Staying centered during the holiday season can be challenging, but not impossible
As the holiday season approaches, I tend to revert back to my 10 year old self with the joy and excitement of decorating, crafting, baking cookies, the familiar smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, and maybe even tamales. I also love a good crunchy leaf pile to kick around in, a soft blanket of winter snowfall with birds and squirrels foraging for food and being curled up around a crackling fire with Mexican hot cocoa and pan de polvo. From the fashion perspective, I have great memories of plaid flannel nightgowns, hand knit hats & mittens to keep me warm while building snow igloos, and of course a new Christmas outfit or 2. One for midnight mass and one for Christmas day. These are the some of the many wonderful things I associate with my childhood.
Now as an adult, it is sometimes challenging to quiet my mind from the chaos of work, the daily anxiety of responding to emails from clients with unrealistic expectations, a constant battering from social media, unsettling global and national news, and the many things that can distract and consume me from enjoying this special time and reliving my wonderful memories.
As the owner of my own fashion business, I know that my work will always be there, but as the days start to fly by after Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, I really try to focus on separating myself from the barrage of distractions and make an effort to get into a “holiday hibernation” for my soul so that I can spend time with family and friends, enjoy some of my favorite Mexican holiday traditions and give thanks for the goals I’ve accomplished, my amazing family and my good health.
Sometimes it’s as easy as making a little quiet time to flip through magazines with a nice cup of chai tea looking for great holiday inspiration. Maybe it’s a weekend in a cozy sweatshirt and jogger pants bingeing silly predictable Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel or Netflix, or listening to Christmas music and puttering around in my kitchen experimenting with holiday recipes for party appetizers or craft cocktails. I also enjoy Friendsgiving get-togethers before I travel to see family for Thanksgiving. All of these things can help to soothe my soul and revitalize the importance of the simple things.
When I was in my 20’s through my 40’s, I was on a hamster wheel, constantly moving and doing every second of the day to climb up the career ladder, focusing solely on my career which gave me little time for myself or my family. I would leave my house at 7AM, commute to New York City, get home around 9:30 PM, eat, sleep, and do it over and over again for 27 years. I traveled internationally and domestically for work regularly spending many weeks away from home. My weekends were spent catching up on sleep, home chores and errands that needed to be dealt with since I wasn’t home during the week. I never had an opportunity to really get to know the town I lived in, meet the neighbors and locals that I now call my friends, experience the local shops, restaurants, or events in my beautiful neighborhood, or take much needed time to visit family.
Granted, I accomplished amazing things and met famous people that a little 10 year old Latina from Ohio could never have imagined she’d be doing in the fashion industry, but with time and the common experiences we’ve all had during the pandemic, my life looks very different these days and I’m happy for that. I certainly appreciate everything I accomplished in my past because it shaped the person I am today, but I’m also glad to have a more healthy perspective on work life balance these days.
I’ve learned to give myself more mindful moments because I’ll never get them back again. The clock is ticking and I recognize that I am only here for a short time. With my 30 years of experience in a fast paced and sometimes not so friendly fashion industry, I’ve learned that it is better to be selective with the people I want to work with. I no longer feel the need to say yes to every business opportunity that comes my way especially when it may come with toxic consequences. I appreciate the long lasting friendly relationships that I’ve made with people in this crazy business.
The experience of the pandemic also brought the sense of urgency to spend more time doing things that are more meaningful and will bring my family together. My husband and I have enjoyed many trips to Ohio to visit my parents and my brother and his husband who live there. We’ve also had fun on destination trips together to Playa del Carmen in the winter. My sister and I have started a new tradition of a sister trip to Montauk in September which we’ve been doing now for the past 2 years.
My good health and mobility is also a reminder to be mindful of how I nourish my body and take care of it physically. I eat as clean as possible shopping at some of the local markets for fresh ingredients and enjoy group cardio classes at a local gym where I’ve met women who motivate each other to keep moving and keep coming back for more every week. My husband and I enjoy hiking and biking on the incredible trail system we have in the Hudson Valley area.
Putting perspective on how we can experience more joy from the little things in life may seem simple, but sometimes we really need a reminder to turn off all the extra alarms going off in our minds about the growing lists of tasks that we need to complete. We need to stop and refocus on being kind to ourselves and cherishing the simple things in life.
Here are 5 little reminders to keep you centered and grounded not just during the holidays, but throughout life:
- • Find the simple things that can bring you pleasure in life. Maybe it’s recalling the silly things that bring out the child in you . Carve out the time to enjoy these things
- • Slow down. It’s OK to not multi-task through your day. It’s also OK to say no to attending parties, gift swaps, etc. You can’t do it all and that is perfectly normal (and OK)!
- • Spend quality time with family and friends who are meaningful to you. Make sure to let them know how important they are to you.
- • Keep your body healthy and nourished by eating well, but do treat yourself during the holidays and balance it out with healthy foods and physical activity. Get enough quality hours of sleep and stay mentally active and challenged
- • Balance your work life tasks as best as you can. Try to cultivate healthy business relationships. Working with toxic clients may not have the best ROI for your efforts