Are the Holidays Really Happy?

Before we get to Susan’s Clarity Workshop in January, we have to make it through the holidays. The holidays are an exciting season full of parties and events. Life speeds up and so do stress levels. You might be inclined to break some rules. And confuse over-spending, over-eating and over-indulging with ‘fun’. You might not have time for the sleep you need and the exercise that keeps you vital. No problem…to a point. Studies show that we’re actually happiest when we take good care of ourselves and avoid the high cost of over indulging. Honouring our values is the best way to be happy. So what’s a busy person with a lot going on to do during the holidays?

Here are a few ways to avoid the condition I see as “Oops! How did that happen?”

1. Assess

When we are rushed and too tightly-scheduled, we don’t notice what’s happening.  Be aware of where you might have too much temptation and pre-think your choices. We often finish the holidays with more stress than the little bit of comfort we enjoyed. For example, too many events, too much chocolate or a second glass of wine might feel good, but consequences include sluggish energy, grumpiness and less patience. Sometimes we even make ourselves sick. I don’t know about you, but my relationships suffer when I’m not taking good care of myself. That increases stress not happiness.

2. Take Inventory

Have you taken a look at your goals lately? Take a moment to review your ideals (health, fitness, habits, lifestyle, family, finances, etc.) and make sure your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. If your goals aren’t SMART, reformulate them.

Let your choices be informed by your preferences and goals. If you haven’t been making decisions that will help you achieve your goals, just be kind to yourself and make the switch.
3. Be honest

The only way to know if you’re on track is by being aware. Notice what’s happening. Don’t go into auto-pilot, just rushing around as if you don’t have a choice. Slow down. Notice. Where are you at? How do you feel? What attitude would you prefer to have right now? Clarity increases when we’re honest. Clarity leads to good decisions.

Get clear on what your ideal life, or in this case ideal holiday season, looks and feels like.

4. Find the gaps

Is there a gap between what you want and your results? What’s your role in that?  How can you adjust your part to get the results you want?

5. Prioritize

Prevent overwhelm. Make a list and prioritize. When there is too much on your plate, it is easy to get distracted and agitated. If you’ve worked hard at creating good habits and structure it is important not to lose sight. What you do frequently is more important than what you do once in a while, so build consistent check-ins with yourself and re-ground yourself with a few deep breaths and dropping the frenzy.  Just noticing your inner state makes it easier to shift.  When we’re not aware our options are limited. A couple of my universal holiday ‘rules’ include saying “No” to impulse-buying, impulse-eating and saying “Yes” without thinking about it to every social occasion.

Remember, it’s okay to have an extra share of dessert or a late night snack, but stay focused on how to enjoy your life by supporting your health and well-being! No matter the season, now is always the best time to take good care of yourself.

If you want to learn more about how to get clear and make good decisions, join Susan’s Clarity Workshop on Jan 12th, 2014, at Yyoga NorthShore Elements.