By: John Woolf, PT, MS, ATC, COMT
‘Tis the Season for Too Much’
Too much food, too much stuff, too many expectations, too many holiday songs, too early, too much _____ (fill in the blank).
It’s everywhere! And as I experience it, I find myself getting angry about it which leads to “Too much disappointment”. Which leads to too much grumpiness! Truly, I’m not a Scrooge or a Grinch. Both are great Characters who really tried to put a wet blanket on the whole holiday thing. Each exemplified the cold, callous, unfeeling parts of all of us. Of course Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” and Dr. Seuss’s “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” are just stories. But like all great stories, they speak to us with some level of truth.
In my own experience, the excesses of the modern holiday seasons can make us all a little overwhelmed and feeling less connected. This is especially true for those of us and those in our communities who don’t live in the traditional holiday setting, perfect family, raging fire, big ham on the table, you know the image. Those who don’t experience this idealized image often feel like something is missing
The “too muchness” of the season can have an impact on our bodies. Not just because of the busy-ness and the possible unmet expectations, but also in the message that it’s “the season to indulge”. The food, the new flavored latte, the Christmas cookies, the fruitcake, whatever. I read recently that the average American gains 7-10 lbs during the holiday season. Wow! Then what? A mad dash to the gym on January first to lose it all….or not!
My learning in almost 50 years of celebrating holidays is slowing down and moderation. My wife and I were talking yesterday and wondered what people did before the age of “busy-ness”. What did people do before electricity, mass production, mass commercialization, and the internet? They went at a completely different pace! They had to. What else could they do?
As you whiz through this holiday season, schedule some down time. Time to just hang out in a park, or with a friend or family
Mindfully select the events you attend. With many holiday parties and other opportunities, choose those that align with what’s important in your life.
Stay engaged in some sort of exercise. Don’t let the busyness pull you off track. If you have a routine for the rest of the year...keep it a priority during the holiday season.
Try the “one bite rule”. With the holiday cakes, cookies, fudges and candies, everywhere, the temptations are enormous. If you see something that looks good, take one bite and then put it back on the pile. You will be laughing so hard inside that you will lose your hunger.
Give thanks at every opportunity. Gratitude is a wonderful brain chemistry. Create it by giving with an attitude of gratitude.
It’s a wonder filled time of year. And with the excesses and busy-ness we can miss that which can give us the most satisfaction. When we enter into the season with this awareness, we may not need a ghost or a Cindy Lou Who to remind us!