Photo by Alive Studios
It is that time people, the time of year we look forward to in some ways and loathe in many many other ways. It’s the holiDAZE! I want to give you a few tips from my humble experience on how to not only survive, but rather THRIVE.
In my huge Italian family (my mom is one of 12 kids!), it was usually mayhem and flat out weirdness. Snapshot…I have one uncle that is 72 with a 35 year old girlfriend who happens to be my brother’s, who is mentally challenged, nurse, which of course pisses my mom off. A few of my other uncles are recovering addicts but have some personality issues happening. A few others haven’t quite hit the recovery stage yet. My mafia (yep) uncle (not blood related, but married to my mom’s sister) always fuels family drama over family money when he shows up. The millions (it feels like) of cousins are running around haphazardly, half of which I don’t know. One year we even had illegitimate cousins that found my uncle over the Internet show up, much to my Aunt’s (his wife) dismay. And me, mid/late thirties, single, no kids, which is, practically blasphemy to my East Coast Italian roots. Yes, this is my amazing, dynamic, family whom I absolutely (now) adore.
The holidays are not about gifts and over indulgence, but rather are meant to be a time to connect and celebrate with family and friends many of whom we don’t get to see very often. While it has taken some time, instead of loathing the whole experience, I decided to set myself up for success.
After much practice, I learned how to ROCK the holidays and here are 7 tips to help you navigate this holiday season.
Get Real. It is so easy to do the “hug and roll” as I like to call it with some of my kooky relatives or cousins I hardly know, but ya’ know what, these people are my tribe, my blood, and when given the chance you might discover they have some interesting things they to say. I sometimes fear they are going to judge me on being single, or living so far away from home, not having any kids yet, blah blah blah, but when I actually connect in, make eye contact, and talk about what I AM doing (instead of what I am not) I begin to notice the beauty in the conversation blossoming. The simple act of speaking my truth and consciously listening holds space for a connection. These moments of connection provide a bridge to our next meeting, these allow me to pick up the conversation next time I see them instead of pretending to look through them or kissing the air as I walk by and it starts to make the gatherings less torturous and more interesting. So stop stressing and just get real, you may just find a deeper connection.
Acceptance. Ok, so there is some dysfunction in your family, but this particular set was handed to you for a reason so time to accept it and see what you can learn from it. Try your best not to judge or get caught up in the drama and just (I know this may sound like a stretch) LOVE. Try to capture that acceptance you cultivate in your yoga or other healthy lifestyle practice into reality. Picture love radiating out from your heart center and enveloping your family and accept who they are. You all came together for a reason and if we can just let our walls down and love and accept one another for whom we are, I guarantee we will learn a whole lot about ourselves.
Listen. Most of the time, people just want to be heard and acknowledged but if you fuel the fire by adding to the drama and being overly gossipy, it just builds walls and causes separation. Listen, and maybe try to Be The Change, or be the bridge that starts to move family closer together. If it feels right, as you listen, help offer kind solutions instead of adding to negative feelings.
Boundaries. Don’t over commit, just DON’T. Make sure you leave some time for yourself in the day to connect with YOUR inner self, to reflect, to move your body, stretch, go on a hike or run. It will give you the energy you need to be ON more then usual, keep you from feeling sluggish and help let out any pent up emotions.
Breathe. Before you make the sideways comment or lash out at mom for repeating the same story once again or for telling you what you need to be doing or who you should talk to…use that amazing breath of yours. It is profound what 10 deep breaths will do for your inner body, your outer glow and for an attitude adjustment.
Drink. Besides the wine! Lots of water, hydration will keep you regular and energized plus move any added toxins through your system.
Let Go. Don’t be too rigid around the holidays. If you eat or drink too much, it’s ok and totally normal. Let it go, it isn’t going to blow your whole health regimen. I guarantee you. Just stick to everything else above and I guarantee you will be back on track in no time and in the mean time, enjoy yourself! Find humor, take pleasure in the lack of regimen and expect the unexpected.
As I practiced these tips to rocking my holidays, I have been blown away by how dynamic these people are. All of them outspoken, most living pretty wildly-yet successfully, many of them are flat our brilliant, most of them own there own companies, and I realize wow, I am A LOT like them. I just chose to move away and did a lot of work on myself so it isn’t as obvious but I am clearly cut from the same cloth and if you put a whole bunch of me 10 years ago in the room, you would probably get the same energy. So I am proud of where I have come from, where I am and where I am going and my family, this eclectic manic group of people that I see on the holidays has helped me discover that. I am forever grateful….
So, now as the holidays approach I say BRING IT!
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