Happy Saturday before Christmas day everyone!
While this is a season of joy and celebration, it is also a time and call for us to turn inward, reflect on our hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Two days ago, it was the winter solstice - a marker that signifies the start of winter, and as is fitting, we definitely got a ton of snow all across Ontario, just in time for a "White Christmas."
In literature, as well as spirituality, winter has always signified as a time for renewal, harnessing growth, shedding anything that no longer serves us - both tangible and intangible, habits, behaviors, relationships, careers, etc. Incorporating a rest - renew - reflect process into our routine and lives, especially during the holiday season, also sets the tone for the upcoming year - as it takes 3 weeks for something to become a habit, 8 weeks for you to experience the difference, and 12 weeks for everyone else around you to visibly see the impact of incorporating something new into your life.
While the holidays bring about lots of cheer, yummy food, and of course presents, they can also bring about a lack of presence. It can leave us feeling blue, and of course feeling as though we are missing out on something, or that we don't fit in at all with all the "happiness and cheer" that we see in stores, and on billboards (cough, marketing ploys, cough). However, the only thing lacking is our mental and emotional presence to be present for ourselves and those we love, regardless of what has occurred in our year and in our lives.
Here are some tips on how to manage and NOT have a blue Christmas:
1. Compare not. Focus on ALL the good / blessings that you have. Too often, we focus on what everyone else around us has, and then induce a comparison game in our minds which then flows into all aspects of our life. Every time you find yourself playing the comparison game, come up with 3 things you are grateful and thankful for in your life. This will chase away those "have not" blues.
2. Boundaries are your BFFs, trust me. The holidays are notorious for digging up old wounds, falling into past patterns, and of course, feeling triggered by those around us. When this happens, especially if you are at a get together with friends or family, politely tell Miss Suzy Curious Q or Mr Harry Stickler that while you understand she is "trying to make sure you're okay," you would respect it if she or he could stop hashing out past events or (insert anything else that is not conducive to you). Another alternative is that you can totally say NO, to going to a place, get together etc that feels forced, and not genuine. You can say NO to that plate of food/desserts/alcoholic drink, if you know it is not conducive to your health and wellbeing (boundary setting in full swing).
3. Practice an act of self-care every day. We are such experts are caring for everyone else around us but ourselves. Self-care is not only a trip to the spa, or a shopping treat, or going on that vacation. Self-care also means taking care of yourself - mind, body, and soul. It means resting when you feel called to rest, instead of always being in hustle mode. It means honoring your need to disconnect from social media, and even people in person, if you need that time to recover and heal (from whatever it is). It means going to bed at a consistent and decent time (that works for you). It means not feeling guilty about the choices you make for yourself. And it means being kind, loving, and nourishing to yourself - from your sleep habits, to your nutrition, to the company you keep, the hours you work, the things you do.
4. Kindness is the best gift of all. While it sure is fun to receive wonderful and thoughtful gifts from our loved ones, and to gift them as well, nothing is more important than giving someone the gift of kindness. What does this look like? Practice an act of kindness every single day, and what better time to make this an inherent part of your life than by practicing this during the holidays. I believe that humans are full of love and kindness, but somewhere along the way, with all that has occurred and continues to occur in our world and society, many of us have forgotten to be kind to one another and to ourselves. It means being non-judgmental of others and yourself. It means being gentle with yourself and others, and honoring the season of your life that you or others are in. It means asking yourself - how can I leave someone or something better than when I first came across them? It might mean doing a small, random act of kindness. Ask yourself how you can pay something forward, and it will come back to you tenfold. Such is the law of the Universe. When you approach life with this lens, trust me, those around you will also follow your cue, and the world will be filled with more people who aren't afraid to show some love and kindness. Love exists within all of us, kindness is what needs to be practiced in order to soften even the hardest of hearts, especially during the holidays.
I hope that the above has empowered you to embrace and welcome the holidays with a fierce yet gentle and kind heart and mind. And when all else fails, and you are craving a retreat from all the overwhelm, cozy up in your favourite space with a warm beverage and some of our amazing, empowering, and inspiring reads - they will definitely lift your spirits, empower you, and connect you to a whole collective of inspiring and fierce women.
As team GBR winds down for the Christmas / Holiday break, we want to wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday! May this be a time of rest, renewal, togetherness, mindfulness, kindness, presence, love, laughter, happiness, and most of all, a time of peace - internal and external.
See you in the new year!
Much love, light, and blessings,
Tania Jane Moraes-Vaz
Tania Jane Moraes-Vaz is an international best-selling author, freelance editor, lifestyle photographer, speaker, and a mindset + empowerment coach for women with PCOS. She loves spreading PCOS awareness by coaching and empowering women and their families lead a healthy and holistic lifestyle. She lives in Mississauga, Ontario with her husband, Alan, and their son, Arnold.
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