Moderation: Holidays 2021!

I’ve noticed my own tendency lately (since the Thanksgiving holiday) to retract a bit more into my own safe and serene world, less glitz, less bling, less celebration, my own peaceful quiet world.

I suppose if I looked at this as being my own therapist, it’s my own systems reaction or attempt at a counterbalance during this historically wild time of year.  I’m even noticing how much energy it takes having to post some things on social media and write a blog-ha, it’s a somewhat necessary part of being a sole proprietor these days.  It’s actually a simple pattern:  my system these days loves and craves moderation not mediocrity but moderation.  Why is this?  Without a complete deep dive into my past the answer is simple: it’s just so much easier to sustain peace of mind, spirits, and emotions from a moderate place than a dramatic place.  And I wouldn’t say I’m any less fun at the party…I may just go home earlier.  This serves as metaphor and truth.  

And so the topic this month is embracing moderation-not as punishment but as promotion of well being. 

It may be such an obvious and perhaps annoying statement to make: the last couple years have been a doozy, and the thing is it’s actually not over yet.  It just seems as if we’ve started to adapt to the uncertainty and the chaos but as I witness in others and myself I still see the aftermath and the wake of such a disruption to our systems.  It’s important to continue to state that the pandemic coupled with the politics coupled with more social unrest HAS IMPACTED US collectively.  One of the patterns I’ve noticed, and which makes entire sense, is an almost forceful “get back to normal” attitude around the 2021 holidays.  It’s as if a few in-person parties, or the experience of dramatic holiday spirits, or normal festivities  can somehow right the course of wrong we all have felt for a while now.  I suppose for some-it can but for many I see just a prolonged sense of struggle brewing.  

Most of us know this familiar holiday pattern well; it’s promoted through marketing and media campaigns and the pattern is this:  indulge excessively and then repent.  The indulging can look like many things:  food, booze, spending, get-togethers, exercise or lack of exercise, intensity, drama…you name it.  Go high on the hog this month then deprive and repent next month.  In other words: be permissive and then be ashamed of being permissive. My forever disclaimer here:  this may not be true for everyone-but it’s a pattern I’ve noticed in so many and in particular I see it starting to play out this year.  I feel that more than ever this year may be a year to set the sights on moderation, a bit more quiet, and a bit less high on the hog. More than ever our systems are in need of stabilization and support and moderation facilitates that.  Building moderation into our lives can feel a bit boring, a bit more effort to make a pattern change, sometimes a bit clunky.  But the payoff can be huge and well worth it if some containment and yes, even will power is executed.  

It’s simple but accurate, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  The pendulum swings.  And our nervous systems act accordingly.  (ah, there she goes again-yup, I sure do)  This is just a universal law in nature and physics and we humans do not get to be the exception.  Additionally, it does take a lot of energy.  To go from one side to the other: indulging then restricting..so much energy expenditure happens.  So no wonder many of us get to February and feel worn down, blue, flat…and either exhausted from adherance the “diet du jour” or a sense of failing of the “diet du jour” (diet can be any type of grand resolution one makes-NOT just food).

So what if this year, you/we did things slightly differently…it’s December 8th right now as I write this and not all is lost.  We have a solid 3 plus weeks to show and do things a bit differently.  

Practically speaking, what does embracing Moderation look like-here, now?  

I think it’s quite simple: ask yourself this,  “What feels like your too-much right now?” It takes a bit of being honest with oneself and willingness to look at patterns.  Is it too much: food, parties, family get-togethers, buying, spending, alcohol, exercise, running from one thing to another, …look honestly.  What feels like too much?  We first have to ask and answer those questions for ourselves and then wherever the answer shows up we embrace and implement moderation.  We say no, we give limits, we slow down.  It can feel like the impossible, but it’s actually then essential.  And to be straightforward, almost blunt:  moderation is needed for mental health and stability.  Too much of anything can blow up even our best intentions or desires for well-being.  

One huge clarification to make, is the saying no, or implementing moderation is NOT restriction, deprivation, or rigidity.  Just like too much, too little will also have a negative effect.  

There can also be a feeling this time of year of…but, “I have to.”.  I have to send cards, I have to go to my work party, neighborhood party, family party.  I have to buy this gift for (fill in the blank), I have to make cookies, I have to give my child a big Christmas, the list goes on and on and frankly feels even exhausting to write.  I have to go for that big ride this weekend, I have to run myself ragged….

The question I ask is,  “Do you really?”   What benefit does this have?  I’ve learned throughout the years that no one really cares much about us saying “No”to this or the other.  Most of us are so self-absorbed, which is just basic human behavior, that we rarely care what others are doing around us.  Even our families can deal with a good solid “No”-maybe not all clean and neat, but it can be handled. 

Saying no, slowing down, and embracing a moderate approach to life can often be the best way for us to be the very best versions of ourselves we can be.  

So I invite you all to give it a try, make some concessions, and say no and go slow to whatever feels like TOO MUCH this holiday season.   

Then check-in next month….my hunch is there will be little need to repent.  

What a relief. 

Back at it in 2022. 

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