Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Aftermath

Post Christmas Recovery

Recoup, Relax, Restore

Holiday Aftermath
So Christmas is now behind us, leaving us with all the anxiety, stress, and emotional fall-out of the holiday aftermath. It is time to return all the gifts that we are unhappy with. Deal with extra pounds we have put on during our merry making. It's hard to get through Christmas and endless family gatherings without a decent amount of alcohol; and who can resist the allure of holiday cookies and warm pie? It is officially time for post Christmas recovery. I, for one, spent the majority of yesterday sleeping and nursing my hangover that had built up over the course of four days. It was a necessary day of recuperating and relaxing after some raucous holiday parties. 
Recoup and Relax
Now that I am back in action (sitting at my usual Starbucks and no longer wearing pajamas) it is time for me to restore. When I say restore I mean it a number of ways- mentally, physically, and emotionally. It is time for me to return to my usual mental state because although it is vacation I still I have a number of responsibilities to fulfill. (I need to finally work on transferring my credits from GW to Penn, I must complete my major declaration form so that I can officially declare my Communications major, and I have an abroad application to complete in the hopes of studying in France this summer.) It is time for me to pay some much needed attention to these tasks so that I am able to return to school in January without them lingering. Additionally I would like to restore myself physically. 
"Nursing my hangover..."
After days of indulging I am not feeling like myself. It may be in my head but I seem to be experiencing the customary post Christmas bloat and I don't like it all. My jeans feel a bit snug. My face seems to be just a little bit rounder. And my stomach is descending slightly more than I remember. Not to mention that my body is confused by all the alcohol and high calorie goodies I have been consuming. My chest feels tight, my stomach is in knots- nausea, heartburn, indigestion- and my hands are slightly swollen. It is crucial that I resume to my normal eating patterns in order to restore my physicality, returning to my physical norm (for both comfort and vanity's sake.) I allowed myself to indulge and enjoy over the holiday but it is not a lifestyle I can or intend to keep up. If I continue to indulge I will certainly find myself in panic mode at the end of the break. (I am already in a semi-state of crisis as I reflect on everything I have eaten- pie, cookies, candy, wine, bacon, banana bread, hearty dinners- over the past week or so.) 
Christmas food coma-
But, I suppose it wouldn't be a true Christmas without allowing ourselves some extra treats that we wouldn't typically eat. However, this physical discomfort and concern is feeding into my emotional well-being. As a girl with an eating disorder it goes without saying that food and presumed bodily changes play games with my mind. I am hoping that restoring my physical self will help in the restoration of my emotions. But food regrets and body image woes are not the only elements that are hindering my emotional normalcy. There is a level of emotional fall-out and sadness that comes with the end of the holiday. I have been looking forward to Christmas for months now. It is has been that shining reward that kept me going during hard times; it pushed me to fight in the face challenges and struggles. The holiday filled me with cheer in the weeks leading up to it. The music, the decor, the energy- the elements of Christmas made me smile and warmed my heart. 
"Post Christmas bloat..."
The holiday aftermath lacks all of these joyful aspects and I am feeling a bit lost. What is next? What do I have to look forward to now? What is going to help me get through the difficult moments? Of course New Years is right around the corner; but New Years doesn't have the same special place in my heart as Christmas. Post Christmas recovery involves multiple things: recuperating (after days of drinking, eating, and celebrating), relaxing (once the festivities are over, the pressure has released, and we have time to settle down and take it easy), restoring (physically, mentally, and emotionally), and finding a motivator, a new sparkling reward that encourages us to move forward and overcome the challenging struggles that life throws our way. 
Post Christmas
We have a lot to do in the aftermath of the holiday and not all of it is so much fun. But lets not let ourselves get the post Christmas blues- don't lose the good cheer that Christmas brings by focusing on the regrets that come with overindulging during the holidays. Lets remember Christmas for all the wonder and magic that it creates within us and try to keep this spirit in the holiday aftermath and into the upcoming new year.

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."

- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

As I have said in this post, and many other Christmas related posts, the holiday season is somewhat magical. It brings families together. It allows us to feel the excitement and pleasure that we felt as children. It is a time of merry making, traditions, kindness, warmth, and love. As the season comes to a close we tend to forget the beauty and magic that Christmas is able to bring and instill in all of us. We move on with our lives and neglect to engage in the kindness, warmth, and love that we felt and shared during Christmas time. While we recoup, relax, and restore during our post holiday recovery lets also add one more element to our list- remember. 
Remember during your Post Christmas Recovery-
I know I have already mentioned so many things that we must do while we manage the aftermath of the holiday season. I am sorry if I have overwhelmed you with one more task. But I think that is important that we try to remember the feelings and energy we had leading up to Christmas and during our holiday celebrations. Remember the positives- excitement, joy, enthusiasm, generosity, kindness, energy, love- that collectively create an insoluble holiday spirit. Remember this spirit and try to hold onto it. With this spirit we can enjoy the pleasures associated with Christmas all year round. I am not one for New Years resolutions. (Rather than inspiring me to make positive changes in the upcoming year they tend to add pressure to my already stressful life. I can't focus on a single goal that is meant to encompass my deepest wants. I can't imagine a single desire that could extend over the length of an entire year.) 
"...warm spirit of Christmas..."
But this year I can think of an appropriate and worth while resolution that is deserving of a year of focus. This New Years Eve I plan to make a pledge to keep the warm spirit of Christmas in my heart every day of the year. I want to feel the excitement, energy, and joy that comes with Christmas on even the most of ordinary of days. I hope to share kindness, generosity, and love with others on days that hold no special meaning. This year I plan to keep "Christmas in my heart" all year round; it will serve to benefit both me as well as all those that I come in contact with.

"Many years ago I resolved never to bother with New Year's resolutions, and I've stuck with it ever since."

- Dave Beard

Usually I am like Beard; a cynic who resolved to forget the practice of creating resolutions for the upcoming year. I still understand the logic behind. Creating a resolution can be daunting. How are we supposed to form a statement for the upcoming year that is reflective of all we wish to achieve? How can we be sure that this desire will last us the whole year long? 
Just looking at this list makes me exhausted !
What if we find that as the year goes by the resolution no longer seems important or relevant to us? As daunting as creating the resolution can be, thinking about fulfilling it can be all the more stressful. What if we are unable to achieve this goal within the year? Resolutions can add undue pressure; we are setting ourselves up to attempt to achieve one large goal that is supposedly indicative of our greatest aspirations. 

Some resolutions are just infeasible-
What if we fail? Have we failed as humans? Sometimes we need more than a year in order to make our dreams a reality. Certain resolutions are simply infeasible. However, this year I would like to challenge Beard and all of this notions and questions that I have expressed. I believe that I have come up with a resolution that will remain relevant to me for the full length of the year. Ultimately my goal to remember, to maintain my Christmas spirit, to feel and emit positivity can be summed up in a single word: happiness. My resolution is one that requires no deadline. I can live up to this goal every day, all year long, and continue to strive for it in years to come. Perhaps instead of referring to it as a New Year's resolution I should regard as a resolution for life instead-

I don't know but I intend to pursue it !
I resolve to feel happiness and spread it to everyone I meet now and for years to come.

This sounds like an everlasting and feasible resolution to me. In fact, I have already been working toward it without even knowing it via this blog. My resolution has been deep within me for months now; I just failed to recognize or label it as such. In the holiday aftermath let us focus on our post Christmas recovery: recoup, relax, restore, and remember. Let us fully recover from this past Christmas and prepare ourselves for the excitement of the upcoming New Year. Let us not by cynics, like Beard, and instead formulate resolutions that seem everlasting and manageable. I urge you to fondly remember and look back upon this Christmas. While you reflect attempt to hold onto some of the positives- merriment, excitement, love- that blessed you during this festive season. Just because the holiday is over does not mean you must lose all the joys that it brought. 
Santa may have lost his hat but don't lose your spirit !
We can maintain our Christmas spirit all year round; engage in its beauty and spread its magic even on the most typical days. 
Don't let the holiday aftermath bring you down. Instead, let us look at is as an opportunity to recover and better ourselves. During this recovery period we can return to equilibrium (mentally, physically, emotionally); but we can also choose to make a change in the way we live our lives. Sustain your holiday spirit in the pursuit of a happy new year and infinite happiness in the years to come.

Best of luck in your post Christmas recovery,

For those of us still holding on to Christmas, let us remember that is traditionally 12 days-

12 Days of Christmas

Shall We Begin a New Year's Countdown?

5 Days Til 2013

If we intend to create resolutions this year lets work on making them feasible-