Feel Good this Holiday Season: Tips with a Twist

Nov 16, 2023

The Holidays are HERE!

It is the season where everything here on the internet is about holiday gift guides and holiday diets.  All the advice about how not to gain weight and where to spend your money this holiday season.  While I love a good health hack and I am absolutely checking out gift guides on the daily I also realize that maybe we need a little something different.  I hope you find a little tidbit here today that inspires you.  That is simple enough to add to your holiday season.  That most importantly aids in you FEELING GOOD this season.

For me…holidays mean CELEBRATION!  If you have been around awhile or know me personally then you know that one of my core values is CELEBRATION.  I believe life is precious, life can be short and every single day holds some reason to celebrate something, big or small.  So let me lead with Celebration here and offer some tips with a twist to FEEL good this holiday season.

C – Connect to Self

What?  How?  These are the questions I get asked the most.  In a world that is moving SO fast and there are SO many others to look after, take care of and think about it is often easy to lose our deep connection to ourselves.  We get caught up.  That’s valid, that’s real and I have been there.  I have been the first to let the self care go in a busy season but I KNOW that is not helpful for me, for anyone.  When we lose our connection, we stop listening to our bodies.  This leads to lowered immune system, increased stress and illness.  Anyone else ever spent the holidays or right after down and out sick?  My hand is raised.

Stop.  Take a Minute.  Put your hand on your heart.  Take a big deep breath.  Close your eyes and ask yourself what do you need right now, in this moment.
Listen.  This may take a few minutes, give yourself the space and allow yourself to really answer.  A nap, a snack, a dance party, a walk, a shower, a list, a hug, a good cry…do you need to do some yoga, meditate, journal, go for a run, call a friend…

The quickest way I know how to connect to myself is to feel my own heart beat.  Allow myself a minute or two to tune into that heartbeat.  Ask myself what I really need and simply listen.  Then and this is the key…Take the dang action.  Do the thing you need to do.  Trust your body, your heart, your guidance and give yourself whatever it is you need.

E – Expect to be Derailed

Listen the holidays are BUSY and full of fun and parties and people and activities that are out of the normal routine and rhythm.  Know that and expect to be derailed.  Sometimes we expect to stay the course, keep up the normal routine with sleep and eating and self care.  Then we get disappointed and FEEL gross when that plan gets derailed.  I adore rhythms and routines, I thrive off of them.  I also adore ALL the extras that the holiday season offers so… I plan for it.

I adjust my expectations and I plan to get derailed sometimes. Oh did you catch that…let me say it again.  SOMETIMES.  See, the holidays do not have to be all or nothing.  But sometimes they may derail you, sometimes that is where the fun and magic live.  Let them.  Let them derail you…sometimes and enjoy every minute!  Then get back to your rhythm and routine.  No harm done.

L – Learn from the Past

Holiday stress can take its toll. I used to find myself wondering why at the end of the holiday season every year I would feel exhausted, sick and just yucky in my body.  Even after I planned and executed all the things.  I loved the holidays but they didn’t seem to love me back.  Guess what…I was doing the same hustle and bustle and run around every single year and hoping for a different result at the end of it all…Hmmmm I believe that is the actual definition of insanity.  I wasn’t taking the time to reflect and learn.  Honestly I was too tired and often too ill and grasping any “New Year New You” idea to get myself back to feeling good.  Bogus.

Even the magic making and the sweet moments with family and friends and the fun of gift giving can be stressful.  Added to the fact that sleep is off, nutrition is wacky and self care is non existent.  Before jumping into the holidays this year reflect on years past.  Ask yourself this, what felt good?  What was life giving?  What left you feeling depleted?  What was life draining? What was missing?  Write it all down.  Look at that list and make some changes.  Start small, minor tweaks can make a huge difference.

Maybe you cut out one holiday party.  Maybe you stick to one healthy foundational meal every single day that makes you feel good.  Maybe you end everyday with a hot shower or a hot bath during this season.  Maybe you set your phone alarm for an early bedtime every single night you are able.  Maybe you say No Thank You to something this year.  Maybe you ask for some help with shopping, cooking or daily tasks.  Maybe you hire out something just for a month or two.  Maybe you don’t schedule any non urgent appointments or meetings until January.  Maybe you schedule time everyday to move your body and make it your most important meeting of the day until the holidays are over.

E – Explore new Options

They are loads of ways to do the same thing.  There is no one right way to celebrate the holiday season.  Do not let the internet tell you any different!  Annual traditions are beautiful and magical and amazing until they just aren’t anymore.  When “tradition” begins to feel like obligation it may be time to explore new options.  Many of us get caught up in the ONE way to do the holidays for the sake of tradition, myself included.  I love a good holiday tradition and I found myself holding tightly to every single one when my parents passed away.  I wanted the holidays to be the same…spoiler alert, they will never be the same.

