Do you approach the holidays with joy or stress? The holidays are a wonderful time for some and a nightmare for others. You may feel a combination of both happiness and despair. If you feel conflicted about the holidays, you’re not alone.
The meaning you put to it will make the difference if it feels stressful or joyful, you get to choose! This may appear easier said than done. You may have learned to make the best of every situation, but there are some of us that no matter how old you are, when you get back together with your family you regress to a younger version of yourself. Did you ever wonder how that happens? You forget everything you have learned that got you as far as you have and you become a child again! Emotions are running high, and there seems to be more pressure to be perfect and expectations don’t meet reality. We become stressed and when we are we tend to “DO” stupid things to ourselves.
Control Your Emotions During the Holidays
It is so easy to lose perspective of how wonderful we are during the holidays. While connecting with family and old friends can bring joy, for many of us, it also reminds us of any perceived failings over the past years. If we do not make a plan to deal with any stress or strong emotions that may crop up this holiday season, it can be difficult to control our feelings.
First thing to remember is that everything you do is your choice. Where you are today is all based on the choices you have made in the past. You either choose to love you or you don’t. Know that someone that truly loves themselves would not use poor food choices to hurt, make them feel ill or get them angry later. Once you decide to love yourself first it is easier to control your emotions during the holiday.
Here are seven important things you can do during the holiday season to help keep your emotions in check and avoid overeating:
- Identify what is eating “at” you instead of what you are eating. If something in your personal narrative is weighing you down, acknowledge it so you can change it. The holidays are a time of reflection for many of us and you may tend to overthink problems in your life and the food becomes an easy escape from feeling the emotions. Remember you are the director of the movie of your life. You have the power to cut out any tragedies or horrors that are hurting you. Acknowledge the emotional baggage you are carrying around and put it down with the food for good. Stop allowing others to bring it back this holiday season.
- Identify potential emotional triggers and challenges now. If you know that a certain person or event causes you particular stress, recognize that fact now and make a plan for dealing with it. Maybe you can avoid it completely. If you cannot for some reason, you will at least be able to plan ahead for a way to mitigate its effect on your emotions. Change the dialogue, find a place of refuge. Spend time with those that make you feel good.
- Be aware of holiday treats you love and make a plan to enjoy them. Food is not the enemy. If you love a certain pie that your mom makes every Thanksgiving or Christmas, instead of feeling guilty about having some, plan for it. Plan to have the treats you really love, and take the time to be present and enjoy every bite. Feel what it feels like in your mouth, savor every morsel. You will find that by eliminating the guilt associated, you will be much more satisfied with an even smaller portion. It is when you come from deprivation that you will over eat. It might actually be the first time you ever really tasted it too.
- Notice holiday junk foods that give you no joy and swear them off. Perhaps potato chips are at the holiday function, but they aren’t your first choice, instead of eating unconsciously and inhaling a few handfuls of empty calories choose to say “no” before you go. Those calories add up very fast! Don’t waste calories on a junk food that you aren’t enjoying fully. Instead hold a glass of water and take a drink if you feel the need to put something in your body or have something in your hand. Saying “No” to poor choices are saying “Yes” to you!
- Eat what your body wants until you are content. Our bodies are better at figuring out what we need and want than we think. By allowing ourselves to have what we really crave, we are much more likely to feel satisfied and content. Know the difference of what your body wants and what your mind is craving. If you are thinking of the cake and ice cream before you get there it is your mind that wants it not your body. If you do end up having a huge craving for a piece of chocolate, it is much healthier to let yourself have a bite or two than to have a whole package of diet cookies to try and distract yourself. Remember that you are in control. You do not have to finish something just because it is there. When your body has gotten what it needs, feel comfortable stopping.
- Take it one meal at a time. Eat each meal independently of the others. During the holidays it is easy to anticipate the big meal and decide to skip a meal or save up those calories but if you do, you may be setting yourself up to overeat or binge. If you get to the point of being so hungry you are more likely to lose control and make poor choices.
- Learn to F.L.Y. (First Love Yourself). Choose you first over the food, the fuss, the confusion, the anxiety, the stress. Food is a temporary solution to a problem that will only make it worse. If you have already eaten and you are looking for more food, drink water and wait twenty minutes. Learn to know the difference from hunger and wanting to fill a void. Remove yourself from the kitchen. Only eat when you are sitting down, never standing.
This holiday season, be conscious of your body and your emotions. When we are in tune with both, it is much easier to avoid emotional overeating and overeating during the holidays. If you find yourself sliding back into old self-sabotaging habits this holiday season, use these tips and my proven Neuro Associative Programming techniques to get yourself back on track.
You are powerful and fabulous! This holiday season, commit to loving yourself above all else. When we love and take care of ourselves, controlling our emotions and our food becomes easy during the holidays and every day.