Ah the holidays, that wonderful time of year when we get together with our families and reminisce over old stories, enjoy leisurely meals together and spend time outdoors taking advantage of the cooler weather for walks in the woods and playing with our grandchildren. But what if your family gatherings don’t quite look like a Norman Rockwell painting? What if you dread the thought of Aunt Edna criticizing your hair, or of watching Uncle George fall asleep at the dining table because he had too much brandy again? What if you are hosting the big family meal and your sister, who promised to help, has another one of her last minute “emergencies” and will only be able to show up in time to eat?
None of us are perfect and we certainly don’t have perfect families so for many, the holidays can be a stressful time. Couple that with the onslaught of holiday party invitations with attractive foods that we know will play havoc with our ability to fit into that beautiful New Years Eve dress, and the holidays can often be a challenge. But fear not, the life coaching tools we have employed successfully during the year to help balance our lives and deal with stress may be called upon to deal with the triggers that arise this time of year. Incorporating Bach Flower Remedies into your holiday plans can also be quite powerful in approaching events with greater ease.
Here are my 5 strategies and Bach Flower Remedies for holiday harmony:
- When tension arises, break the pattern: Our first instinct may be to react and speak back quickly which can further escalate the stress trigger. Instead, stop and breathe. If you have worked with me on the 3 breath meditation this is a perfect time to use it.
- Ease your emotions using Bach Remedies: You often hear me talk about Rescue Remedy (crisis formula), which is a general remedy for stress and something we all need to keep on hand. Elm is helpful in situations where you feel overwhelmed. Olive is useful for feelings of exhaustion. Star of Bethlehem is helpful for sadness, grief and loss which some of us experience over the holidays after a loved one has passed. White Chestnut helps to quiet the mind when you experience persistent worries and repetitive thoughts. Honeysuckle is indicated when you find yourself living in the past or need to let go of the past. This is a great remedy if you find yourself thinking too much about the impact of past events (such as last year’s holiday party perhaps?). Mimulus works well for everyday fears and worries. Cherry Plum is helpful when you are feeling out of control or you are afraid of losing control. This is great to use when your mother-in-law tries to take over! Crab Apple can help with poor body image as well as with releasing feelings of toxicity from people, events and situations. Clearly there are many remedies which can be useful and if you aren’t sure which combination would be most helpful for you then please come and see me.
- Eat consciously: As difficult as this is to do over the holidays when tempted with delicious baked goods, it’s really possible if you plan ahead. Limit simple sugars and processed flour products and increase veggies and whole foods. Plan and cook meals ahead of time so you won’t be tempted to grab something unhealthy on the run. Eat a healthy snack before going to a party so you aren’t ravenously hungry when you get there and risk overindulging at the buffet. And when you do eat at a party remember to look at your food and then slowly savor each bite rather than eating mindlessly. You will find yourself eating less. How our bodies feel directly impacts our emotions so do take care.
- Spend quality time with treasured friends or loved ones: The holidays really can be special so do slow down and be fully present. Now is the time to limit cell phone use, texting and phone calls while with the people you care about. Work will always be there but these wonderful people won’t, so take the time to enjoy them.
- Exercise regularly, in nature if possible: Find an exercise routine that lifts your spirits, especially this time of year. Daily walks in cooler weather, stretching in the morning now that we have changed our clocks and see the sun earlier, or taking a bike ride with friends can be a wonderful way to keep our bodies active and healthy.
The holidays can be a stressful time but if we approach them with the right mindset, using our stress management tools, they really can be our most enjoyable time of year.