If you’re lucky enough to have a holiday break this year, the question is, will it actually feel like a break? Or will it feel like day after day of frustrating family time and telling yourself ‘tomorrow I’ll get back to my healthy routine’?
SHOULD YOU KEEP READING?
If your holidays never crack up to be as relaxing and rejuvenating as you want them to be, welcome, fellow friend, welcome.
Holiday stress and the brain
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”… but is it the happiest?
In fact, not only do the holidays (i.e. Christmas & New Years) bring on more stress, one study actually found there is an increase in heart attacks!
Some of the stress-inducing reasons include:
1. ⏰ Deadlines – work pushes you to the limit while you fret over that special gift that needed to be ordered weeks ago (hello expensive express fees)
2. 🥳 Party after party – packed schedules including a surprise dinner that your partner forgot to tell you about and your kids 8th swim date with their bestie.
3. 😳 Expectations – are you someone who wants everything perfect? From cooking to present wrapping and looking for the gift that says “I went out of my way to get you this” – we set bars so high that even birds can’t fly over it.
4. 👨👩👧👦 Frustrating family – you avoid them all year, the ones that say ‘why haven’t you called me’ as soon as they walk in the door, or say inappropriate things during meals.
5. 💸 Money, money and mo’ money flying out the door. What happened to your budget? Every single ‘I’ll just get this last little thing’ ends up amounting to a sum that could pay for Chris Hemsworth to be your pool boy.
So – let’s make things a little bit easier with these tips for a more chill-tastic holiday, shall we?
5 Mindset Tips for a Merrier Holiday
#1 – Overeating
Each buffet is such a conundrum – the battle between ‘eat in moderation’ and ‘YOLO’. And even if you start with good intensions, it’s really hard to stop!
A landmark study back in 1975 (now called “the milkshake study“) called this the “what the hell effect”. Similar to the theory of sunk cost in economics, it’s essentially saying to yourself ‘go big or go home’.
While there are many steps to combatting this, the first is knowing that when you are considering that next portion, the chemicals in your brain (namely cortisol and dopamine) are at their peak making you believe that YOU ARE LOSING OUT IF YOU DON’T EAT IT ALL NOW.
The best way to combat this is through physiology – delay and distract yourself so that these peaking brain chemicals come back to baseline (like helping with the dishes). This is exactly what I use if I’m in a shoe store and my brain is telling me to get yet another pair of nude shoes (I do not need a 12th pair). So I leave and distract myself and eventually, common sense returns.
#2 – Sleepless Holiday
Do not underestimate the power of an extra 30 minutes of sleep. During sleep your body naturally reduces stress hormones (like cortisol) which helps you stay calmer and react less to negative situations during the day. Sleep also acts like a filter (kind of like a fish tank filter) to clean out toxic proteins (beta-amyloids) that build up during the day.
#3 – Emotion Checks
Self-awareness is a key aspect of self-respect (which by the way, you can measure yours here). If deep inside you are fantasying about letting it rip with a double middle finger towards someone who is pushing you to the edge, first do my squeeze and release technique:
1. Take a deep breath and squeeze your fists as tight as you can then
2. Exhale while relaxing them.
While this won’t magically make that annoying person an angel, it will allow your brain to think more objectively and ask the question – what outcome do I really want here?
#4 – Celebrate the Small Wins
Expectations to keep to your ‘normal’ exercise routine is not a bet that I would make. That’s why I take a glass half full approach.
Did I walk the pups? Yes. Go me!
Did we do the dishes first before collapsing on the couch? Woohoo!
Did I park the car at the farthest edge of the parking lot? Well aren’t I fabulous.
Think about all the steps you DO take rather than the ones you don’t.
#5 – Have a locked-in plan to feel
Stating the obvious – most of us start the New Year with dreams of a happier year ahead by losing weight, making more money, yada yada yada.
And sure, those are great goals!
But… one of the things that really rocked my world when I had my mini-breakdown ~18 months ago is discovering there is a HUGE difference between living a happy life and living a life that I’m proud of (which yes, is why I developed my upcoming workshop series! More on that below).
So something to consider:
Rather than planning how to live a happy 2024, ask yourself, what choices can you make to ensure that you feel PROUD of who you are and the life you live in 2024?
Deep, I know.
I’d love to hear which of the five tips resonated with you the most and that you will commit to this upcoming holiday break!
3 month Transformational Series
Perth, WA – Starts January 21, 204
CLARITY – DIRECTION – MOMENTUM
I’m very excited for my upcoming small group transformational series which will be held over 3 months (1 session per month) – starting January 2024.
It will be very limited capacity (only 6 spots) to keep it intimate and ensure deep connectivity.
I’d love for you to join us – if you’d like more information, send me an email here to get more information on my 3 month transformational experience and be first in line when doors open on January 21, 2024.