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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • November 2018
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Holiday intentions

When I was a little girl, I remember my grandfather talking about how “time flies.” As a 7-year old child, I said, “No, Grandpa, time is slow. Christmas will never get here!” Flash forward 51 years and here I am, firmly planted in my grandfather’s camp of “Where does time go?”

As hard as it is for me to believe, my flip flops and shorts are packed away, and the holidays are right around the corner. You might already notice increased pressure as you juggle daily obligations along with other holiday-related events. It’s also easy to feel a sense of “not enough” — as though no matter how hard you try, you won’t have enough time, energy or money to create a “Hallmark moment” for your friends and family.

Before the holidays are in full swing, find a few minutes of quiet time — even if it’s in the car while waiting at a stoplight — and ask yourself some questions: What is most important to me during this time of year? Who do I want to spend time with? What types of activities do I want to engage in? Are there some “out of the box” ideas for how to make the holidays more meaningful? What am I willing to eliminate so I can find time for self-care and enjoy the people and activities that I love? Create an image in your mind of how you would like this season to unfold in a manner that honors what is important to you.

I’m guessing if you tried this activity, you quickly found out how active your mind can be. You may have experienced a lot of worry, judgment or anxiety as you thought about creating what you want versus what is expected of you. I can hear the “shoulds” in my own mind about planning for holiday meals, shopping for presents, attending functions that I really don’t want to attend, spending money I don’t have, etc.

The human brain is designed in such a way that we automatically respond to whatever thought pops in our head — often based on beliefs we were raised with, our habits, or our sense of obligation to the people around us. The media exacerbates the “holiday shoulds” with unrealistic images of happy families spending the holidays together surrounded by mounds of food and mountains of expensive presents. When was the last time you opened the door on December 25 and saw your significant other standing next to a new $45K car with a big red bow on the top?

Seriously, my wish for you during the upcoming holidays is to create some space between what you think you should do and what will really bring you joy. There is wisdom in the “pause.” Take a few breaths to break out of autopilot responses. Bring in your mental picture of how you would like this season to unfold. Have conversations with your friends and family around what is truly important during this time of year. Gather everyone’s opinions and do some negotiating to create a holiday season of meaning versus one of obligation and stress.

Be willing to challenge the status quo so that you don’t end up on January 1, 2019 wishing you had done things differently. If you play the game right, you might not even have to make the obligatory weight loss and exercise resolutions because you will have found a way to take care of yourself during the next two months while consciously enjoying and celebrating what is important to you and those you love.

Here’s to finding “peace in the pause” and gratitude in the moment. That is the space where joy lives. 

Mary Radue

Mary Radue, Licensed Blue Belt Nia Instructor, Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach, is a co-owner of Sweet Willow Naturals in Green Bay where they have over 140 organic herbs and spices available for you to craft your own products or simply to enjoy as tea. Sweet Willow Naturals focuses on education backed by research and experience. They offer classes, wellness coaching and massage – stop in today! Mary is certified by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and the Coach’s Training Institute. Mary has maintained a 95-pound weight loss for over five years by letting go of the diet mentality crippling this country. She is passionate about helping others create a relaxed, inspired relationship with food and body. She can be reached at 920-530-1188 or [email protected]

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