Happy Tuesday! Recently, I was talking to a friend about how her Easter weekend went and she was so happy that she had not done much of the usual cooking and baking but instead played with her grandkids and did some simpler, more relaxing activities. She even served a less complicated, non-traditional meal. She was clearly relieved not to have gotten caught up in all of the holiday hype that usually takes over and stresses us out. We talked about how we all can easily create our own holiday drama and stress by trying to live up to idyllic expectations that we have seen in the media or in our past.
What is it in our brains that sets us up for major anxiety around holiday traditions? Why do most of us put so much pressure on ourselves to do everything the way we remember it being done in the past or the way we think we have to do it? Can you relate? Do you put this unnecessary pressure on yourself? Do you ever want to do something different?
It’s so healthy for our minds and bodies if we examine some questionable food traditions, for example, so that we can have more simplicity and healthiness in our life. For instance, do you ever stop and think about the concept of a birthday cake? This one is huge for me personally, as I’ve never loved cake (except for my mom’s homemade chocolate cake), yet I’ve had one on most of my birthdays. Why do I eat it if I don’t really want it? Is it for everyone else? Is it something I have to do? Could I have a birthday fruit bowl instead? That way, I’d be eating something more aligned with my eating habits and I could participate in the birthday celebration ritual in a way that better serves me. Am I brave enough to start this new tradition even if others think I’m crazy? Why not?
In addition to healthier eating habits with traditions, let’s talk about the stress that you put on yourself to do the same thing the same way year after year. For most people, traditions cause us stress and overwhelm because we place a ton of pressure on ourselves to be perfect and to celebrate in a picture perfect way. Just look at people’s social media posts and you’ll see endless examples of perfect pictures showing people doing all the things with traditions: birthdays, weddings, graduations, holidays, etc.
The list is endless of what traditions you “should” continue year after year with extra effort, even at the cost of your well-being. We eat the same foods, just because we always have. We wear the same type of clothes out of habit. We keep unwanted clutter to preserve memories. All of these limiting thoughts will keep you stuck and will be an obstacle to your weight loss and health. So, get curious about your traditions and habits, evaluate them as worthy or not, and make some adjustments. Whether it’s a favorite holiday treat or the same exercise routine that you’ve had forever, ask yourself if it is currently serving your efforts for better health. If it is not, try something different, be patient, and watch how you grow in a fresh new way! I challenge you to give it a try!
You’ve got this!