5 Ways To Love Yourself This Holiday Season

December 1st marks the beginning of the holiday season. 

As a kid this was my favorite time of the year.

It meant:

  1. Frilly, sparkly Christmas dresses that arched elegantly when I spun around. 
  2. Shiny black, patent leather shoes that pinched my feet. 
  3. 80’s curled hairstyles held together with Paul Mitchell hairspray, 
  4. Holiday treats stolen from my Grandma’s table throughout the entire night while we waited to open presents. 
  5. And of course,  SANTA!!

The biggest stress I faced during the holiday season was gauging my moms mood as she held a curling iron in my fine, sometimes stringy, hair while she sighed heavily as she angrily reminded me, “Sit still. I’m having a hard time breathing life into this mop of yours.”

Even her back handed comment couldn’t burst the bubble I floated in during the holiday season. It truly was the most wonderful time of the year. 

But as an adult….

There’s tree trimming, present purchases, party prep and family – lots and lots of family. And let’s not even mention the god forsaken Elf on The Shelf. 

Yep! The holiday season means work and fancy schedule juggling. 

All of this equates to MAJOR adult stresses. 

My Holiday Season bubble popped LOUDLY, about 10 years ago. It’s just too much for me.

And, if I can be honest, I have found myself daydreaming about winter vacations to Phoenix just so I can skip the entire holiday season. 

Surely I’m not alone with my Holiday Season Dread. So I have created you a list of ways to love yourself this holiday season. 

1) Scale Back

At the peak of our Christmas Clusterf**k we were literally attending Christmas dinners for the entire month of December. 

I kid you not, our first Christmas Dinner of the season was the first weekend of December with a gift exchange. And our last one was usually December 27!  During the peak, we were consuming SEVEN holiday dinners. 

It meant Christmas shopping was completed by November 30. It was crazy AND an absolute recipe for burnout. By the time the last piece of curly ribbon hit the recycle bin that year I nearly cheered with relief. 

No more!  We are now very stingy with our Christmas dinners. We do not attend Christmases for a month straight. It was not sustainable and, once again in honesty, not enjoyable for anyone. 

2) Don’t attend every party you’re invited to 

It seems like everyone we know has a holiday party. We could be kept very busy socially, if we RSVP’d yes to everyone. 

But we have decided that’s not the way we want to spend our holidays. We are also choosy with these. It’s not personal, it’s just self preservation. 

3) Don’t bake if you don’t want to

I’m not a baker. Or a cook really. I do it to keep my family alive, but I’m not going to win a “Canadian Cook Off” anytime soon. 

Sometimes I will make brownies, but that’s because I’m picky about my brownies. Using my recipe will guarantee I will like them when they are done, unlike some of the results I have had from grocery store brownies. Blech!

The holidays are the most common time for Potlucks. You get asked to bring something: A dessert. A salad. A platter etc. 

If you hate baking etc. BUY IT!! It’s more common than you think. Don’t put unneeded stress on yourself. Take shortcuts wherever you can. 

3) Create Boundaries

There will be people who disrespect you. And it’s your job to decide how they will affect you. (Not only during the holidays, but all year long too)

Decide what you want to do about the way you’re being treated. There are times when standing in your power is necessary and times when this will create unnecessary drama and it’s best to walk away. 

Decide and implement your boundaries. And don’t let anyone change your mind. 

4) Don’t compare yourself to others

We all have the one person during the holidays who seems to own the best clothes or have the greatest hairstyles. Or is just plain adorable. She graces the doorsteps of any party and people swoon — wishing they could have her closet or her hair or her personality, even for just one day. 

And quickly, you feel like you have ordered your clothes from the “Hillbilly Hoedown Holiday Edition Magazine”

So while you dress for your holiday party remember: You are perfect exactly as you are. Wear what makes you comfortable. Style your hair in a way that makes you happy. And most importantly, be YOU!

Going to an event in clothes or hairstyles you are uncomfortable wearing (or faking your way through the evening) will exhaust you faster than running a marathon in a snowsuit during a Sasky blizzard. 

5) Observe without plugging in (This one is for all my empath friends)

As empaths we have the ability to FEEL everything. We know Susie had a fight with their husband on the way to the party. We know George hates his job. We know Grace is seriously over the top in love with her new BF!

AND we know exactly who, at the party, hates being at the party. 

