The month of December is all about spending time with our families and our friends. It’s also about keeping our old holiday traditions and starting new ones, and about making memories. Capturing moments to remember. Often, we tend to focus on the gifts. I’ve never given myself any gifts for Christmas though, so this year I thought about what I really want. And I decided that I would give myself these 5 gifts.
Gift 1: To continue to focus on my health and fitness goals daily during the month of December.
It’s easy to let the busyness of the season interfere with my health and fitness. My health and healthy eating has to remain priority. I’m going to continue to log my foods daily and exercise 3 to 4 days per week. I’m going to meal prep and meal plan and eat the way I know I should.
Of course, food is a huge part of this season for a lot of us, as there are Christmas foods that are ingrained in our memories and traditions that we love, crave, and look forward to all year. There’s a lot of guilt that comes along with this time of year as I try to set limits for myself on how much I’ll indulge versus how much I’ll abstain. Somehow, I always manage to disappoint myself.
So what is a reasonable boundary when it comes to Christmas treats? Obviously it can’t be the same as my normal goal or I will be setting myself up for failure. I’ll need to give myself some more breathing room, so maybe an 80/20 goal, or just a weight maintenance instead of a weight loss goal.
The important thing is December will not become a cheat month. I owe it to myself after a year and a half of hard work and having lost 115 pounds, not to allow bad habits not to creep back into my life in such a big way.
Gift 2: To Pamper Myself.
I need to learn to reward myself with non-food rewards. And also non-monetary rewards. I will often buy myself things and treat myself to meals and indulgences when I think I deserve them or have earned them, whether that is by having “deprived” myself for a certain period, “behaved” for a certain period, or even just had a difficult day. None of these are really appropriate.
Yes, a treat meal is something that should be scheduled for the weekend when you’ve followed your plan for the week. But this doesn’t need to fall in the pampering category. I should pamper myself because I value myself and because I feel like I am worth it. I should take the time for myself to recharge. Buying new clothes or a new purse is not really pampering myself either. It’s spending money on myself, yes. But is it pampering myself? No.
What I need to do, is take some time to myself and do something for myself. Maybe it’s by myself. Maybe it’s with a friend. Either way, it needs to be relaxing. Something that I will really feel better after having done. It’s not about spending money. It’s about the experience. The relaxation. The time away. A fun lunch. A mani/pedi. A massage. If it were summertime I could go sit in the park and read. A trip to the bookstore and the coffee shop for some hot tea, or actually just the library because I’m the queen of the nerds.
I can’t keep saying I don’t have time for this because that’s an excuse. I will make time for this. In fact, just to validate my commitment to my gifts to myself I got my nails done yesterday in some gorgeous holiday sparkles. I’ll post them on Instagram.
Gift 3: To set realistic expectations for myself.
Just like I’m setting some realistic expectations when it comes to my eating, meaning, I know I won’t be eating quite as well as I usually do, and I accept that, I have to set realistic expectations for the other areas of my life. Especially in the month of December, I cannot do everything. I cannot be the working wife and perfect mom and plan all the parties and attend all the events and make all the food and hand make the gifts and everything else that I think I should be able to do. Forget it. I am not supermom. If you feel this way, you need to give yourself permission to forget it to.
Honestly, it gets a bit ridiculous. This is supposed to be a season that we enjoy our experiences and our friends and our family. Sometimes I get so many bright ideas that I want to make homemade gifts for all my kids teachers and for my whole family, and all my co-workers, and I want to make food from scratch and really feel like my kids are getting the full Christmas experience. The truth is, they’ll enjoy the holiday whether I go crazy with matching family Christmas PJ’s or not, just like they’ll enjoy the holiday whether we go into debt buying them gifts or not. The same principal applies. We shouldn’t overextend ourselves. It doesn’t bode well!
It’s OK to say no to things. Whether it’s to your kids or to invitations. It’s also OK to say no without an explanation. You can say I won’t be attending this year, or we won’t be able to exchange gifts this year, or whatever it is without feeling the need to add an apology or a qualifier or an explanation of any kind. It’s your decision. Just make it and stick to it. You don’t have to have 10 Christmas parties every year. People will get over it. They really will.
Gift 4: To be present.
I want to live in the moment this month. Normally, I’m at work thinking about what I need to do when I get home and at home thinking about what I forgot to do at work. Often, wherever I am, I’m not really there. My kids will be telling me something and I’ll catch myself saying “Uh-huh, Mm hmm.” and nodding and not really knowing what they’re saying. I need to listen to these little guys. What they have to say is important. Even if it is about Pokemon and Peppa pig. At some point they’ll stop wanting to tell me things, and I’ll have to beg them to talk to me. They aren’t going to be little for long and when they’re all grown up I am going to regret the time I didn’t spend with them when they were.
I need to enjoy each moment while I’m in it and stop with the constant need to be doing something whether it’s checking emails on my phone or working on Pinterest or blogging or whatever it is. I am never fully present. I need to find a healthy balance between all of the areas in my life so that I can really focus on what I’m doing when I’m doing it. It’s really not fair to myself or anyone else when I can only apply half of my focus at a time.
“Oh, look, mom’s on her phone,” is my family’s favorite joke about me. I know it’s kind of sad. They don’t know I’m working. They think I’m playing Panda Pop all the time. Maybe I do play games sometimes, but that’s only when I get really anxious.
Better time management and scheduling is all I need to really take control of this. That and giving myself permission to put the technology down and just relax.
Gift 5: To think about the things that matter.
I spend a lot of time worrying about things that never happen, and I spend a lot of energy focusing on things I don’t want. I spend a lot of time and energy worrying about what others think of me. This month, my final gift to myself is to really make it a priority to think about the things that are important to me. Not to think about petty things, or material things, or other people’s opinions. I’m going to take this time to focus on my goals, my plans, and my creative ideas. The things that I do want instead of the things that I don’t.
I’m also going to take this time to show my boys what really matters. That Christmas isn’t just about receiving gifts under the tree, but it’s also about spending time together as a family, and doing kind things for others.
I really want to make this Christmas season different from others in the past. I don’t want to have guilty feelings associated with spending too much money, being too busy, over committing, or eating too much and undoing all of the strides I’ve made toward my weight loss goal. I really want to spend time with my family and to put them first, and also to make more of a commitment to put myself first. It’s a big change. It’s an important change though. Maybe it’s something you want to try in your own life. Think about what you’d like to receive for Christmas. Not under the tree though. Something you can give yourself that money can’t buy. See what you come up with.
Let me know what you think, or how I can help!