It’s Christmakwanzahanukah Time Again

1 Dec

stack of giftsHappy December 1st everyone!

Please sing the following to the tune of Deck the Halls.

Tis the season so be stressed out, falling short of expectations
Crazy relatives at your party, acting insane to get a reaction
Wearing clothes we feel so fat in, why do I always eat so much food
Crying children who’ve skipped their napping, everyone pretending they’re in a good mood

Has anyone else had a holiday season like this? In my younger years, I endured more than a few stressful holidays that included physical altercations and some pretty impressive shouting matches. I don’t recommend them. I much prefer sitting in my living room on Christmas Eve with only the lights of the Christmas tree and some soft music. I know that may seem like a fantasy to some, but I know it’s possible because I’ve done it.

The first and most important thing to do to have a great holiday season is to take care of you. I know this can be difficult in this season of giving, but it is essential to do that to walk through the valley of the holidays and keep your sanity. Taking care of yourself is simple but not always easy. Focus on eating as healthy as you can when you have control of the menu. Sneak as many healthy foods into your diet and your children’s diet as you can. That can include shredding carrots, mushrooms and/or zucchini into meatloaf, meatballs or spaghetti sauce. You can puree spinach and add it to these types of recipes too. I guarantee, even if your family is not fond of these veggies, they won’t even know they’re there. Offer salads and veggie soup. You can make up a large batch over the weekend or during the week in a crock pot. Save or freeze the leftovers for a night you don’t feel like cooking and you can just warm it up. By eating healthy when you can, the few days and nights when you partake of party food won’t be as devastating to your hips or your scale. See if you can go this entire month without visiting the drive through. Your wallet and your waist line will thank you.

Water and sleep are just as important. Dehydration and tiredness are huge contributors to so many negative behaviors during the holidays. Both contribute to irritability, irregularity, weight gain and impaired immunity. If you’re a night owl like me, you may need someone to urge or, in my case, flat out tell you to go to bed on time. To help with that, I’ve set an alarm on my phone to remind me to turn off the TV, which helps me move toward getting ready for bed. This month, I also intend to turn off all electronics at 9pm, which should really help with that process. If not, I have my back up system, better known as my loving husband, to tell me to get to it. By turning off everything at 9pm, little ones will sleep in a quieter and more restful home, and adults and older children can wind down earlier and attend to evening chores before David Letterman and a much too late trip to dreamland.

Besides taking care of your physical needs, you also need to make time and space to take care of your mental and emotional needs. All of the physical stuff helps, but if you are running on empty physically and emotionally, you will be no good to anyone. For this, I challenge you to spend at least five minutes, preferably when you first wake up, but definitely before you head out for the day, in quiet prayer or meditation. That doesn’t mean planning your day. It means sitting quietly and just breathing and being still. If it helps, count with your breathing, four counts in and eight counts out. If you would rather use words, try using the words “I am”. Breathe in on “I” and out on “am”. If you’re really adventuresome, try breathing in on the words “I love” and out on the words “myself”. Whatever you choose, invest those 5 minutes in your own sanity and I assure you that you’ll walk differently through your day. Don’t think you have time for this? Do it between your snooze alarms. If you’re going to bed on time, you’ll be awake enough to breathe consciously instead of slapping your snooze unconsciously. By the end of the month, you might even enjoy the time and invest more than five minutes.

Will doing these things ensure that you’ll have a perfect holiday season? Of course not, but I promise you they can make a positive difference. As I said, they’re simple but not always easy. Then there’s the cards and the gifts and the relatives and the parties and, and, and … But those are subjects for another day. Just this weekend, give yourself the gift of taking excellent care of you. You deserve it. You’re worth it, and it will change how you see the world. I care so much about all of you and know that some of you are over givers like me, which leaves you in a heck of a mess after the holidays. This year, let’s band together and have the best holiday season ever. Let’s go into 2013 feeling better than we ever have, assuming, of course, that the Mayans just got tired and the prognosticators of doom are wrong. Maybe we can all join together on Christmas Eve after the children are in bed and the teenagers are still out and about and enjoy a quiet moment with a cup of cheer and twinkling lights and music. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, you can light some candles and join me playing whatever kind of music you like, but for me it will be Christmas carols and thinking about my blessings, which include all of you, so Fa la la la la la la la la! Thanks for being you and have a great day!


One Response to “It’s Christmakwanzahanukah Time Again”


  1. It’s Christmakwanzahanukah Time Again « karenbemmes - December 1, 2012

    […] It’s Christmakwanzahanukah Time Again. […]

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