There are a zillion and one blog posts that provide advice on how to stay healthy during the holidays. I don’t want to repeat what is said in those posts, but I do think I have one unique tip to offer- Think in Grey.
Heed the mainstream advice to maintain your exercise routine, stay hydrated, eat as close to your normal diet as possible-but don’t expect yourself to not falter from these tips. This time of the year is my favorite: the lights, music, hustle and bustle, cheesy Lifetime movies, and most importantly the spiritual connection I feel to all of these things. It just makes my heart happy! I don’t want to jeopardize my enjoyment of this special time because I am stuck feeling guilty about eating pie or skipping a day (or two) of training!
It is incredibly hard to be balanced or “see the grey”. Even though humans don’t SEE in black and white, we are wired to PERCEIVE in black and white. For individuals who have experienced an eating disorder, you know that this limited spectrum is what disorder thoughts THRIVE on. It’s very easy for us to categorize things in two very disparate groups, neglecting to recognize the in-between. For example, if I enjoy a cookie with my friends, my brain jumps to the thought: “Okay well you had one cookie, you don’t do this everyday, and now you’ve already eaten something ‘not good’, so reach for the stars! Have 10 more! Who cares!” These thoughts unlock a mental Pandora’s box of bad feelings and guilt.
I’m going to work really hard to keep that Pandora’s box shut tight this Holiday season. I shouldn’t feel bad for enjoying one cookie; I should savor it and enjoy it in moderation! There are definitely many special treats I can’t wait to bake this month. I’m not going to deprive myself of them! Most people are very susceptible to this All-or-Nothing Thinking (one of the 10 Cognitive Distortions). When you catch yourself having these black or white/all or nothing thoughts, I advise you to remind yourself to try to think in grey.
With that being said, I’m so looking forward to challenging myself with this task during this season.
I’ve created a Mindful Health Holiday Challenge, which is a printable calendar that has a fun health- oriented activity for each day of December!
Let me know what you are challenging yourself with this season, and if you are partaking in the Mindful Health Holiday Challenge with me!