Every year I notice that the supposedly happy holidays are really unhappy holidays. As the days get shorter and our natural inclination is to slow down and rest more, our culture goes in the opposite direction. We are bombarded with a crazy amount of lights, activities, and pressure. That pressure very often comes in the form of expectations -- both our own and that of our culture -- to give the perfect gifts and be the perfect hosts and have perfect decorations. So much pressure! That pressure is counter to the natural rhythm of life to rest during winter when the days are short and it's mostly cold (except where I live, but that's another story).
Are you finding it difficult to slow down during this time of year? Do you feel the holiday pressure? Is this year triggering old wounds, especially around family and expectations?
Here is what I have found I most need this time of year to both enjoy the season and embrace the desire to rest and slow down: routine. Having routines gives me a solid foundation so that the upheaval of the holidays does not derail me. Having routines boosts my immune system. Having routines gives me stability at a time of year that can feel incredibly unstable, no matter how much fun it is.
I believe in the power of having a routine so much that when I work with health coaching clients, the first thing I encourage them to do is establish a morning routine. It is much easier to seek and embrace change when you have a solid foundation to stand on. It doesn't have to be anything over the top. The key is to do a couple of things every day in support of your health and sanity. My routine always includes tongue scraping, a long walk with the dog, and warm lemon water with a splash of apple cider vinegar. That's it. Three things in the morning. And I keep that routine even when I am traveling.
The return on investment for my routine means my immune system is strong, I have energy to give to my clients and students, and I am not tired or feeling meh. It also means that life upheavals like the holidays or the refrigerator breaking on Thanksgiving Day (true story! and we were hosting the big dinner!), or both of our cell phones failing within a week of each other recently are not so debilitating because every morning I can fill my cup back up through having a routine that supports my body, my mind, and my spirit.
"My cup runneth over. What comes out of the cup is for y'all. What's in the cup is mine. But I've got to keep my cup full," renowned life coach Iyanla Vanzant said in an interview with Oprah. It's worth the three minutes to watch it.
Routine helps you keep your cup full, and it's essential during the holidays. Now, the big question for you if you have this awareness that you need a routine, is how to create one. First, write down what is important to you that brings you joy. For me those answers included movement and nature. Next, write down what you are willing to do every single day based on how you answered the first question. To implement it, schedule it. If it is not scheduled you'll never do it.
And now I'd love to hear what you do daily to keep your cup full so please share in the comments below!