to comprehend.  But, if you have to forgo some part of your holiday routine, you'll live.  Maybe you don't have the money to travel this year, or you don't have the time to bake cookies.  And that's okay!  Be kind to yourself.  It's a stressful time of year, and we can only do so much. 

2. Find a new thing to be excited for THIS year.  It might be Hanson's new Christmas CD or it might be new friends to celebrate with.  OR it might be a Christmas card exchange.  Travelling to a new place.  Decorating the house a different way.  It can be little or big, just so long as it brings you happiness.  Nothing will ever be the same as it was, because that is how life and time works.  So instead of bending over backwards to recreate a holiday that probably wasn't that perfect anyway, put your energy into finding new ways to cultivate joy. 

3. You DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE UP (or feel bad) FOR WHAT YOU ATE. I know I've given this tip before but it astounds me how every year I'll make some kind of post about this very thing, literally HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE will like/love/comment, and then those very same people are the ones making their own posts about feeling guilty about the cookies/drinks/whatever.  Food. and. guilt. don't. belong. in. the. same. sentence.  I don't care what you ate yesterday.  I DON'T CARE.  You're still a good person with good intentions and you're still my friend.  It's not a hard concept to grasp.  Look society in the face and put the cookie in your mouth and realize that you don't have to feel BAD ABOUT IT, JEEZ.  

4. If you need to take a break, that is okay!  If you're overwhelmed by everything going on, or your family is driving you crazy, or you're behind on shopping and feeling panicked, or you just feel bad thoughts creeping in, take a breather.  Use those healthy coping skills I suggested you develop and carve out an hour (just an hour!  you can still get everything done, I promise!)  to do some stretches, or work on your crocheting, or color in your adult coloring book, or play your ukulele.  

5. Share those beautiful gifts. Again, this is a repeat, but I think it's worth repeating.  Pick the thing the universe has given you that has nothing to do with your body or how you look or how much space you take up.  And it doesn't have to be some incredible talent, it can just be the fact that you can make people smile, or make someone feel good about themselves, or that you're a good listener.  Those are all amazing gifts.  You don't need to recreate anything that has happened before.  This moment is all we have, so use this moment to share your incredible capabilities with the world around you.  

I hope everyone has an amazing month!!  Be kind to yourselves, and one cares if you eat the cookie. 

Literally.  Not one single person.
I love you.

Peace, Love, and Rock n' Roll til New Years Night,

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