• Andrea Jones

Self-care through the holidays

I don't know about you, but the holidays can be a very stressful time. So many events to go to, gifts to buy, food to prepare, and family dynamics that can bring out the worst in people... just to name a few reasons. In so many ways, I think we lose the heart of tradition and WHY we are doing these things by trying to fit in so much in- and for what?

Over the years, we have really simplified our holiday celebrations. Originally, this was not by choice really- we had some very stressful events due to my mother's mental illness that led to "taking a break" from family gatherings. While this was extremely painful at first, we began to really love holidays where we could do what felt best to us, and evaluate what was really not necessary in order to enjoy the holidays. Then, when our oldest developed food allergies and the inability to enjoy all of those things we once did (cookies, frosting, holiday treats and all the sensory input) and partially because we just felt like we were losing the meaning of the celebrations by simply trying to do too much.

I have noticed recently with all of the things I am doing to care for our oldest and her medical needs, I have not been intentional about my own needs and taking care of myself. I find myself exhausted, stressed out, emotional and snappy- which surely helps NO ONE! I am not a better mother for sacrificing myself in this way. Can you relate?

Add onto the that the holidays and it would make a perfect storm.

I am working on being very intentional this year in protecting my emotional capacity, providing warm and fun traditions for the girls while also focusing on what is most important and what adds value to our family.

So here is my practical advice on not just surviving the holidays but thriving through them!

Make a list and check it twice: No I'm not talking about a list to Santa. I'm talking about making a list of what you value. Go over it with your spouse and children. Find out what they love most about the holidays! You might be surprised that it isn't about all the parties and celebrations, and it likely isn't all the gifts they will receive (although who doesn't love fun gifts?!), it's about what brings value to the family unit, what makes them feel loved, and what inspires charity.

My list looks something like this:

Quality time: I value traditions that bond us together. Every year, we walk our favorite street that is decorated top to bottom in Christmas lights. We buy our daughters favorite allergy friendly hot cocoa, and enjoy the music and each other. This is relatively cheap, and brings lasting memories! 

We gift old toys to a charity or goodwill or other organization. This instills in our kids that Christmas is not all about GETTING but about giving. I am looking into places where they can see the need of those they give to in a very tangible way. Once they are both old enough, we plan to take them to food kitchens where we can serve on a holiday together. 

Make delicious food. This will forever and always be on our list because there is just something about enjoying food with those you love that brings warmth to our hearts. My dad loved making breakfast food and he made it every Christmas morning. He is gone now, so I love continuing on that tradition with my kids.  It has become a little more challenging due to food allergies, but we have still managed to make things FUN and comforting in the midst of the challenges. This is one of our favorite recipes to enjoy! You will need to purchase the book "Celebrations" by Danielle Walker. I promise it is well worth the money for the allergy friendly recipes it has for all major celebrations! If making a bunch of food stresses you out then NIX IT! Seriously... it is not worth the stress if you're just cooking out of obligation ;) Get the kids in solved in helping bake and prepare food. It's a great way to share the load of food preparation, as well as pique their interest in cooking. 

Prioritizing those we love and bring value to our lives. This may mean that we don't attend EVERY party we are invited to and that's okay! Make a list of those you love to spend time with and those that bring nourishment to your own life. Prioritize those things and let some others fall to the wayside. You don't have to please everyone, and your sanity is important! If you find that you are hanging around toxic people just because you feel obligated, it's time to reevaluate. 

Eliminate sugar. I know this sounds impossible during the holidays, but I promise you it's not. I feel SO MUCH BETTER when I limit processed carbohydrates and eat minimal sugar in the form of processed goods. I handle stress better, am less irritable and just in general a better person. Remember: Physiological stress leads to emotional stress. 

Oil up every day. Life is stressful! There are so many things we experience that are entirely out of our control, however, we CAN control how we respond to them! Here is one of my favorite stress-reducing, amazing smelling roller blends! Use it every day on yourself, your kids, your husband or sprits it on someone who has embodied the grinch ;) (Jk don't do that unless you want to get punched in the face... but maybe find some ways to GIFT this recipe to someone who clearly needs it! 

You can grab your oils here!

I get my roller bottles here.

Let me know how you like these recipes and I'd love to hear how YOU take care of yourself during the holiday season!

To your wellness,

Andrea Jones

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