By Samantha Skelly
The mere thought of the holidays can sometimes give us chills. It can be difficult to take a step back from the hustle, bustle, egg nog guzzle, and stay calm amongst the jingling madness. It’s a time we often over-indulge, binge and feel a lot of guilt and shame when we ring in the New Year.
Mistletoe isn’t the only thing hanging over our heads during the holidays. It’s supposed to be a time to relax, kick back, welcome in gratitude, indulge with love and spend time laughing with loved ones. The unfortunate case is much the opposite—we tend to overfill our calendars with engagements, so full we can’t cope, we over-indulge on sweets, treats and alcohol & we throw ourselves into a downward self-deprecating spiral. What if we learnt to be more aware in our bodies so the Christmas season isn’t as stressful? What if we took a step back, invited mindfulness into the way we think about ourselves and indulged consciously without the backslap of guilt?
Start something new this holiday season
Humor me and let’s try something new this holiday season. Let’s start from the inside out. Focus your attention on how you want to feel this holiday season; take a moment and identify those feelings. Energized? Calm? Relaxed? Whatever it may be for you, hold a space for it in your mind. Self-acceptance is an inside-outside job. We must first figure out how we want to feel, and it starts from within. Can it really be that simple? YES is the answer. However, for years and years we’ve been brainwashed by the diet industry that we should be reaching for something external in order to cultivate those inner feelings. The next new diet pill, the next restrictive diet, the next celebrity endorsed obsession–whatever it is–we’ve all been there. What happens next? We hop on these fad diets, maybe lose a few pounds, then once we are sick of restricting and realize it’s not a sustainable way to live, we gain it all back plus more (insert vicious diet cycle here!)
What would happen if you listened to your body?
Now, let’s assume for a moment we actually listened to our bodies. We didn’t impulsively binge on food we know isn’t going to nurture our body and we know will send us into a ‘binge, guilt, repeat’ cycle. We trust our bodies to perform miraculous tasks, we breathe automatically, we digest without thought, we even have the power to heal and repair after we harm ourselves.
Learning to love your body in today’s diet crazed world may seem like a ludicrous thought, I know. We tend to treat our body from a place of fear rather than love. We are told we aren’t “enough”by the multi-billion dollar weight loss industry every day of our lives. So this season, only thing hanging over your head should be mistletoe. I invite you to experiment with these three simple steps to make your holiday season more relaxed.
1. Get clear on how you want to feel
An empowering feeling, one that makes you feel powerful. When you are beginning to feel stressed come back to the feeling, focus on it. What you focus on you will feel.
2. Listen to your body
Ask yourself “Am I actually hungry?”This little question will be the deciding factor whether or not you dive head first into the sticky toffee pudding
3. Bring back the love
Shift your body perception from a place of fear to a place of love. Love is an insanely powerful position, it can be transformational. Start your day with appreciating one thing you love about your body.
How will you bring self-acceptance into your holiday?
Samantha Skelly is a health and wellness entrepreneur who aims to empower and inspire women worldwide to reach new peaks and achieve personal greatness through health and fitness. In 2014 Samantha founded her company Hungry for Happiness to empower those suffering from emotional eating, disordered eating & body image issues. She works with her clients to disconnect their identities from their disorders and design and create a life of freedom, abundance and optimal health. Samantha now is on a mission to shine the light on disordered eating internationally and help to lift those up who are suffering in silence.
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