Fighting holiday frazzle with E.A.T.S.

photo 32 300x225 Fighting holiday frazzle with E.A.T.S.

just me and the fur-baby.

Before the Tornado arrived on the scene I was prideful.

I boasted about the fact Hanukkah is a low stress, minor holiday.

I shared with frazzled friends how Thanksgiving wasnt a huge, over-the-top deal for my family.

And, since we dont celebrate Christmas, December 25th was a looked-forward-to oasis of calm I *treasured.*

Before the Tornado I was prideful.

I needed no acronym to propel me through the final few weeks of the year as I pretty much rocked them responsibility & commitment-free.

To my chagrin and delight (dagrin?) with the addition of a child comes added hectic days and responsibilities.

I now I look to E.A.T.S (the acronym not drowning my frazzle in latkes) to get me through and, since I like to think everyone is as I am, Im here to share my E.A.T.S.-solution with you.

Each day is a new one. I get up, I do the best I can, I go to bed, I get up the next and try again. No matter what transpired over the course of 24 hours Im never as far from my healthy living path as my very next choice. As I told my clients: if you woke up & saw 3 three tires on your car slashed would you impale the 4th? (NO!) For our purposes each morning is that 4th tire. We’re gifted a fresh 24 hours & have an opportunity to make new choices.

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Each morning is a fresh start.

Always put YOU first. Make time for self-care & you’ll resent the busyness & OTHERness of your day less. Be it N.E.A.T., traditional exercise or other self-care–bitterness from *only* doing unto others is worse than not exercising/eating trashtastic foods. Even 5 daily self-care minutes over the next 3 weeks will add up to a healthier, happier you as we launch 2014.

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sneaking away for quiet, reflective ME-time.

Triggers. Identify your triggers (to overeat, to become stressed, to grow angry or resentful etc) before the season gets crazy. Whether it’s a seemingly innocuous family member’s comment of oh I thought this was the year you were going to look for a new job or what feels like a pointed accusation of I see you didnt lose weight as you’d planned. Identify triggers/rehearse how you’ll respond/deflect instead of reacting with negative or self-destructive behavior.

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Ive looked backward not the forward Id planned.

Set yourself up for success. Your regular routine might put Olympic athletes to shame—but the next few weeks are not ‘regular.’ Dont fall into the all or nothing mindset & toss in the towel. I map out my holiday season with bright red Xs on days which are extraordinarily hectic. On red X days I either plan ahead for early morning me-time or simply acknowledge those may be days self-care wont happen. Red-X days also help me see (even if the season feels insane) my truly slammed days are few.

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my red marker BFF.

Now you.

What do you say?

Will you join me in E.A.T.S.’ing through the next 20+ days?


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  1. says

    I tend to guess this is why I don’t feel the holidays are all that stressful! I stopped the crazy gift bonanza and now most of the family is good with taking trips or having experiences…I cook what I can, I wish we could see more family, but really I just try to enjoy whatever that day brings.

  2. Runner GIrl says

    Those trigers get me every single time.
    I know what they are too (the comments about my singleness).

  3. Rita says

    This is lovely, Carla.
    I need to remember to slow down and not grow stressed out just with the frenzy around me.

  4. says

    i agree with amanda. I stopped puttng pressure on myself during the holidays and just adjusted routines. WOW< amazing how much more enjoyable life is. Now, i need to keep that EATS focus!

  5. Healthy Mama says

    I mentally do the RED X and it really helps.
    I doing normally do paper calendars either, but it may be time to just print out one for December and XXX.

  6. says

    These points are so true. If you have a partner, make sure he or she is on board also. Life will never be totally easygoing with children around the holidays but EATS will make it easier and less stressful.

  7. says

    I’ve been loving that Hanukkah was over early this year and I thought life would slow down a little bit. But, we’re busier than ever and I have to definitely find that me time every day or I completely lose it. Today, I’m having lunch with some girlfriends and have been looking forward to this all week. YAY!!!