But, they can FEEL the same.  They can still honor the memories AND be completely different.  Loosen the grip on the old traditions and see what else may spark delight and magic.  Maybe you switch up gift giving…draw names and create a secret Santa event, choose homemade gifts, plan an experience with your family instead of giving gifts.  Maybe you rethink the holiday meal…have a fancy holiday dinner instead of brunch or vise versa, eat Christmas cookies for breakfast around the tree Christmas morning, appetizers only instead of the big spread, have dinner themed around your favorite holiday movie.  We love the movie ELF… have you ever tried spaghetti and maple syrup?  Just an idea.

B – Be KIND

Be kind to every single person you come into contact with.  Remember there are personal struggles and/or battles out there that you know absolutely nothing about.  Remember there is so much happening in the world right now, grief, sadness, anger.  Lead with love this holiday season.

Smile at a grumpy stranger.  Pay for someones coffee.  Donate a toy to a toy drive or food to the food bank.  Volunteer in your community.  Offer hugs freely and widely.  Cheer on a child in their holiday performance.  Be patient in the long lines at the grocery store.  Let someone go ahead of you in line or in traffic.  Open the door for someone.  Look humans in the eyes, acknowledge their presence.

Be kind to yourself too.  Feed yourself well.  Smile at yourself in the mirror every morning.  Drink your water.  Move your body.  Get some rest.  Give yourself a treat.  Take yourself on a date.  Take good good care of yourself. You are more than enough.  You are worthy and valuable.  You are loved.

R – Release

Perfectionism can bite us big time this time time of year.  The perfect gift.  The perfect family photo for the perfect holiday card.  The perfect meal.  The perfect cookies.  The perfect decorations.  The perfect holiday party.  The perfect holiday outfit.  The perfect holiday home.   he perfect hostess.  The perfect holiday magic.  Thank you Pinterest, social media, and the internet in general these days.

Enough.  Enough.  Enough.  Release yourself from the idea of perfection.  Recognize that is does not exist.  Release yourself from the pressure of it all.  Instead try this, simply show up and be present.  Have fun making the meal, buying the gift, decorating the cookies, hosting the party with the people you love the most!  No one cares about how perfect it is…Instagram will be ok if you don’t post the perfect photo.  In fact how refreshing would it be if we all got a little more real and present in our holiday lives and really enjoyed with our actual eyes and our whole bodies and hearts?  Put the phone down.  Let that memory live in your heart.  Doesn’t that FEEL good?

A – Acknowledge

Can we all just take a minute here and acknowledge that we are in fact human.  Acknowledge that we are not machines.  Acknowledge that not all family gatherings are fun and filled with love.  Acknowledge that we are all different and have different values and beliefs.  Acknowledge that some of us have experienced huge loss and are alone during the holidays.  Acknowledge that you may be struggling. Acknowledge that whatever feelings you may have surrounding the holidays are valid.  Acknowledge and then please honor where you are. That’s it.  Acknowledge and Honor.

T – Take a Break

Ahhhh I wish!  Easier said than done!  Is that what you are thinking as you read that?  I get it.  The holidays are full.  They seem to speed by faster and faster every year, my December calendar is already busting at the seams.  But guess what my December calendar while bursting has scheduled breaks.  White space blocked out where nothing gets added.  I schedule them like any other event because those breaks matter just as much, maybe even more.

They allow me to re-group, to rest, to re-evaluate, to take the time to take care of me and most importantly to think.  My mind likes to swirl and spiral especially this time of year.  The fact is it’s just busy no matter what you try or how you look at it.  The end of the year in work and business is nuts.  School schedules with kids are beyond full.  The social engagements ramp up.  There is so much to do, so much to think about.  It is a lot and it will all take over if you let it.  Schedule in the white space for yourself, your kids and your family and take a break like your life depends on it because it does.

E – ENJOY

Oh my friends, I LOVE the holidays.  I love them even more now that I practice all the things I have mentioned here.  There is nothing better than looking back at the end of it all when you feel like you just got dumped off a spinning upside down roller coaster ride and you FEEL so good.  When you can start January and the new year with your cup full instead of empty, depleted and run over.  When you can think of the holiday season and smile instead of roll your eyes and want to burn it all down.  When you are not laid out on the couch worn out and sick.

If nothing else I hope you can embrace this one last thing, savor any and every little bit of JOY you come across.  Eat the cookies, drink the egg nog, dance at the party, put up so many sparkly lights your neighbors need shades, watch every hallmark movie, laugh with your people until you cry, take a nap, cry if you need to, love everyone but mostly love yourself and CELEBRATE the season.  Cheers!

Until next time friends. I cherish you and I am celebrating you.

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Melissa Garcia is the founder of Roots to Wings Collective, a 300-hour certified yoga teacher, and an eternal optimist. Melissa holds space for connection, creativity, and celebration, through movement, meditation, energy work, and intentional rituals. She believes in magic and that there is no such thing as too much glitter!

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