Today's article is straight from the November edition of my Bloom Time monthly eZine. I sometimes like to share the eZine articles with my blog readers so that you don't miss out on tips and suggestions that might be just what you need to hear to help you. I have had a lot of great feedback on this article already so I wanted to share this one with you all. Feel free to add any extra tips you have for other readers in the comments section below.
"Today is the start of December. For most of us that means that the holiday season is upon us. With the holiday festivities comes fun, laughter, family, friends, trips away and an abundance of food and drink. It also brings isolation and loneliness (even in the company of loved ones), social pressures, stress, poor eating habits and a lack of routine, high emotions, antagonistic and difficult family and friends, and for most of us reading this article, the challenge of being yourself and eating and living a clean lifestyle while in the company of others who, well, don't.
Short of escaping to a deserted island for your own personal holiday season experience, it can feel like there is no way to avoid the conflicts that can so easily spoil your holiday season. Fortunately, there are other ways...although I won't pretend the island idea isn't tempting at times! This article gives you some tips and tools you can add to your bag of tricks, so that you get through your holiday season healthy, happy and ready for a wonderful new year ahead. Next month's Bloom Time will give you more invaluable tips and guidance on how to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle throughout the holiday season so stay tuned!
Focus on what's really important. The holiday season gives us a rare opportunity to catch up with the people we love the most. See this opportunity for the blessing it is and focus on spending meaningful time with the people you love, rather than getting too caught up in having the perfect meal, presents, worrying about what to say, wear and do, whether your drunk uncle will say something inappropriate and the list goes on! I realise this is all obviously easier said than done so the following tips will give you some great ways to make this easier.
Stop trying to change the people around you. You're wasting your time, effort and energy! Realise that if you give appreciation, gratitude, affection, listen and don't judge others while presenting a peaceful confidence with yourself and with your lifestyle choices, you will most likely be left alone or receive appreciation and gratitude in return. Remember that while you are worrying about what others think of your lifestyle choices and what they will say to you, your other family members and friends will be just as preoccupied with worries about their own lives and choices and how everyone else may judge them. I assure you that they will be more concerned with their own set of worries and trying to not attract their own share of negative attention than they will be thinking about what you're doing. Often, if you still get unwanted attention, it is because you are reflecting back to the people around you their own choices and behaviour that they are unhappy with and trying to put the attention back on you is their desperate way of trying to thwart this. Most people don't like having to face these truths, particularly when it's coming from someone who is successfully managing their life and choices (you!!). This brings us to the next tip:
Don't make a spectacle of your choices or wax lyrical about how what you are doing is the best for your body and health and how anything else is foolish, disgusting and will lead to cancer! While educating others on the benefits of a healthier lifestyle is important, even this has its time and place, and family holidays, where tensions are already high and everyone wants to just enjoy themselves and indulge in whatever form that takes, is not it. Have respect for other people's choices and allow them to enjoy their holidays the way they want to. You don't have to like it or agree with it, but do try to be respectful. You will only receive more respect in return and have a more enjoyable holiday yourself.
Pick your time and place. If you have pent up resentment, bitterness, anger, hurt or disappointment festering inside you, don't let it out in a reactive fit of rage at the family do's this season. If you know being around certain family members and friends can get you curled up into a tight ball of pain and anger, and that you will be exposed to these people even more than usual over the holiday season, then put in place ways to avoid letting out this rage at an inappropraite time. Hint: in the middle of Christmas dinner with the whole family watching just because your insensitive cousin says a smart a*s comment towards you is not the best time. Instead, take the higher road and know what could set you off so that you are prepared to manage it before the event even happens. Get your hurt and anger out by writing a letter, a journal, doing some meditation, talking to a friend or releasing your emotion though any other means that appeals to you. If you come to your holiday events calmer and with that emotional release out of the way (or at leats a strategy in place to deal with it if and when it comes up), you are less likely to respond in a defensive, angry or over-sensitive way and in fact you may find that those scathing comments don't seem to appear at all. Remember, it's all about the energy and emotion and confidence you exude!
Let go of ideas of how things "should" be and how others "should" act. No one will ever do anything exactly as you think they should do because they are not you! Some people are just going to be difficult or make rude comments or try to put you down. Do not buy into their behaviour. Just because they do these things because they are not ready to deal with the reasons behind it, does not mean that you also need to lower your standards and get suckered in to similar behaviour. Tolerate others flaws, knowing that their flaws don't need to affect your happiness as this only comes from within you and how you choose to respond (or not respond as the case may be). You could even go a step further if you want to and engage the person being difficult in a conversation about something which interests them or excites them. You can subtly and without judgement encourage them to have a happier experience also. Of course there is no need to wave the white flag of peacekeeping and become exhausted trying to douse all the emotional fires of your family and friends either! Come back to what I have already covered - give appreciation, gratitude and listen. This is often all that is needed to disperse another's negativity. We all just want to be heard, accepted and valued after all.
Use the holiday season to go a step above and beyond just coping with the challenges. Rather than trying to convert others to your way of life, prove a point or even just get through the holidays without emotional and physical battering, why not try making the holiday season extra special, fun and meaningful for both you and your loved ones. Do something unexpected like writing a special message in cards or making your family delicious, healthy, raw or cooked treats. Create a playlist of songs that will appeal to everyone and play it at the events you go to. Create a fun game you can all play together or just express your love to each of your family members individually or as a group verbally with authenticity and honesty. All of these things will take your holiday experience to a new level of inspiration, joy and love and as a consequence you will also find that there is less attention placed on your dietary and lifestyle choices as the focus has been changed. If you decide to put this tip into action, do it because you really want to give, not because you are seeking appreciation and thanks back. While you will likely get it, you don't want to set yourself up for disappointment by expecting a result you may not get. Again, focus on being happy with your own choices and actions and anything else is a nice, but not mood altering, bonus."
Want to use this article in your publication or on your website? You can, provided you include the following information with the article. (c) Copyright Casey Lorraine Thomas 2009 Casey Thomas, Raw Lifestyle Coach and Detox Counsellor, publishes "Bloom Time" - a free monthly eZine for health and energy-seekers and raw food lovers around the globe. If you're ready to look and feel amazing and awaken your Va-Va-VOOM, get your FREE report, tips and guidance now at http://www.CaseyLorraine.com