The holidays are a few weeks away, and I am sharing this with you in hope this reaches you before you start your holiday preparations! I know there are stores already decked out and commercials everywhere tempting us all to start spending now!
This might feel overwhelming, but it’s also an opportunity to start focusing on what’s important and really matters to you during the holiday season. Pretty soon, the lure of online sales, Black Friday and tinsel will be seducing you to spend money, along with pressure from friends and family members for your time.
Holiday spending isn’t just about buying gifts, either. We can be tempted with holiday foods, décor, entertainment, sales, parties, our precious time and anything else leading us to make unhealthy decisions not supporting our highest good. Getting into the spirit of the holidays, and doing some of these things, is not a problem or wrong. It’s when we are spending or eating as a way of dealing with our insecurities, vulnerabilities or uncomfortable feelings.
We often spend and buy on impulse, because of obligations or to make sure someone feels loved, or important. We can unconsciously make these decisions to eat or spend, then feel kind of hung-over afterward.
Sometimes, when we have stressful relationships with family members, we may feel obliged to spend holidays with them, we can also feel internal pressure to spend money or time which does not serve us. It’s important to make certain we are not giving ourselves away by spending too much time or money because of the pressure we put on ourselves, the pressure other put on us, or just plain guilt. Make an effort to cut back on your spending, to stay within your budget, as well as cutting back on time spent on things or people that don’t honor your needs.
Before you shop, spend or eat this year
Keep in mind:
- Nothing you buy for yourself or someone else will make you a better person. You are amazing just the way you are!
- Nothing you give will make someone like or love you more.
- Spending more than is financially healthy for you will not make you happier.
- Giving more time than is energetically healthy for you does not serve you or others.
One of the traps of the holidays is unconscious eating and stress eating. It’s important to exercise self-compassion, holding space for yourself—the holidays can make this very difficult for many of us. Unconscious eating and stress eating will not make you feel more festive or better about yourself. Similarly, beating yourself up for unconscious eating is not the answer. Bring love and acceptance to yourself by becoming more conscious of your choices. Eating or spending unconsciously expresses an underlying need for love and comfort. Love yourself, first.
Effective Ways for Shifting Unconscious Stress
- Meditate daily even for 12 minutes.
- Calm your nervous system down so that you can make healthier decisions for yourself.
- Press the pause button. Before you whip out your credit card or eat that cookie, press pause and ask yourself if you will feel good about this decision.
- One way is to check in with your gut reaction. If your stomach clenches or tightens in reaction, it is your gut saying this is not the best decision for you. If you feel joy, then it may be a good decision for you. True joy is not to be confused with a shopping or sugar high. We can feel a sort of temporary joy from shopping or eating that is related to an addictive high. There is a difference. True joy will last and feel good without any guilt. A shopping or sugar high will come with guilt and a physical and emotional hangover.
- Focus on the true meaning of the holidays for you.
- Focus on relationships that bring you joy and spending time with people that are uplifting to you.
- Consciously choose and plan how you want this holiday season will go, so you’re not caught up in the fray of hectic energy that can sweep us away.
- Know your time limits and boundaries. You don’t have to attend everything you are invited to or spend more time than feels good to you. Arrive late, leave early, do what feels right to you.
All of these tips can be helpful in centering you during the holiday season, but if the holidays are too overwhelming for you, or you feel like you need addition support, contact a counselor! We can help!