The holiday season has just started. Are you looking forward to celebrating with your family and friends? Or do you dread this time of the year, because it means more obligations, business and stress for you? One of the most common reasons why you may feel more stressed and overwhelmed during the holidays is that you are not honoring your internal rhythm. Your personal rhythm consists of the mental, emotional, physiological and behavioral patterns, which allow you to move through life in the most effective and sustainable ways.
You might be a person, who needs to gently approach the day and doesn’t want to talk to anyone before 10 AM. You might be someone, who needs to eat a light meal four times per day, or follow a consistent work-out routine to feel centered and energized. Or your inner introvert might require you to spend a few hours every day quietly by yourself, before you feel ready to engage with others again. You may rather burn the mid-night oil, than leaving anything on your to-do-list undone. You may sleep better when you go to bed early or you may need a nap in the middle of the day. When you are tuned into your internal rhythm, you feel in sync with your life. Work, appointments, taking care of the family, friends and yourself all happens without struggle or resistance.
We all have a personal rhythm, we just don’t always pay attention to it. The holidays are especially challenging, because we tend to focus more on the desires and expectation of others, than listen to what feels “right” to us. We tend to throw off everything that keeps us balanced and sane; we stop working out, spend more time in the shopping malls than at home and usually eat and drink way too much. Any personal needs get quickly pushed aside to attend to those of our loved ones. No wonder that after weeks of overextending ourselves, come January the “annual post-holidays hang-over” sets in.
Losing your internal rhythm usually doesn’t happen all at once, but goes through different stages. It may start with a simple worry of not being able to get everything you are supposed to do done; you compare yourself with others and find them so much more proficient and capable than yourself. To compensate for these “shortcomings” you make your to-do-list longer, your plate fuller and move faster through the day. Being busier makes you neglect the routines and habits that keep you centered and grounded; you may stop meditating, skip your work-out and cancel your massage appointment. Instead you push yourself harder, sleep less and fuel yourself with sugar and caffeine. You no longer move at your own pace, plan ahead and feel in charge of your day. Instead you franticly run around playing catch up with life and although you completely exhaust yourself, you don’t feel that you get anything accomplished. Soon you feel wired-tired, overwhelmed, cranky and snap at everyone around you, which only makes you feel more anxious, insecure and disconnected from yourself – and your life.
So how can you first of all find and then stay in your natural rhythm no matter what the circumstances?