christmas vacation

Christmas Vacation is my all-time favorite movie. Everyone in my family knows that effective November 1st, that movie is fair game and will likely be played multiple times before January 1st.  It is the greatest movie ever, and if you’d like to argue this fact with me, feel free to post in the comments, but I can assure you that you’re wrong. 

One of my favorite parts of the movie is the look of horror on the Griswold family’s faces when the in-laws/grandparents ring the doorbell. It is the epitome of the holiday season. We’re excited and make these grandiose plans but when the time comes for the relatives to arrive, parties to happen, gifts to be purchased (and wrapped), decorations to go up, wheat/egg/dairy/soy/gluten free class treats to be made (shall I go on and on and on???), that look of terror comes over our faces and stress overcomes us.  What a shame that the days we celebrate gratitude and our Savior’s birth tend to be some of the most stressful of our entire year. (cue Ellen Griswold: “I don’t know what to say except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.”)

Stress: good or bad? Both? Yes, it can be both. But it’s a fine line; too little and you’re bored/too much and you’re an overwhelmed maniac. We tend to classify ourselves in the latter category from November to December, don’t we?   Some of us handle stress well.  Some of us don’t. Some overeat. Some don’t sleep. Some make to-do lists. Some hold it all in and explode a la Clark W. Griswold upon opening his ‘Jelly of the Month’ club membership. (Should have probably prefaced that with “spoiler alert” but that movie came out in 1985 so if you haven’t seen it by now, that kind of feels like your fault)

So how to handle this unwelcome, but seemingly inevitable, stress-infused season? Well, I wish I had the answers (and so does my family) but maybe I can provide a little insight from the health and wellness side.  I can’t make your mother-in-law more tolerable at the Thanksgiving table or shorten the 4 hour elementary school Christmas program but I can tell you this: don’t compound your stress with more self-inflicted stress. AKA: take as much stress off yourself as you can. It’s ok if you miss a few workouts, or eat a Christmas cookie; don’t beat yourself up over the teacher gift that didn’t get wrapped Pinterest style, don’t deprive yourself of your favorite holiday foods. You will keep yourself much healthier if you can brush off some of those self-induced stressors than if you tried to add them to your already full holiday schedule. Don’t mistake this as a cop-out to just chill until January 1st and then recommit to being healthy, but trying to lose your last 10lbs or attempting to set multiple PRs in the gym, or attend 5 training sessions a week can be fool’s game if you know that your life is about to get quite hectic. Now is the time to enjoy your family, enjoy meals with your loved ones, make memories, and try to shirk as much of the stress as you can this season. You’ll be much happier and healthier by giving yourself permission to actually ENJOY these next few weeks…side note: it’s also a good time to practice that novel concept of ‘self-forgiveness’ I wrote about a few months ago!

In closing, remember, being mindful of your health and fitness goals is important.  Make time for the gym; make good decisions at your family meals but don’t stress over it. Don’t waste your time making every acquaintance a homemade Pinterest-worthy gift. Spend that time working on your trainer’s gift—or just send wine. 

Happy Holidays 😊