Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Holiday Hangover

I am hung-over. Literally and figuratively. My body feels like it is in crisis from excessive amounts of booze and food over the last week. And my mind is crying “Mommy, it’s over!”. I get a little bit depressed in the days after Christmas. There is such a big lead-up to it, the excitement is almost overwhelming. And then, POOF!, it’s all over and I’m left feeling a little bit lost. Like, I’ve been celebrating Christmas for the last month, now what the hell do I do?!

I am using yoga as a cure-all for both of my hangovers. It felt so great to step back onto my mat this week. I had intentions of practicing at least once throughout Christmas, but it just didn’t happen. With 22 people in the house it was damn near impossible to find a quiet place to practice, let alone the time. So by Tuesday, after an almost week-long hiatus from my beloved yoga, I was feeling like a glutton and completely un-centered.

It’s been a slow start. I am getting back to practicing everyday, and eating more healthily. My body is used to overindulging, so I am hungry all the time. I am trying to fill up with fruits and vegetables, but with all the goodies from Christmas still around, it’s been a challenge! I am feeling much more grounded now too, and the holiday blues are all but gone. I am able to look at Christmas for what it was, smile at the memories, and remember that it is up to me to keep the glorious feeling of Christmas alive throughout the year.

Since my husband is still on holidays, we are still in party mode. But with a little yoga everyday, and a switch back to my regular diet, I believe I can get right back on track.

Until New Year’s …. and my birthday …. ah, crap.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Here we are. Christmas is days away and I am super stoked. I love being with family (there’ll be 22 of us jammed into one house), eating, drinking, playing games and watching people open the gifts I chose for them. As I’m sure we all know, Christmas is so much more than that though. It is a time of year full of an array of different emotions: happiness, excitement, giddiness, sadness, depression and even anger.

The holiday season always conjures up memories of Christmases past and gone, leaving one nostalgic for the starry-eyed feeling we all had growing up, when we awoke Christmas morning. Though it’s sometimes hard to invoke those same emotions only a child could truly hold, there is one sentiment that rivals those feelings we all, as adults, could easily summon if we really sat back and thought of everything that we have - that of gratitude.

My husband and I have had a very tough year. As most of you know, in March we lost a son when I was 5 months pregnant. We named him Nate Clayton Bissonnette, a name we had been reserving for a son since our first daughter was born. At times, it has been a challenge to get out of bed in the morning. The loss we feel is immense. Our beautiful girls have helped to pull us through the darkness, and all we can feel is love and pride when we look at them.

Though my heart is still breaking, I have been able to embrace the Christmas spirit almost as fully as if Nate were still here. Our son has given us an indispensable gift - gratitude. We are so very thankful for the beautiful family that we have. Though I wish he could be in my arms this Christmas, I will forever be grateful to Nate for the ways I have learned to live so much more fully since he came into, and left, our lives. We have a special angel up in heaven this Christmas.

So, thank you to my son; thank you to my wonderful husband and beautiful girls; thank you to my ever-supportive and loving family; thank you to God for the many, many gifts he has bestowed upon us; and thank you to my readers, for listening to me rant and allowing me to throw my (perhaps) misguided opinions on to you.

If nothing else, I wish for us all this Christmas the capacity to be grateful for everything that we hold and a humble knowing that we already have everything we need.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So Cry About It, Why Don’t Yah?

Though I’ve been feeling pretty good about the Christmas season upon us, I have had a heavy feeling in my chest lately. My shoulders feel like they are in vice grips, my neck stiff as a board and my jaw is wound up tighter than a nun’s … you catch my drift. I guess I am a little stressed out, and didn’t even realize it. I decided I needed to take action if I wanted to enjoy the holiday season.

A girlfriend and I discussed how sometimes you just need a big cry to let everything out, sometimes things you hadn’t even realized you were feeling. I’m a big cry baby. I cry when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m really pissed off and when I’m completely overwhelmed. It makes me feel better. And as much as I already do it, I think I should do it more often.

Tuesday night I had a big cry-fest. I’ve been avoiding it for a while. But every time I went to bed I felt depressed, that I needed to get something off my chest. So, I sat down with some pictures and some poems that I knew would upset me, and I cried. I sobbed actually. Everything that had been on my mind lately (and stored in my shoulders and jaw) came pouring out of my eyes. And the next day I felt much better.

I don’t know why people avoid crying like it’s the plague. It’s so good for you. It doesn’t show that you are weak. It shows that you are strong enough to bare your feelings. There is such a focus lately on people being in control of their entire world. That we should embrace the “bad times” and thank them as teachers as we journey through life. Perhaps this is true, but what about our other feelings? Of sadness, anger or resentment. Should those be ignored? I don’t think so, Tim. When something shitty happens, you should be upset! It’s the most natural thing to do. You can’t pretend that you are totally fine with whatever is going on and just ‘accept it’. You need to undergo those so-called negative emotions in order to work through your feelings towards the situation. Then, you can start to look at the incident as a learning experience and so on.

