I love Christmas! If you come near me during December I’ll absolutely be singing or humming a Christmas carol, after all it is the most wonderful time of the year. My family absolutely gets into the Christmas spirit and invests a lot into feeling good about the season. We give to the poor, we focus a great deal of this time to being grateful and sharing joy as much as we can, and there’s definitely no lack of joy for me during the Festive Season. Actually, there might just be a little too much joy during this time.
This has been my year of being mindful and living in the moment. Well living in the moment as much as a responsible adult with a job, kids and other adult commitments can be. I’ve embraced the current trend of mindfulness in my daily life and just as I’m about to share my success with the world the Festive Season starts and Christmas gives me a very big test of my mindfulness skills.
My husband and I have an agreement that during this Festive Season, which we lovingly call “Party Season”, if one of us gets the opportunity to get out there and live it up, we do it for the both of us. We don’t get out a lot, our sons have some health issues so getting a cheap teenage babysitter isn’t an option. We’ve usually exhausted our babysitters during the year with non-eventful events so when this time hits we make the most of it. It’s very much a “save yourself” situation, but it works. Upon return we listen to the other share their adventures of the outside party world, and we buy each other greasy food to ease the pain experienced the day after the night before. That’s love.
December hadn’t even started yet when it became apparent that I’d have to change my tactics, because for some reason being mindful at this time is almost impossible.
The warning signs were there in early November when my Naturopath put me on a new regime of herbs and supplements to improve my health. This costly suggestion was embraced by my inner health nut, but my Jolly self had to ask if this was the time to start out the new program so I checked in with my Naturopath, “this all sounds great, but is it okay to drink alcohol and eat nonfood? ‘Cause this is party season and I’m going to be fully committed to all things festive and merry.” I’m pretty sure I heard him blink as I waited for his response. But then he said it would help with my recovery, so the day after might not be as brutal. Sweet!
As I skipped out of there with my bag of tricks, I realised that perhaps I had the wrong idea. I’m trying to improve my general health, I’m really trying to find balance in all aspects of my life. I read loads of books on health, meditate and nourish my body. Then Christmas starts and it’s like I’ve had a lobotomy, there’s no mindfulness or awareness as I throw myself head first down the Festive Season stairs.
Drinking is mindfulness enemy number one. Plans are set, there’s a clear strategy- one drink, one water and finish Cinderella style, all finished up by midnight. But Party Season brings with it the ultimate challenge- an open bar. These rare treats are to be embraced, and suddenly drinking mindfully is thrown out the window.
Eating mindfully is important, but again at Christmas all of that is forgotten. It’s like I have some quota to reach, a daily target of wasteful calories that must be consumed. I don’t even like Christmas pudding, but plonk some down in front of me and I’ll make it disappear. December becomes one long feast, until I’m greeted with January where I experience the uncomfortable reality of nothing fitting me and vow that next Christmas I will control my inner feasting beast.
Every food becomes a must and I consume it at such a speed my body can’t even recognise what’s happening, perhaps the calories won’t count if they are consumed quickly? If it’s label includes the words “Christmas”, “Festive” or “Food” it must be consumed during the Festive Season. Carbs? Yes please! Pfeffernusse? A packet, please. Lame old Ferrero? Go on then, give me a handful.
Last night I ducked to the shops to grab some fresh fruit and veg when I stumbled across the Christmas section. Before I knew it I was driving home with a packet of Christmas mint sticks in my hand, half mysteriously missing. Disgusting. It’s like I leave my body, just like arriving at work and not recalling the journey, the festive feasting lacks any semblance of mindfulness.
I shop like I’ve won lotto, avoiding my bank balance at all costs. I rush- a mindful-less move. I’m cranky- my list of to dos grows each day and it’s annoying. And sometimes I even bah-humbug even though I adore this season and everything it’s supposed to represent.
Then luckily my old pal gratitude steps in and reminds me to embrace this season with all it’s crazy and all it’s busy, and my mindfulness skills kick back in.
Eat the pudding I say, but enjoy it. Christmas gives me the gift of time and I love that. Time with all my favourite people, breaking bread (carbs!) and making memories together. I’m reminded of how lucky I am and try to be as mindful-ish as I can so that I don’t miss any of the good stuff.
After all, January is always there to pick up any of the mess from the Festive Season.