So what do you do when the everyone’s energy is so easily available to you and quickly you begin swirling in the emotion of it all?

Observe without plugging in. 

What does that mean?

Just because you can see it doesn’t mean you need to form an opinion or create  a solution in your head.  Just observe it. Snuggle up with some wine and watch the show. 

Don’t get invested in the outcome. Quite honestly, Susie’s fight with her husband is probably causing you more anxiety than it is to Susie. You may have spent more time analyzing Susie’s feelings than, even, Susie herself has. And there is no point wasting your time and energy on something that is none of your business. 

Eventually you won’t even need to observe anymore. You will be able remain unplugged completely. But that can take time. 

The Holiday Season can be fun again. Somehow we’ve allowed ourselves to get tumbled up in expectations of others which creates exhaustion. Allow yourself to create your holidays in a way that makes you happy. Find the balance. 

Bonus Tip: You do not have to explain your balance to anyone. Just find the balance that makes you happy. 

Let the festive season commence!

The Reason I View Annoying People As A Special Gift From The Universe!

There are many spiritual phrases that float around Social Media. And often these phrases are misunderstood. 

One that has become quite popular, all while creating much confusion, and triggering feelings of unworthiness is this one:

The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life will become

It eludes to the belief that with spirituality or a higher awareness comes peace. That suddenly as an Intuitive or Energy Worker or a spiritual person, you are transformed into a special space of constant Zen. 

As if by miracle, annoying people are suddenly not irritating to you at all. 

This quote leads you to believe that within your new found spirituality you will now possess the much coveted “inner peace” which will equate to you never experiencing the desire to throat punch anyone ever again. 

Spectactularly too, as a result, the aggravation you once experienced whenever the Over the Top “Unnamed Company” business rep corners you at the school Halloween Party her kids also attend (to tell you AGAIN about how she just earned ANOTHER free Disney Cruise just by working her business) will seemingly disappear. 

It convinces you that within spirituality you will suddenly appreciate her. You will be able to say things like “It’s her journey!” And other equally zen-like statements, and as a result catapult yourself into a higher level of consciousness. 

As a person who has struggled with anger and many “throat-punching-people” fantasies for years, the above quote actually became quite stressful to me.

Each morning as I woke I would vow that today would be the day! 

That today no one would be able to penetrate my “Zen Barrier”. That my inner peace was strong enough to withstand the O.T.T. “Unnamed Company” Rep and the others like her. 

And each day someone would not only penetrate the barrier….

They would damn well blow the barrier gates right off and leave me with a weeks worth of clean up and soul reconstruction. 

Each time this would happen I would think, “Dang it! I guess, I’m still not spiritual.”

I would repeat this process over and over and over again. Each time it would break me down more and more as I would question why I could not master the peaceful mentality that clearly all other “good” Spiritual folks were living in. 

And finally I learned:  There is much more of a process related to this quote than what the mere simplicity of the words eludes to.

Here’s what I mean:

Is it ever possible to get to a space of peace?  Sure it is. But not by simply ignoring annoying people. That’s impossible. 

The process goes deeper than that. 

First- what you have to know is that the Universe responds to our energy. It knows what we are trying to manifest and the energy we need to sit in in order for the said goal to come into fruition. 

It also knows what programs and past beliefs we carry and which ones we need to shift out of, or rid ourselves of, in order to create the new space we want to move into. 

Huh what?? 

Let me break it down with an example. 

We attract what we want into our reality. We decide what we want and the Universe lines it up. 

 So let’s say you want to attract more money into your reality. As soon as you decide you want more money the Universe starts shifting and moving the world and the people, as needed, in order to accommodate your request. 

Now, let’s say you have a belief that you don’t DESERVE lots of money though. It could be said then, that you hold a program that you are unworthy of attaining the very same money you are trying to manifest (Now this can run quite deep, but we are going to keep this light and skim the surface for the idea of this example)

Now, remember how I said the Universe is shifting and moving the world and the people in it to bring you the money you are manifesting. 

It is also shifting and moving YOU to bring you money. 

And one of the ways it will do that is by exposing to you the programs you carry within you. 

Why would the Universe do that? In order to shift and move you into a space where you can accept and receive the money you have manifested. 

How will the Universe do that? By bringing people like the OTT Unnamed Company rep into your path. 

These people are triggers. Triggers expose your programs so you can move out of them and into the new space you want to be in in order to accept the money you have manifested. 

