What do you love the most about the holiday season? I think many would say it is traditions. But the traditions can be the most stressful part of the season….extra commitments, scheduling, traveling. Now, I want you to think about your own holiday traditions. How many of those revolve around a meal, specific food, or recipe? Quite a few or none at all?
In my experience with nutrition counseling, most holiday traditions are food based. That leads to a great deal of stress and anxiety about the approaching season.
What would happen if all of the personal food traditions were gone? Will the stress and anxiety just vanish? Well, probably not…at least not the first year. Over time, family members will let go (hopefully) and embrace the new non-traditions. I think it will help with a few things in the short term….
~ It will help you remember more moments and less meals. You will vividly recall the year that Uncle Joe went ice skating and took out the carolers. Or the time grandpa caught the grill on fire because you decided to BBQ instead of having turkey. The Christmas your mom made you answer family trivia questions correctly before you could open any presents (FYI- our family van was named The USA Van for the first 6 years of my childhood). The point is that when traditions are flexible, there is more room for unique moments that will stick with you for a long time.
~ No post holiday blues (i.e. cravings). I’ve been there…too many times than I would care to admit. The days after New Years that you are in a fog and so hungry that you could scream. What if you didn’t have to go through that this year? What if January was just like any other month….a time that you feel great, in control, and best of all- not craving ice cream.
~ No struggle to get back into a workout routine. You don’t have to keep a regular “gym” routine during the holidays. With flexible traditions, there is time/room to have a fun family game of touch football. Or volunteer to get the kids out of the house for a nice walk. Keeping some semblance of an exercise routine is good enough to keep the habit alive.
It is very difficult to change things on a dime. Some traditions could be decades long. And not all have to be changed. The best way to approach this subject is with open conversation starting NOW. Do not wait until Thanksgiving to broach the subject.
Step by step guide:
- Think of your holiday traditions and figure out which give you the most concern/anxiety.
- Come up with a new idea for this holiday season to replace the tradition.
- Talk with your family about your new ideas and why you feel it is important to break away from the old traditions. Emphasize the time spent with family and creating new memories as a part of your new ideas.
Here is to new memories! Lauren