  8. says

    I love this Carla! I am good at getting thru the holidays – my early get up for my me time & exercise time helps. The gym closures for a couple days just gets be rescheduling my workout days OR like you mentioned – just do something else & be OK with it… took me years to calm down on the gym closure days on my workout days! ;) Always planning ahead for the busy times for sure though!

    It is the triggers that I have to work on the most – I can be my own worst enemy here – always a work in progress! :)

  9. says

    Argh! It’s those darn triggers that do me in. And I let them once again this year. I have already made a plan to deal with the biggest one, in the new year, well in advance of next Xmas and in a way that won’t step on too many toes…

    • Olive says

      The triggers get me too.
      I do plan what I will say to the comments etc. but in the moment I get heated and forget.

  10. says

    I love this!!! I will have to remember it. I like that you said everyday is a new one. That is so true. Too many people give up on their weight loss journey because they had one bad binge or bad day. Keep going!

  11. emmaclaire says

    For me, sometimes “self-care” during the holidays actually takes the form of letting go of the workout – trying to cram it in would only result in more frazzle and a sub-standard workout! It’s a good time to watch for more chances to play, though. Holiday music can be perfect for kitchen dancing!

  12. says

    Somehow this year I’m managing to do a much better job of stopping and actually enjoying the season. It is simply amazing! Your plan will be of much value in the inevitable moments to come when I get frazzled and forget how great this feels!

  13. says

    Great acronym list. I love A. especially in a quiet morning when the rest of the house is still asleep. I just wish that quiet time last a little bit longer. but if i get up an earlier, I’m bound to offset getting any sleep at all. ;)

  14. says

    I love the RWE quote:

    “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

  15. says

    My favorite defense against stress is a crossword puzzle session every day. Even if it’s just ten minutes, it happens.

  16. says

    Love this – the biggie for me is the E. I go to bed feeling behind and wake up already feeling rushed and frazzled (not fun at 5:00am).
    I’m going to work on this!!!

  17. says

    I agree with Amanda and Lindsay…I don’t put pressure on myself anymore during this time of year. Rather I go about my daily biz and look forward to the time I get to spend with family and friends and most importantly having fun, enjoying the food, wine, and time. Especially now since I’m not close to home. :)

  18. says

    You certainly do rock the acronym. :)

    And “dagrin” makes me think of that old SNL skit “Da Bears”.

    And I’m learning to rock “E”, still struggle with “A”, can identify “T” but still mange to fall victim, and try to “S” by making a plan for while we are away.

  19. says

    I think A is the hardest for me right now as a mom of young kids–one of whom is a baby. I should probably sit down with my husband and talk about how we’ll make that happen over the holidays because I know he’d be willing to help me make that happen if I just ask.

  20. says

    i totally agree that it’s so important to be realistic about fitness goals over the holidays. i was feeling bad about not having time to exercise this month (and i don’t have kids or even a job atm…hahaha) but yeah i definitely try to make time for myself. otherwise i might just eat my chocolate stash in one sitting (i seriously considered it today, but then i would have no chocolate left for the rest of the month). anyway, great post!

    • says

      oh, i just realized i missed T entirely when i was first reading this post! i need to figure out an action plan to deal with triggers (those innocent “what are you doing with your life?” questions). i think i will definitely be EATSing through the holidays!

  21. says

    These principles are at the heart of my Project Me that I’ve been living every day since early February. I don’t have children at home but I struggle with mental illness, so keeping my eyes on what’s important (and why), pre-planning for how I’ll handle stress, letting go of what’s in the past, and saying no to things that aren’t going to make me either happier or healthier (or, ideally, both) are critical for me to keep the depression at bay.

  22. says

    I’m pretty good at cutting back on holiday demands, what is stressing me out is trying to get caught up at work so I can take some time OFF over Christmas.