Photo by Ana Gambuto
GROWING UP, I DREADED THANKSGIVING. It was probably the most uncomfortable I was in my own skin the entire year. The family time felt forced especially when day to day there was turmoil in my childhood home. While my friends looked forward to spending time with their parents, I had a lot of anxiety surrounding the holiday. As a teenager and well into my twenties, I had not made peace with my body or my soul’s hunger so there was a primal fear that lived in me whenever I was around a lot of food or food that made me “uncomfortable”. For many years, I would sit at the family table hardly partaking in the abundant food. Maybe I would pick at a dish here and there. But later, after everyone went to sleep, I would binge, desperately trying to fill a void that could truly only be filled emotionally. That was then.
Through much self-work from meditation to therapy to work via my Body Love Course, I have faced my fears head on and focused years on healing old pain and trauma. I am now in a place of healing and love that this controversial holiday no longer triggers me. I can look forward to the holiday and think of wonderful, nourishing dishes to make myself and my family. I look forward to instilling love and warmth around this tradition for my family and friends, but most of all myself.
There are a few tools I continue to rely on if I ever revert back to old fears. Read on.
I make it a point to meditate every morning to ground me and breathe through any anxiety that comes up. During the holidays, it’s an absolute must. This sometimes means following a guided feeling meditation or simply taking some deep conscious breathes.
Set An Intention
After meditating, I set an intention for the day. For the holidays, this may be, “May I stay grounded.” or “May I feel supported.” Identify where you feel you need the most guidance, support and love and ask the universe for it! She will deliver.
Writing down a gratitude list is one of the fastest ways to shift from negative-fueled thoughts to positive. It can be something as tiny as I am grateful for waking up today to something larger. It can also be, “I am grateful for being on the road to recovery.” Even when I felt that I haven’t “arrived” yet, every day I would thank myself for putting my healing first.
Energy is everything. And the way I reboot my energy is through exercise. Not only is it a natural boost of endorphins but exercising also jumpstarts circulation. It gets the oxygen and blood pumping through our bodies, improving mood, clarity and peace immensely. The key is to find the type of movement you love. This may change day to day. Some days I am craving a yoga flow and other days something more high impact like dance or Tracy Anderson. There are a number of at-home streaming services from amazing friends like Melissa Wood and Megan Roup that I also love to do.
Whether it’s a walk to the farmer’s market or along the water, I automatically feel reenergized when I take time to fully be present in the outdoors. A lot of the times, “home for the holidays” means being in your childhood house, which may or may not hold a lot of good or bad spiritual memories. It’s good to get outside for a breath of fresh air, if that means a walk in the backyard or around the block. Only a few steps is needed to gain clarity and recalibration.
It’s important to have spiritual boundaries. If someone or something is triggering, remove yourself from the situation. Let yourself know it’s okay to do so and let go of any judgment.
Eat and Make What You Love
One shift I made that was miraculously healing during my process was to only say yes to things I absolutely love. Make food you really love and thrive on and say no to anything that doesn’t make your heart soar. This doesn’t have to mean eating “clean” 24/7. If we are cooking, preparing, and yes, eating things that we absolutely love and bring us joy, that is only bringing more positivity and energetic vibration to our being. It shows us that we know how to identify what brings us joy and we know how to say yes to joy. The more we say yes to joy, the more we strengthen our intuition. Soon it becomes second nature to simply eat what we enjoy and stop when we are full. As children do! Set some time aside to make dishes that you really love and know will make you feel good.