Channel these four (free) superpowers this holiday season
As we roll through the holidays, many of us can feel the stress creeping up into our shoulders and neck. The shopping, the last-minute dash to fit all your meetings into short work weeks, the family gatherings and conversations, the kids out of school, the houseguests… it’s a LOT, and this season can do a serious number on your mental and physical health.
I’ve survived the last few years of holidays virtually unscathed because I’ve leaned on four key superpowers. Today, I’m passing them along to you in the hopes that adopting one or more will give you the energy, capacity, and grace to roll into 2022 with a more grounded, calm, and refreshed energy than you’ve seen in the past.
My superpower: Not drinking right now.
I know the holidays are just begging for you to YOLO your way through the dessert table and bar, but is that really serving you? My energy, sleep, mood, and capacity are all dramatically diminished if I drink even a little, which makes houseguests, driving from gathering to gathering, and all of the extra work that comes with the holidays nearly unbearable. What if you gave yourself the gift of just not drinking for a few weeks? Imagine how much better you’d sleep, how much more patience you’d have, how GOOD you’d wake up feeling?
Don’t deprive yourself of the festivities—mix up a few zero-proof cocktails using Curious Elixirs and your favorite sparkling water. Play “bartender” for anyone else in your family who wants something mysterious and delicious without the booze. Buy plenty, because you never know who will sigh with relief at a tasty, fruity, herbalicious option that isn’t boozy. And then tell me all about how this one tiny decision had the BIGGEST impact on your holidays this year. (I’ll be waiting on January 2nd for you to DM me.)
My superpower: Preserving sleep
It can be tempting to burn the candle at both ends over the holidays. You want to stay up late wrapping gifts, baking or cooking, and visiting with family after the kids go down, but the little turds are waking up at 6 AM no matter what time you go to bed. If my sleep goes, the rest of my life quickly follows—cue the sugar cravings, crankiness, and lethargy. So even if it means saying “sayonara” to a house full of guests, I’m hitting the sack at my usual bedtime. (And feel free to sleep until you damn well please, even if your parents are early risers).
There’s another added benefit here—it guarantees you and your guests a little alone time each day, which is likely to be very appreciated by all. Return to your room a touch early to read and wind down, leave your guests with coffee instructions and a few good magazines for the morning, and everyone gets some time to recharge.
My superpower: Movement
Something else I’ve incorporated into every holiday season is movement—every day, in some capacity. Some days, it means leaving my guests to hit the gym nice and early. Other days, it means the Henry gets a few extra walks throughout the day, or we take off for an hour to hike, or the kids get a snowball fight partner, or we all bundle up to go sledding. Getting everyone outside and moving, especially taking walks after a meal, is a great family bonding activity and helps you get a LITERAL breath of fresh air if the house starts to feel claustrophobic.
Another bonus—this is yet another opportunity to get some alone time during a busy season. (Can you tell I’m an introvert?) And if you say, “I’m taking the dog for a walk” and your dad offers to join you, it’s okay to say, “Thanks, but I’m actually looking forward to a few minutes of alone time.” It’s called boundaries.
My superpower: BOUNDARIES
Finally, you knew this was coming—setting boundaries around your own limits this season is good for your health, happiness, and relationships. It’s tempting to let everyone just do what they want because it’s the holidays, you don’t see them often, and who wants to rock the boat? But if just thinking about some of your relatives’ behaviors are making you clench your jaw right now, imagine what a few clear, kind boundaries could do to transform those few days you have together?
Practice clear, kind language. Remember boundaries are about YOUR limits (what you will and will not tolerate). Believe that these boundaries will make your time together better for ALL of you, where nobody is resentful, irritated or feeling taken advantage of. Remind yourself that you are a grown adult with agency and car keys and a big, full LIFE, in case childhood patterns start rearing their head. And remember practice makes perfect, so even if you don’t nail them all this holiday season, you’ve at least laid the groundwork for holidays to come.
Wishing you nothing but health, happiness, and peace this holiday season.