I went totally off the rails this thanksgiving. For me that means feeling like an angst filled teenager and soothing myself with sugary foods. All my old family shit got triggered. It’s humbling because I’d like to think I’m beyond getting thrown off balance like that by now. But, it happened. I felt as deflated as a squashed jelly doughnut.
I would like to have written this on Friday, but truth is that I was in the throes of it. I’ve heard a quote from Ram Dass, “if you think you’re enlightened, go home for the holidays.” It was one of those “perfect storm” holidays, surrounded by the people who most push my buttons, along with so much sugar. Don’t get me wrong, I am not at all about feeling guilty for indulging in sweet things or obsessing over the weight. For me, it’s about the moods and low energy and my body is really sensitive to things like processed sugar. And about those people who push my buttons, I know they are my greatest teachers but sometimes, for whatever reason, those old buttons get pushed and there I am feeling overwhelmed.
I felt tired, stressed, and bloated. Down I went, into the rabbit hole of old family resentments.
And by the end of the weekend I was picking up the pieces of my cranky, cranky self and trying to feel human again. Here is how I went about it, in 7 simple steps. If you had a rough holiday, I hope they will help you too.
Here’s what you do:
Start with the body…
1. Get thee to a bowl of bone broth.
It rebuilds the lining of your intestines, which helps your digestive system and plays a huge role in keeping your immune system strong. Here’s a recipe for delicious bone broth. So tasty, comforting, and satisfying. I like mine with a few dashes of turmeric powder for added anti-inflammatory power. If you don’t have any homemade broth on hand, take-out or store bought will do. Snuggle up and let the broth do it’s thing. The stuff is magic.
2. Balance your blood sugar.
As soon as possible, once you realize that you feel off kilter and you want to get yourself feeling human again! Start with your next meal. This is a huge topic in itself but here’s a quick and dirty way to start balancing your blood sugar: Eat regular meals and eat enough protein at every meal. The standard recommendation is a palm size amount of protein, but you know your body and how much feels right. If you were eating a lot of processed sugars, you may find yourself craving more sugar and not wanting that protein. In this case you may need to override those cravings for a few days until your body is more balanced again. Along with your protein, make sure you’re getting some veggies and some fat. Yes, you need that fat!
Balancing your blood sugar which will help balance your energy levels and your moods. It may take a day or two but it will definitely help.
Yes, that kind of self-pleasure. If you’re feeling really low or cranky you may feel completely erotically uninspired. Well, my friend, think of it this way–pleasure takes discipline. Anybody can sit around feeling lousy and most people do. But you will be different and choose to slow down and connect to your own pleasure center. Did you know the clitoris is the only organ in the body whose sole purpose is pleasure? It has an estimated 8000 nerve endings dedicated to pleasure. You’ll be glad when the oxytocin starts flowing. It has been called the love hormone. It helps lower stress, has been found to lower pain levels and anxiety, among many other benefits. Basically, you’ll remember that it does indeed feel good to be alive.
Of course, sexy time with a partner or lover will do wonderfully as well but you don’t have to depend on that. So that’s no excuse!
Ok, those were for starting with the body. Now try a little something for your emotional self…
4. Call a friend.
But not just any friend. Call someone who knows you well and cares enough to remind you who you are. That friend. Vent if you must, be a mess if you feel like a mess. Be the unvarnished, human, and still love-able you.
5. Follow the triggers.
Follow the thread. Where did you get triggered? Where did someone do or say something that threw you off? At what point did you disconnect from yourself?
You may ask, why would I want to dwell on the pain? So and so is a pain in the ass and that’s all there is to it. But, you’re evolved enough to know that it all comes back to you. If you feel miserable, it doesn’t really matter what someone else did or said because only you can determine how you respond and only you can be responsible for your own state of happiness or misery.
Following the triggers means mustering enough presence to slow down and feel, tell the truth, feel the pain, and forgive whoever needs forgiving…starting with your self.
A great process to help follow that thread to a place of peace, check out Byron Katie’s the work.
Now that you’ve tended to your emotions, let your surroundings support you…
6. Your outer space represents your inner space.
When you think of it this way, vacuuming a room or doing the dishes can become quite therapeutic and even relaxing. Clearing your desk can help clear your head.
De-clutter one drawer or one corner and notice how your internal state begins to stabilize. Try setting a timer for just 5 minutes.
And of course, connect with your soul…
7. All it takes is a gesture.
Start small. light a candle. take a walk around the block and play a game of noticing one theme of beauty that you appreciate. I’ve been really paying attention to birds lately. You could walk and notice all the doors, or all the shades of green…you get the idea. Make a list of everything you appreciate in your life, from the simplest little thing to the most profound.
8. Give yourself a break.
That is all. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to a tired toddler, or to your best friend. The holidays can be a perfect storm of family dynamics and stress. So, give yourself a break if you didn’t handle it perfectly. And create your own list. What’s your tried and true way of getting out of the madness and back into flow?