So, how do you know someone is a trigger? When you feel you want to throat punch them. 

No seriously!

When someone creates that big of reaction in you then they are absolutely a trigger. And a trigger is your opportunity to shift. 

How do you shift? By being incredibly, absolutely, unequivocally honest with yourself in that moment. 

You see, the Company Rep lady would create such a reaction because (once again, for example) you want to take YOUR kids on a Disneyland Cruise for free but have a belief you could never ever possibly do that. 

Now, the mere acknowledgment of this will NOT make it so you suddenly become a join her business team and become a rep on her team. Nor does it mean you will suddenly become BFF’s. (Although never say never) 

The dislike for her may also never receed. Yet, the growing desire to throat punch her will absolutely (mostly) dissolve. 

It’s also important to know that just because you are spiritual does not mean you will suddenly love everyone. 

You won’t. Ever. 

But the desire to throat punch the entire population will drastically evaporate as you begin to understand WHY someone could provoke such a big reaction out of you.  

And by acknowledging why someone triggers you, will also gift you the opportunity to release an old program that you carry. 

It brings you a new awareness of how you view the world around you. 

This new awareness will allow you to decide how you want to shift and create a new world. 

So…..When someone has you gritting your teeth and biting your tongue, you will now KNOW this annoying person has a beautiful gift for you. The gift of opportunity. The gift of shifting out of the old which no longer serves us and into the new. 

And THAT’S what the quote above means. 

Thank you for sharing in my journey. 

Please share!

The Camera Doesn’t Lie

Photo Courtesy of Linell Grudnitzki, Inphoto

Recently I decided to get some photos done of JUST ME! 

I have always been dedicated when it came to getting a family photo session done. I always threw out my best “business grin” and felt mediocre safety within the ability to hide my flaws behind a well placed child. 

For the duration of my spiritual healing journey I have been working on loving me. But THIS year was the year that I started putting some major power behind it. 

This year following my scheduled family photo session our photographer, Linell Grudnitzki did not hide her disappointment well when I requested “just ONE personal head shot for myself” done within our family session. 

Linell doesn’t have a problem doing a headshot during family photos I would assume. 

She just really, really felt in her heart that I NEEDED a personal session of my very own. 

I personally struggled with agreeing to a session for a couple reasons: 

First, there would only be me. No kids to hide behind. No husband to make me laugh. Just me. 

Second, I couldn’t justify spending that money for pictures when I didn’t really have a “need” for photos. 

Everything changed when I received an email containing a sneak peek of our family session. I was in love with exactly how she captured us. 

So I started chatting with her (yet again) about what a personal session would “do” for me. 

And found out I LOVE the way she works. I wanted to share with you all:

The old saying “ the camera doesn’t lie” is very true. I say it almost every day. But when asked how does that saying play into my photography business, and how do I do my “work”, that saying takes on an entirely different meaning. 

No, the camera doesn’t lie. When me and Canons are at a shoot ( yes, I talk about my cameras as if they are people), I take a real good look at what they are showing me. 

If what I see on the that LCD screen is not something amazing, it is up to me to figure out why. And by why, I don’t mean do I adjust the lighting, or bracket an F stop up or down.

 I don’t know too many people that will admit that they love having their picture taken. Even the most stunning super model can feel uncomfortable in front of the lens. 

I take the time and feel what my subject is feeling. Maybe the image on the back is showing a nervous female, or a frightened child, or in a lot of cases, an uncomfortable husband. It is then my job to change that and capture it. 

I have always felt I have been able to connect well with people. It wasn’t until I started photographing them that I could SEE just how well I could connect with them. I am able to allow them to see themselves in a light and place where their loved ones see them from.

 I can’t say that ever have I thought after a shoot “ well, that was a complete waste of my time and I didn’t get one single decent image.” 

Instead at the end of a shoot, I feel I accomplished so much more than creating a few wonderful pictures. I feel I created self esteem, self worth and self love in the person who just spent a few hours with me. 

And best of all, I created the physical memory and image of that moment for them.

          -Linell Grudnitzki, Inphoto

Isn’t she incredible?  When she described to me how she works, what she sees, and why she does what she does, I just knew that my soul need to do this!

And as much as this may sound arrogant — I am in love with a HUGE portion of the photos she took that day. I haven’t loved pictures this much, since the photos we had taken in 2008. So that’s saying ALOT!

