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 shopping – what???? 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.