Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

That Funny Time Between Christmas and New Year

By Lauratri

This stint between Christmas and New Year is so bloody confusing!  I want to detox, I want to run twenty miles just to get the 5 Christmas dinners off my arse, I want to lock up the alcohol and snacks cupboard and swallow the key, I want to be productive and get myself back into a routine…but what’s the point?  Its New Years in a few days and there are more parties to attend, and celebrations to be had.

This year, comparative to previous years, has been remarkably tame.  I’ve somehow acquired the invaluable discipline of turning my G and T’s into just plain cups of tea towards the end of the night; abstaining completely at 2 out of 6 of my recent seasonal gatherings, and I’m confidently nearing the one-year anniversary of giving up smoking…but none of this has stopped me from eating incessantly.

Over this past year my body image has undoubtedly improved, and I’ve become more accepting, even quite caring of the curves and extra padding.  It’s womanly.  But still.  The moment on Christmas day when I eagerly tried on my new (usually larger than average sized) pyjamas from Next, and couldn’t get the waist band past that initial bulge of my butt-cheeks, I did nearly cry!

WTF?  3 months ago I was nearing my natural weight of 9 1/2 stone without putting any effort into it.  Bit of yoga and meditation and some Ayurvedic remedies to get my Agni up – and that was it.  Just falling off me, and I was feeling so light and easy in my movements…and throw in a bit of cold weather, and a lot of temptations and I’m back to wrestling into my clothes reminiscent of my wet-suit/elephant-seal impersonation before the triathlon.

Its gone beyond the “Kapha-season” layer of warmth, or the naughty but harmless indulgence of Christmas treats; and ventured into territory of imbalance and the need of a pro-active shift in behaviour.

I’ve already gone through the phase of blaming everything around me.  The seasons, living arrangements, current emotional circumstances, time of the month, ridiculously appealing and readily available treats stocked up in the fridge, cupboards and on side-tables….and now its time to take responsibility for myself.

Perhaps this season of over-indulgence and excess isn’t so bad for us in the long run.  It provides a bench-mark for the extreme.  It allows us to experience the excesses of everything that we crave and deny ourselves, only to discover, and re-discover, that it doesn’t give us happiness…that in fact we want to be healthy, and we want to look after ourselves.

Perhaps that’s what this stint between Christmas and New Years can be used for – determining what it is exactly that we want to change about ourselves, and what we want to accept.  We toy with the idea of giving up chocolate for life, and never touching another drop of champagne.  We schedule in a 10k run for 6 am on January 1st and berate ourselves for the lengthy hangover and extra helping at dinner that we didn’t really need.  And then we get to New Years eve, and our new-found determination for self-improvement wavers at the first pouring of sparkling wine.  We make jokes about the strict and unobtainable targets we’ve set ourselves and relax comfortably back into our old routines.   But not always, and not for everything.

The targets we set ourselves are not unobtainable.  It just takes time.

Even thinking of them, and for a day or two believing that’s what we’ll do, plants the seed for future action.

One year I did my 10k run at 6am on January 1st.  Hated every minute of it, but two years later I ran my first marathon.  Every year, for as long as I can remember I’ve resolved to quit smoking, and this January I’ll be celebrating my first smoke-free anniversary.

Right now, I’m berating myself for my lethargy and over-eating.  I’m making plans for a 12 day cleanse in the new year, and working out how to negotiate the transference to a Vegetarian diet, in a meat-eating household.  I’m feeling stiff in my lower back, and simultaneously dreading and yearning for that overdue yoga practice.   I’m struggling with those difficult questions of where have I got to, and what do I have to show for these 30 years I’ve led here on this planet…

But it doesn’t matter.  It’s good to indulge and its good to pull back.  It’s good to question and challenge, berate and forget.  It’s good to set targets that are whimsical, that are achievable.  It’s all part of the process of working out what we want for ourselves, and what we accept.

I accept that I gain weight easily, and lose it with great difficulty.  (It’s the Kapha side of me).  I want to be more aware and pro-active on how to manage that.

I accept that I’m struggling with escapism – such as drinking and watching tv.  I want to be more nurturing of the practices that bring me into the present – my meditation and yoga.

I accept the niggles and imbalances I experience on a day-to-day basis, and I want to deepen my understanding and use of Ayurveda to help balance that.

I feel frustrated by only knowing one language.  I want to learn another.

I can’t drive.  Wouldn’t it be nice if, one day, I had a car….

However my new years resolutions manifest over these next few days, and however far I indulge or pull back, it doesn’t matter.  As long as I accept that this is all part of the process, and as for those pyjama bottoms!  Well – they’ll just have to be folded neatly and put to one side.  They were a useful lesson in determining what I want for myself, but there’s no point dwelling on what isn’t.

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