The festive season can bring mixed feelings for many. It is a time of year where our focus and attention is often pulled outwards – social activities and engagements, seeing friends family, travelling and planning.
Pippa, our Yoga and Body Awareness Therapist, explores how we can reconnect with our bodies and fulfil its needs in recovery.
The ‘momentum’ of Christmas along with the many expectations that we might have about this time of year. can leave us very little time to gather our attention towards our internal landscape. Checking in with our internal world and body is an incredibly helpful practice that can support us in identifying how we are and how that might inform our actions and behaviour.
The body is also perhaps one of the more reliable resources that we have. So, if we can notice that we’re having a conversation with someone that starts to feel challenging, or we’re becoming aware that we are hungry or full, we can act according to meet our needs in the moment.
Here are a few thoughts on how you can work ‘with’ your body over the Christmas holidays and not against it.
1) Proactive Reflection
Before Christmas day comes around, set some time aside to think about what you need from the holiday season this year. Often it is easy to get caught up in the expectations/needs of others.
Do you need contact with specific loved ones on Christmas Day?
Do you need to carve out 30 mins alone time?
Do you need some time to rest and reflect or do you need to create some time for planning and thinking ahead?
What will support your heart, body, mind and recovery?
See if you can proactively think ahead, so that you can identify and (most importantly) meet your needs as best you can.
2) Set boundaries
Following the above, identify if there are any boundaries or support systems you need to put in place to help meet your needs. This could look like asking loved ones not to discuss weight or appearance during their visit, or asking a loved one to be an accountability partner in reminding you to take a 15 minute tea break when you need some time out. We explore this more in our 10 practical recovery tips for the festive period too.
You are the guardian of your body, no-one else. Establishing boundaries is a practice that can create more ease and safety in our embodied experience.
3) Practise ‘presence’
Most of time we are occupied by thoughts that relate to things that have already happened or are in anticipation of what’s to come. Practising presence, in other words, bring your attention into the present moment, is a great way to ground your awareness into the moment and into the body.
If you notice that you are starting to find a meal or gathering difficult and ED thoughts are ‘loud’ or active, see if you can bring your attention to either an internal sensation (i.e, the breath) or an external focal point, such as actively listening to someone you are having a conversation with. Both of these examples help to direct our attention into the here and now and can support us to settle and regulate.
“As a gentle reminder, all of the above is a practice and on some days they will feel easier to implement than others. Perhaps most importantly, practicing self-compassion is the greatest gift you could give yourself this holiday season. Every breath is a chance to start over, to listen to your body and tend to your needs.”