The holidays are upon us. Everyone knows it. We hear the carols on the radio, see the lights glowing at night, and feel the frantic energy in the air as people shop and prepare for friends and family.
What is this season all about? Why do so many people love it? And why is this season particularly difficult for some? We all have different answers to these questions. However, based on the Christmas carols that I have been listening to on repeat, I have noticed certain themes that are present in almost every one I hear.
Family - This time of year gives us permission to gather with those we are closest to. We take time off of work, kick back, and spend quality time together. People travel like crazy during this holiday season. Why? Because going "home" and being with those we love is incredibly important and we're thankful there is a time of year allocated to this value being promoted as a high priority. This can be difficult for those who do not have close friends or family nearby or who have conflict within a family that was once peaceful. How can you show love and support to those who may feel lonely this holiday season?
Food - Once we're gathered, what do we do? We eat. We break bread together, we serve each other, we listen to stories, we cook, we clean, and we nourish our bodies. The holidays can quickly become a time of year where those who struggle with food feel tempted or guilty after indulging in special meals. We love the food and then we hate the way we feel afterwards. What if we just loved the food? What if we embraced our food comas, our full bellies, our sweet tooth? I challenge you to pay attention during your holiday meals. Try to notice how many people present talk about being "too full" or having eaten "too much" or make a comment about their weight. Can I tell you that this language subtly induces feelings of guilt and shame which then hinders your body from feeling fully satisfied and happy with the very holiday meal you were looking forward to hours before? This year maybe you will be the one who finishes their meal and states "Wow! I am so grateful to have indulged in such a wonderful gift. My body is full, nourished, and satisfied."
Comfort - Oh how many songs lyrics I could name that include snuggling, cuddling, and getting warm by a fire. This is a time of year where pajamas are cool and being in the arms of a loved one are high priority. I do believe the holidays are romanticized. But rather than this seeming like a problem, it seems like a message is being conveyed about our values. Being accepted for who we are and finding people with whom we are comfortable are high on our value list. The holidays highlight this for us. I am grateful to have a partner who encourages comfort year round. We take self-care days, long baths are as common as showers, and essential oils are diffused regularly. Promote comfort, self-acceptance, and authenticity with those around you. I guarantee they will be glad you kept the holiday spirit alive for more than 12 days.
Celebration - Whether you're celebrating the Light of the world, Santa coming down the chimney, or the fact that another year has come and gone and you're still alive and kicking, this season is full of parties, ceremonies, and formal services. WE AS PEOPLE LOVE TO REJOICE. We love to have fun, we love playfulness, and we love sharing laughs with those around us. Take note over the next couple of weeks as to what you most enjoy about your parties, dinners, services, and community gatherings. Is there a way you can engage in these activities at other times of the year?
Let me know what other themes and values you notice about this holiday season that bring you joy, tug on your heart strings, or perhaps rub you the wrong way.
May your days be merry and bright! May your socks be fluffy, your bellies be full, your hearts be open, and your smiles shared.
I am Chelsea Hester. A recent M.A. graduate from Naropa University in Boulder, CO, an even more recent resident of Greenville, SC, and a determined and passionate worker in the field of eating disorders.
I love writing. This blog is a place for me to share some of what I know, some of what I don't know, and everything in between.
Some of the topics you can expect to take center stage are body image, food, shame, insecurities, children, the media, relationships, and parenting. Additionally, topics such as mindful living, authentic expression, playfulness, the performing arts, and getting outside are interwoven into almost every conversation I have... so its safe to say you can expect that here as well.
I love life. I love growing, learning, exploring, listening, and I REALLY love laughing.
Join me here as we venture down this path of life together!
Hi everyone! I'm Chelsea!