How I Overcame the Holiday Humbug In 7 Steps

image source: we heart it

I have a long history of hating the holidays. All of them, but especially the ones the last six weeks of the year.

Yes, even as a kid.

Maybe it was the high expectations for fun or the knowing one side of your family was disappointed because you were with the other or the shuttling from place to place to place…

In any case,  the holidays used to fill me with dread and a heavier dose of SAD than the average gal.

That is until recently.

Three years ago, I signed up for a Yoga for Holiday Stress workshop at It’s All Yoga with my good friend, Madeleine. I thought if nothing else, I will have a nice day of yoga with one of my favorite teachers, but what I ended up with was nothing short of revolutionary.

The best take away from Madeleine’s workshop: if the holidays get you down, find new traditions that make your heart sing.

New Holiday Traditions Maybe You’d Like to Try:

1.    Take a yearly workshop in December – mine is yoga, but maybe yours is cooking, crafting or reading. Do something fun for yourself either with a friend or on your own. You may even make new friends there.

When will you find the time in an already stuffed full calendar you ask? I started saying no to things that weren’t working for me any longer (or never had and I had been doing them because of tradition or other people’s expectations). Once I started saying no, I was able to find time to do activities that made me happy.

Was it uncomfortable at first? Oh, yes! Disappointing people isn’t my strong suit, however, the trade off ended up being worth it.

2.   Listen to holiday music that doesn’t make you cringe – mine is the Do They Know It’s Christmas (best.song.ever) station on Pandora. They played lots of Wham’s Last Christmas and Bruce Springsteen and Bing Crosby and Elvis. Even the Waitresses made the cut. Now when little Ruby hears Christmas music she pumps her little fist in the air and dances along.

As cute as you might expect.

3.   Make a different kind of tree each year – seems like a lot of work I know, but knowing my little monkey will climb anything and every thing the idea of putting a tree in my house just seemed completely nuts. Plus I’m less into the 3D tree than most. Don’t get me wrong, I like looking at them a lot – in public places and at your house…. kinda like how I love other people’s dogs.

4.   Saying no to shoppingwhat???? I know. But hear me out.We have a really small house and we’re trying to keep the clutter monster from eating us alive, so not bringing more gear into the house ourselves helps toward that end.

The Hubs and the Girl’s birthdays are in December so those two are presented up right before Christmas. We usually make a present of some sort of the grandparents (which requires us to get our act together way before December) and we decided years ago to forgo presents for each other so we can have less stress and get better birthday gifts. We see it as a win, win. Plus our girl is tiny right now and doesn’t really get the present thing, so…. we’ll check in later on this business. But just know, for now, it totally works for us.

5.      Saying yes to experiences – the zoo on Christmas Eve morning, White Christmas on the big screen, walking around midtown looking at Christmas lights. I’m hoping to add seeing the Nutcracker and ice skating once little girl is a bigger girl. I figure we are saving lots of time cutting out baking, shopping, and wrapping, so we might as well have fun.

6.     Healthy eating and walking daily – this one is new this year and I feel so much better because of it. Every morning this month I’ve been drinking warm lemon water as soon as I get up (before !) and drinking either a green smoothie or vegetable soup to start the day with lots of vitamins and fiber. What a huge difference this has made! I don’t know about you, but when I start my day in a healthful/intentional way, that’s usually how my day goes. I think I’ll keep it up after the holidays.

7.    Stay mindful. Or at least keep coming back to the moment. This is a good practice all year long. Most moments are pretty darn good, if I’m leaving the past and future where they belong. A mindful practice can look like a formal meditation sit, but usually looks more like a nature walk in the early morning or washing dishes for the thousandth time.

Tell me about the holiday traditions and winter activities that you love. I’m always interested in adding new fun winter activities to our calendar.

Letting Go of What Used to Be and Embracing What Is

Today I have plagued with a touch of sadness of what used to be. I’d get up, get ready, go to work and come home and do whatever I felt like doing. Sometimes going to yoga, sometimes watching TV and sometimes talking for hours on the phone with girlfriends in other cities.

I’d also work on school projects and connect with other teachers about lessons for my class and respond to emails from families.

Connecting with others through blogging and social media online and in person were some of my favorite things to do. Who doesn’t love a long lunch or an extended happy hour?

The only thing controlling my time and how I spent it was me.

Even my husband didn’t make a lot of demands on my time. We somehow fell into a comfortable flow of me time, them time and our time over the course of our decade and a half long relationship.

Fast forward a month + into parenthood and it’s dawning on me that I’m not the one in charge anymore. In order for me to meet the needs of my family I need to simply be available to them when they need me. And for now, they need me most of the time.

