HOW TO HANDLE THE HOLIDAYS?
Down here in the Southern Hemisphere there’s nothing more hotly anticipated than the summer months. For us the rising temperatures coincide with the festive season – end of year parties, BBQ’s, Christmas and the beginning of the New Year. There’s also the pressure to close the year on a high and start the new year firing on all cylinders.
In the past, how does this time of the year leave you feeling? Overwhelmed, exhausted? Depleted of energy, money, resources? Are you relieved when the parties are over so that the cleaner living can “finally” begin? Do you overcommit and overindulge and end up on the back foot already for the New Year ahead?
Maybe this year, you can do things a little differently and start 2020 feeling calmer and more in control. Doing things differently is going to be unique for each of us. Some might like to reset their relationship with overindulging in food or alcohol, some of you just want to be calmer around your family, maybe your recognize you have wobbly boundaries with putting yourself first or saying no when the pressure builds and socializing takes over.
If you’re even asking yourselves questions around the above, you’re halfway there. The fact that you’re taking the time to reflect puts you in a powerful position to make some changes.
As a meditation teacher I work with people developing the habit of becoming a daily meditator, I also work with people wanting to shift old behaviors that are limiting their lives and dimming their lights. Life is evolution, expansion, growth.
Below are some of the things we explore when wanting to create a life more aligned with who we really are.
If we want the 2020 to be different we have to start making different choices. To cut back on your drinking, you’re going to have to practice drinking alcohol-free beverages at parties. To eat more plants you may have to start taking your own plate of veggies to BBQ’s. If you want to get up early to practice yoga in the mornings you may have to start leaving events earlier to make those early mornings easier.
Waiting until January to start means you miss so many more opportunities to practice putting in place the little shifts in habits you’d like to foster. See all the BBQ’s, parties, emotionally charged events with family members as motivation to make different choices. This is the PERFECT time of the year to practice saying ‘no thanks’ being honest, to set boundaries or simply choosing different food/drink options.
If you’re feeling uncomfortable or resistance, then chances are you’re getting some new neural pathways firing.
It can feel awkward at first, but eventually, with time and consistency it gets easier and eventually feels powerful as now you’re steering your own ship.
Most of us move through life at the mercy of unconscious habits, societal rules that don’t work for everyone, mistaken perceptions about what’s expected of us or falling prey to the pressure of our mates, colleagues OR family to do things we don’t really want to do. All we need to shift this is – awareness. That is, to become conscious that there are many things we do without thinking or because we feel like we ‘should’ rather than from a true desire to.
How do we cultivate awareness? By becoming more present in our lives, slowing down and creating space. Start the day with grounding practices, check in on ourselves and seeing how we really feel. By noticing how we feel in the moment and giving our body what it really needs. Meditation one of the most effective ways to cultivate self-awareness as mediation is a process of becoming aware of what’s happening in the present moment, and not trying to change that experience.
Think about how miraculous your body is, how incredibly your mind is. What about your digestive system nourishing you, your liver cleansing all the toxins from your system every single night? Your body can move, breathe, laugh, cry. It’s carrying you through life. All the systems in your body are working tirelessly; unconditionally making adaptations and shifts to keep you alive and healthy. Get curious (but not judgmental) about the things you may be doing that harm your body, and think of ways you can give it the respect and appreciation it needs. Rest, relax, don’t over-do things. Perhaps this might even shift your perspective on ‘treating’ yourself and perhaps healthier options become a more palatable choice as in the long run, it’s not a treat if you’re doing it every day.
Each day is an opportunity to start again. Don’t let slip-ups derail you completely. Life is about progress not perfection and it’s the small sustainable shifts that make a difference over time. Focus on the good things you can add into your life, focus on the positive feelings those shifts give you. Inevitably, feeling better, clearer, happier will lead to more and more changes as the better we feel, the more we will live from a self-aware, conscious place.
Article supplied by Claire Robbie. Claire is a meditation teacher who moonlights as a TV news presenter and is also the founder of No Beers? Who Cares!
Claire has taught hundreds of people how to develop a daily meditation practice, as this has been the foundation of some incredible shifts in her life over the past deacde. Claire teaches from her meditation space in Grey Lynn, Auckland, and runs retreats and workshops around the world.
Contact Claire about learning to meditate here