Managing Social Expectations around Holidays

mindset & mindfulness Dec 18, 2022

Have the last few weeks been crazy weeks?

Have you missed most of your scheduled exercise due to family in town?

Been traveling yourself and off your normal routine? 

I am sensing many of us are dealing with these kinds of challenges, is that right?


As a result, we might be sleeping less and are otherwise off schedule. Our eating might be off the charts: more sugar, more starch, more alcohol.  Our exercise pattern may sporadic or non-existent. 

And on top of it, the relationships and emotions around family members together make it more challenging. 


Don't get us wrong. We looove holidays and the holiday spirit. We love family all together and around us. We love spending time around holidays.


And what if some of us are not with families at all? What if some us are alone? What if holiday time brings memories of sadness? This is an emotional challenge of itself. 

The question is

What makes our own self-care so hard and difficult to stick to around holidays?

The answer might be 'meeting conventional social expectations'. 

Let's be really honest with ourselves. When are we overwriting our own body wisdom in order to do things to please someone else?

How do we know when it's ok and when it's not ok to change our self-care routine because someone else needs us? 


Do we tell ourselves, "after holidays pass, I will get back to exercise, I will get back to my healthy eating when my family leaves?" We know deep inside it feels very legitimate and reasonable but still an excuse. We know the time to be back on our routine may never come because something else "more important" comes up. 


As a result, we can feel guilty. We hope deep inside to make time to exercise, to make better food choices, to not get upset at a family member but yet can find ourselves frustrated, caught in a vicious cycle. 

I was recently asked by my fellow health coach;

what do I do to stay true to my health commitment? 

  • Take time for self-care.
  • To be silent to hear my inner voice guiding me through this time. 
  • To bring that inner knowing into presence by letting people around me know my intentions and non-negotiable needs.
  • Blocking my calendar and sticking to it.
  • To keep boundaries firm. 
  • To use mornings for to advantage. For example, get up and exercise while everyone else is still asleep.


Do you have your examples?


To drive my point home, it is possible to enjoy holidays and yet not compromise our self-care due to relaxing our own expectations or putting off our needs due to the social expectations of others. Find a strategy that works for you and stick to your boundaries by thinking forward about what you will face and planning your reponses.

When we do that, we can keep our healthy routines and still enjoy holidays and people around us, embracing the joyful holiday spirit.

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