While I am no longer able to be spontaneous and available to others, I am answering the call of a little dependent person. Something I’ve never done before.

I feel like I am disappointing others because things are not what they used to be and I’m sad to have to let go of my identity of always reliable go-to friend and feel a bit disappointed in myself for not being able to have things like they were.

And yet, really happy to have my new role as mama.

For now  – I am increasing my tolerance for other people’s disappointment. {The words of my lovely friend Michelle from Love Wasting Time}

So I am trying to let go of what used to be and embracing what is and trying not to contribute to my own suffering for wanting things to be any different than what they are.

I am hoping this isn’t sounding like a whiny rant or a plea for sympathy, I am just noticing a huge, yet subtle change in my life and thought I would share.

How do you embrace change in your life?

How did you transition into your role as a parent?

Saturday Senses

tasting :: nothing

hearing :: your current adoption wait time: 2-3 more YEARS. {unless we switch to another country}

smelling :: nothing

seeing :: through a lot of tears.

feeling :: gutted, but well-loved and supported. super delicate and very much in need of a soft touch.

wishing/hoping :: for some time and space to just be sad. some clarity on what we will do. kindness to self and from others.

What about you?

What are your senses this Saturday?

Looking back, how was your week?

Leave a comment and tell me all about it. I’d seriously love to hear about someone’s week that didn’t totally suck. If your week sucked, tell me about it anyway. I’d love to have some company.

This weekly tradition inspired by Pink of Perfection’s Five Sense Friday.

Don’t forget to click the links!

Saturday Senses

tasting :: good karma sampler from andy nguyen’s

hearing :: “you have been referred to the allergy department”

smelling :: laundry fresh from the dryer

seeing :: my new fully restorative yoga class on the schedule!

feeling :: a lot better (health-wise) since I stopped eating dairy again this week. weirdly sad thinking i may have to learn to live without it.

wishing/hoping :: for a restful weekend – short work weeks seem to work against me. go figure.

What about you?

What are your senses this Saturday?

Looking back, how was your week?

Leave a comment and tell me all about it.

This weekly tradition inspired by Pink of Perfection’s Five Sense Friday.

Don’t forget to click the links!

Saturday Senses

Saturday Senses is a way to capture the spirit of each week.



{via}

tasting :: hot chocolate and toast with creamed honey.

hearing :: excitement about student blogging.

smelling :: lavender essential oil at bedtime

seeing :: a community forming

feeling :: delicate – news about another has old feelings resurfacing.

wishing/hoping :: for everyone to feel loved and connected to another.

What about you?

What are your senses this Saturday?

Looking back, how was your week?

This weekly tradition inspired by Pink of Perfection’s Five Sense Friday.

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Curious about #Reverb10?

Saturday Senses

Saturday Senses is a way to capture the spirit of each week.  

  

     

  

tasting ::  fig and goat cheese sandwiches from magpie and thai iced tea from temple.

hearing ::  a love-letter mix cd of canadian folk courtesy of alicia from spirit house designs.

smelling ::  sun-dried laundry from the line.

seeing ::   the first published photos of havi’s playground taken by the super talented elizabeth {of postcards from heaven fame}

feeling ::  decidedly down since wednesday afternoon. it’s not just the transition from summer break back to work. it’s related to my month metaphor and i don’t like it. not one bit.

also not to like one bit? i have, at the least sprained my calf muscle, at most torn it. i find out the extent of the damage monday morning. until then, i’m in bed resting.

wishing/hoping ::  for ease and patience with the transition back to work in the upcoming weeks and for the least amount of damage to my body.

What are your senses this Saturday?  Looking back, how was your week?    

Leave me a comment to tell me made your week memorable.    

This weekly tradition was inspired by Pink of Perfection’s Five Sense Friday

{click image for source}

Saturday Senses

Saturday Senses is a way to capture the spirit of each week.  

   

Sad Panda: Ian

 

tasting ::  bourbon and ginger ale {summer break is a beautiful thing} 

hearing :: old favorite records road trip sing-a-long style {what are your favorite sing-a-long albums?} 

smelling :: burt’s bees naturally nourishing milk and honey body lotion 

seeing :: dear friends from junior high and high school. {el sob #1} 

feeling :: a bit melancholy. I miss Matt and Ian has been really needy this week. Poor kitty.  

  

What are your senses this Saturday?  Looking back, how was your week?  

Leave me a comment to tell me made your week memorable.  

This weekly tradition was inspired by Pink of Perfection’s Five Sense Friday.

NEEDED: Monthly Metaphor

What can I say?