If you want to enjoy the good times in life, you need to experience the bad times. If you choose to ignore those feelings, they’ll end up in your shoulders, or present as a headache or an illness. Your body will suffer, and you will eventually be forced to come face to face with whatever is going on. So why not do it now? Sit down and have a good cry. If you have a hard time crying, maybe try some heart opening yoga poses - those always make me cry. Or watch Bambi, damn movie gets me every time.

“We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.” - Marcel Proust.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Christmas 15

You’ve heard of the “Freshman 15”? It is the typical 15 pounds that freshmen put on during their first year of college/university after being able to drink excessive amounts of booze with no parents to scold them, and living off of a strict diet of pizza and Ichiban noodles. I think the holiday season can compare to an entire freshman year of over-indulging all wrapped up into a short 30 or so days.
When December 1st hits (or maybe before) so does the weight gain. With Christmas parties for work, get-togethers with friends, kids’ Christmas concerts, New Year’s Eve, etc. there are a plethora of opportunities for a person to engorge. But I don’t think ‘an extra 15 pounds on my ass’ is at the top of anyone’s holiday wish list.
So, how do you enjoy the spirit of the holidays without making a complete glutton of yourself? Try a few of these handy tips:
1. Eat! Healthily. Though we should all try to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet all of the time, it is especially important during the holidays. Number one, with so much on the go, you need to keep your energy up. Fruits and vegetables are key to keeping up with the energy-boosting vitamins you need to get you through your 12 hour shopping spree, not to mention the Vitamin D we miss from such little sun. If you know you have a party coming up and don’t want to have to hold back too much, (seriously you wanna have fun, right?!) have a smoothie for lunch and/or a salad for supper that day. Try cutting back on calories during the day if you know you’re going to be indulging that night - it’ll help to balance things out.
2. Get your rest. People tend to eat a lot more during the day if they are tired, and it’s usually not the healthiest of foods. I know if I miss out on some ZZZ’s I usually turn to food to keep me going. If you’re tired from being out late the night before, try taking a nap before you reach for a Red Bull and potato chips.
3. Do some yoga! Obviously, any kind of exercise is going to help you keep the weight off. Though it’s hard when you are so busy, try to maintain your regular practice. It will be so beneficial not only to keep you looking trim, but to calm your nerves after a frenzied trip to Wal-Mart. Also, try doing some yoga before going out to one of the many parties I’m sure you have. Exercise gets your body and your metabolism fired up. You can start burning the calories away before you even ingest them! The next day, do some more yoga. Include some deep twists to help detoxify your body and wring out any of the junk you put into it the night before.
4. Have fun! If you are stressing out about the holidays, then stop! Holidays are not supposed to be stressful! If there is something bothersome about the Christmas season, then you need to change how you do things or maybe how you look at things. Don’t worry! Enjoy your parties! Eat, drink and be merry, if that’s what you want to do! You don’t have to pig-out to enjoy yourself. But don’t hold back so much that you don’t have any fun. Personally, I’d much rather have a little jelly belly and enjoy the food and spirits involved with this time of year, than have tight abs and a rock-hard ass and not partake in any pleasantries.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Letter To Santa

I helped my girls write their letters to Santa Claus last week. I showed my oldest how to spell every word so she could write it herself and wrote the Little One’s out for her after she drew a picture for Santa. They asked for the typical things - Barbie, a ball, puzzles, a toboggan (I may have suggested that one!). My youngest asked for her two back teeth so her Mommy could sleep through the night again - wasn’t that nice of her?! The little dear. I tried to suggest they ask for world peace, but the Barbie won out!

Anyways, after we sent them out, I started to wonder what I would ask Santa for for Christmas, if I was to write him a letter. World peace sounds wonderful, but perhaps a bit of a daunting task. Maybe I could ask for more understanding and compassion for my fellow man … Heck, if everyone got that for Christmas, then world peace would surely follow!

As I think of it a little more, I realize that letters to Santa are typically quite selfish. Usually children ask for things for themselves, mostly material. I think that’s okay though, obviously for children who are selfish by nature, but maybe for us adults too. What’s wrong with wanting things for yourself?

And so I have been inspired to write a letter to Santa Claus, not for my children, but for me. Why the hell not?! I want things too! In it I will include material things, like those sweet mukluks I’ve been eyeing up, or perhaps another gadget for my kitchen. But I will also include some things on my list that can’t be bought from a store; like self-acceptance - to learn to love myself more for who I am, on the inside and outside.

I’m not sure what else I will ask for. I still have to find some me time to sit down and write the letter. But, I am really looking forward to making a list of things that I want!

I recommend you do the same. And it doesn’t have to be addressed to St. Nick. Write your letter as a prayer to God, or send it to the Universe, or to yourself. Write down the things you want; from life; from yourself; from Sears. Include it all! Sometimes we don’t truly realize what it is we want until we can write it on paper and see it with our own two eyes.

When you’re done, read it, then put it away somewhere safe. Then come back to it in a week, a month, a year. Read it again and see if you still want these things. If you do, and you don’t “have” them yet, make it happen! Don’t sit back and hope things will manifest out of thin air. Figure out what YOU need to DO, and do it!

You can get whatever it is you want. You may have to realize though, that what you want, is sometimes what you already have.