Lastly I want to share one more incredible little story. It’s in regards to this picture:

Photo Courtesy of Linell Grudnitzki, Inphoto
 I have a confession to make. I have perfected a fake smile. Years of needing to survive within a storm created my opportunity to perfect the fake smile. 

I have had many photographers, but Linell was the very first one to call me on it. 

This photo was taken when I got tired. I was exhausted from being SO REAL. So I threw out the fake smile. 

She dropped her camera to her chest and says “WHAT. IS. THAT?!” 

I tried again and again. But kept throwing out the fake. Until I finally dropped my head and took a big breathe and realigned with showing up again. For real. 

And I absolutely LOVE that Linell seen right through my fake smile. It validated that she feels her clients and does EXACTLY what she said she does above. 

But it also forced me to stay present. As soon as I got tired, I wanted to hide away and do what’s comfortable. She demanded more of me; but in the most loving and safest way. 

Love it. And Love her!

If you like this, please share!

Homeschooling: Day 54ish – Today We Threw Out All Our School Books

{I had a nifty picture of our recycle bin filled with our discarded workbooks especially for this post, but somehow I deleted it. I’m still working in the tech requirement of all of this lol}😉

So these past few weeks have been emotional to say the least!  I took a break from the blog because of a nasty cold that swept our house.

The week after that the shit hit the fan here. Although the storm took me by surprise, looking back it probably shouldn’t have.

Over the past weeks, our homeschool had slowly modified itself. And I didn’t even realize it.

Somehow we, ok fine….I became swept up in school district requirements and cirriculum standards. I began focusing our days with the “what if they go back to school” mentality.

As a result, there was a lot of focus on completing everything required to MATCH that of a public school.

I had printed schedules and regimented deadlines.

And then the double edged sword slammed straight into my chest.

Math!  It’s always Math, the bastard that it is.

According to our Cirriculum requirements B needed to be complete with the unit we were working on. Yet we still had minimum of 11 more days of work to complete.

Why were we behind?? Because he didn’t understand it. He didn’t grasp the concepts and I wanted to ensure he did before we moved on.

Everyone knows Math builds upon itself and I didn’t want to have to back track.

But more importantly, I didn’t want to crush any of his precious self esteem we have recently re-established.

I wanted him to get Math, and not move forward because Cirriculum dictates.

PLUS we were reading books in LA, that neither of the boys cared about at all.

AND Social Studies and Science were horrifically boring. Not in anyway interesting or FUN.

And as a result, they were squirmy and messing around, ALOT.

And I was yelling ALOT, in a hopes to keep them focused. And yelling never works, I know that.

When the storm finally hit, my throat was hoarse, I was completely spent and unhappy and so were the boys.

After a much needed session with my coach, I realized:

This is NOT how I wanted this to go. At. All.

I was one bell away from replicating a public school classroom. And my poor boys were hating it.

Yes, I want my kids to learn what’s required within the Cirriculum standards, but I wanted it to be FUN. I wanted to create a learning space that they loved.

I know they may not exactly skip to the table and would always rather go to the park or watch YouTube videos of people opening kinder eggs.

(Seriously?? This is a thing? Wow!)

But I atleast wanted them to get their Cirriculum fed to them in a way that will stick with them long after the year is over.

Also I realized that my kids will not remember anything from the way I was doing it.

How can I say that?? Because neither boy can tell me ONE thing they learned last year. And they had incredible teachers, so it’s not because of that. But because the technique did not speak to thing or excite them.

So, yah last week every single guided workbook was thrown out. (Except Math because while I pride myself on being uber creative, I’m still not a magician!)

And we redid our schedule and the approach we use.

In LA, for example: My boys are currently researching their favorite YouTube stars and building poster board presentations with their information THEY have researched.

And they love it. They are so happy with their new day and are excited with what they are working on.

My proof that this was a better way came on Thursday when I had a meeting I needed to attend.

Upon telling the boys they get to wrap early and miss LA, B says “Awe dang it. Can I still work on my report?”  Ummmm, YES!!!!

The worst part about this whole mess was I KNEW this way wasn’t working, but I had printed ALOT of stuff off and didn’t want to waste the paper. Sounds ridiculous saying it, but it’s the truth.

Last week I learned, somedays you have to kill a tree to find your way.

And besides….it’s getting recycled 😎

Thanks for sharing in our journey!