I feel like I’m losing my marbles.

(And I’ve got a bonus flu/cold right now, so I’m pretty much a complete mess. Although admittedly after a few days being sick, on the mend).

Seriously though.

I’m crazy.

Not all the time, just a few days a month.

Cranky, irritable, prone to nitpicking, overly critical (as opposed to just regular critical), weepy, mad.

Mad?

Yes, mad.

Both angry and completely loony.

A few days a month, it’s like I suddenly find myself in a DUNGEON.

In the dark.

Alone.

In pain.

Sad.

Mrs. Mean Jeans complaining about the lack of light, the snugness of her trousers, and anything that comes out of anyone else’s mouth.

And the Judges…. the poor Judges… in the DUNGEON taking note about how NOT PERFECT anything or anyone is at the moment….

 When I’m not spending the dark days in the DUNGEON,

I feel great:

Healthy

Happy

Balanced

All that wacky self-care really pays off.

Except when it doesn’t.

During a particularly helpful (yet almost hysterical) phone call with a dear friend this morning, she suggested creating a metaphor for this time of the month.

EYE ROLL…

Not for the metaphor part, but for the words- “time of the month”…. ugh.

Hence THE DUNGEON.

Here’s what I want:

A new metaphor.

I’m in search of a kind, friendly, loving metaphor.

Must make me feel loved, not alone, cared for, supported and not crazy.

The new metaphor may invoke a feeling of:

  • Lightheartedness
  • Non-judgmental witnessing
  • Compassion
  • Kindness
  • Tenderness
  • Understanding
  • Love
  • Restfulness + Renewal
  • Renaissance
  • Beauty in the cycles of the world

The new metaphor must NOT make me cringe by being cliché or patronizing -

 Aunt Flow?

The Curse?

 The Monthly Bill Due?

You may just find yourself in the DUNGEON.

Good friends to have.

Yesterday we got some disappointing news. Our adoption wait is going to take longer than we first thought. Current circumstances are pushing our wait to the longer 24+ month wait, rather than the optimistic 18-24 month wait. Not the end of the world, but disappointing nonetheless.

It didn’t really sink in until this morning how sad I am about it.

I have been operating on the optimist time frame. I had it in my head that by next school year we’ve have our kiddo at home and instead of trying to teach everyone else’s kids how to read, I’d be home learning how to be a parent.

Not so.

I’m not sure exactly at what moment my disappointment set in, but when the tears started, I wasn’t sure they were going to stop. By the time I reached the school parking lot, I had it pulled together. I figured I’d just muscle through and then come home and continue to be sad.

I slipped through the office unnoticed and made it halfway to my classroom when I encountered some of my colleagues talking to one of my former parents in the hallway. They all greeted me with a warm good morning and my eyes immediately welled up again.

Next thing I knew, I was enveloped in a great big mama teacher hug crying like a baby. Big hugs and kind words followed. I explained what had happened and one reminded me what I already knew… that “our” kid isn’t ready for us yet and when he or she is ready for us, we’ll be there.

Their kindness helped me put our situation in perspective. So it’s going to take a bit longer than we thought, but when it happens it’ll be right.

So thank you dear friends for your support and love.

We are all alone in this world/from cradle to grave/and maybe after that. – Rhett Miller (Like Love)

A boy in my class keeps crying.  His shoulders shake, his nose runs, big wet tears fall on his desk. The other kids try not to notice. It’s quite a spectacle. He keeps telling me he misses his mom and wants to go home. I keep handing him tissues and saying that we’re just going to keep on working. Eventually the sobs subside and he resumes being a seven-year old boy vaguely interested in what we’re doing for a while and then he forgets he’s sad and he’s right in the fray. 

At recess today, he took himself to the office. He found someone to talk to. She brought him back to class and told me his family is having a hard time. I promised I’d take good care of him and after some more tears, he got back to work and forgot he was sad again.

 At the last recess I caught up with him and asked him what’s going on. He said his parents have been fighting and that his dad is going to move out. He also said that his dad has a car this time, so it’ll be better than last time. We sat down on the picnic benches in the semi-shade and chatted a bit more.

 I wondered aloud why he kept saying he missed his mom when it was his dad that was moving out. He told me it’s because he worries about her. My eyes teared up for a second. I asked him if he was the oldest kid in the family because I assumed he was taking it all in because he was the oldest. He reminded me that I had already met one of his older sisters and he went on to complain about how his older sisters were mean to him and his little brother.

 Right before he hopped up to play I reminded him we were going to have another chapter in the read aloud – Stone Fox. He just smiled and ran away.

{click image for source}

{for more rhett miller – click here}