By Nicole Patience, MS., RD, LDN, CDE, CEDS
The holidays are a time to reflect on and acknowledge the people in our lives who have supported us over the past year.
We often honor them with a visit, a card, a gift, or a shared experience.
This romantic reflection of taking the time to offer thanks towards loved ones can sometimes show up in a pressured, “get it done” way via online shopping or gift cards.
A feeling of relief can ensue after checking another task off a long list of to-dos. After all, the holidays can add a layer of financial stress, work deadlines, relationship anxiety, and emotions such as grief from the loss of a loved one closer to the surface. This time can feel like a heavy lift. Gifting during the holidays can feel like a burden when added to our other day-to-day responsibilities.
Amidst it all, the holiday gifting to people who support us over the year carries on.
What would it be like to shift this reflection on gratitude for the outside support you have felt over the past year and to turn your reflection inward? What would it be like to take time to name and feel the ways you have been able to depend on your physical body over this past year? How could you appreciate how your body has contributed to:
- Managing your incoming stress?
- Incorporating activity?
- Fueling with food?
- Caring for your inner child?
This is not a time for perfectionistic thinking. The act of offering compassion and appreciation for our imperfect body exactly for how it is today is a gift that you deserve. You are worthy of this affirmation. Recognize ways you cared for your body, however great or small, as something to celebrate, no matter your comfort level in your own skin and whatever ways you were able to do this.
In addition, take time to reflect, recognize, and feel gratitude for the ways that your body was there for you even when you weren’t so attentive to its needs or used food to cope with difficult feelings.
Your body may have persevered when your nutrition plan fell through and you delayed lunch a few hours until you hit submit on a project. Perhaps your body was dependable when you pushed past your comfort level to finish up the last stretch of a walk, swim, run, hike, or bike ride. Maybe your body withstood the impact of a binge after feeling out of control with ice cream during a long stressful day or coped with feeling uncomfortably full after a Thanksgiving meal.
The ways your body relentlessly is dependable matters. Remember to direct some holiday spirit and gratitude for what your body holds and the way it is there for you on good days and hard days.
Remember to check-in with yourself to explore what you need in order to meet your social, emotional, and physical needs during this holiday season. This could look like practicing grounding exercises such as a mindful pause or a meditation on breath, hanging out with a friend who you find restores your sense of wellbeing, journaling a reflection on gratitude, taking an unplanned nap, bowing out of an event when you need downtime, or lowering overall expectations of what you plan to accomplish.
Bring this compassion for your body, and how hard it has worked for you over the past year, into the holiday season. Consider taking just a bit of extra time to slow down and to respond to the needs of your body as a gift to yourself. Nobody else may see the impact, but your body will surely rejoice and be glad you did.
Please feel free to reach out to us if you’re needing assistance.