Sunday, December 4, 2011

Goals for the Holidays

"Don't let the past steal your present."
-Terri Guillemets

Who has time to think about setting goals for the Holidays? How many of us are use to simply "getting through" them without having a breakdown, or without others seeing how overwhelmed we are?
The Holiday season can be stressful for almost anyone, but if you are struggling with an eating disorder, or fighting for recovery, you are likely even more worried and stressed about the expectations of the season. I would ask, "whose expectations are you trying to live up to?"
We all have family traditions that we may or may not enjoy, for any number of reasons. I have found that by focusing on the aspects of those experiences that are basic and meaningful, they are much more enjoyable, and I don't spend the three months prior to December, dreading the Holidays. Many of the activities and gatherings during the Holiday season seem to be "all about food", but I don't think that's so true. Anyone who struggles with an eating disorder, in the mindset of fear of eating, fear of not eating, etc., tends to make it all about food by the focus they put on it in their own minds.
Flexibility is a beautiful thing to consider. What are the 'rules' that you have, that prevent you from finding joy and meaning in your Holiday experiences? Which ones can you challenge or let go of for this period of time; or do they even serve you anymore (did they ever?)
Can you identify certain messages that you adhere to that are only self-critical, and that are based on rigidity and perfectionistic expectations?
I wasted many many years and opportunities for joy by dreading the Holidays for reasons that were only related to worry about eating and food. I missed a lot of 'moments' that I can never have back.
At this time of my life there are other memories and recent grief that causes me to feel many painful emotions, but I will never allow myself to miss out of the joy 'in the moment' ever again.
Are your goals for this Holiday season based on joy and experience, or are you full of dread and fear to simply "get through"? What can you do to bring the focus back to what is really important?
Without apology....♥