‘Tis the season to fill your soul, not your stomach

FEATURE — It’s the holiday season and, as the song says, “Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go.” However, is the final destination to enjoy time with Grandma and other loved ones, or is the destination Grandma’s famous cranberry salad and other delicious foods?

All of the excitement for the holidays brings busy schedules, looking for the perfect gifts and eating all the plentiful yumminess. However, this time of year can leave you struggling with unwanted muffin tops, tight-fitting pants and using the last notch on your belt. With love in the air and the opportunity to connect with friends and family, why do you sometimes feel so empty?

During the holidays, you have expectations for creating the perfect holiday experience that includes the perfectly decorated home, gifts and turkey that will be shared on your next Facebook post. However, if you set aside these expectations, you can allow yourself the opportunity to be in the moment and connect with the people you love, leaving your heart, mind and soul (not just your stomach) full.

In order to connect with others, you need to be vulnerable. Through researching emotions such as shame, Dr. Brene Brown has found how people can feel connected to others. She found that people who feel the highest amount of connections with others are those people who feel they belong, feel they are worthy of connection and have the courage to be imperfect.

They have connections with others because they are authentic. They let go of who they thought they had to be and realized that their imperfections make them beautiful. They let their whole selves be seen.

Holiday parties are a great time to connect with people and not a time to attempt to fill yourself with a third round at the dessert table. Self-compassion and mindfulness are ways you can prepare yourself to connect with others. Yoga is a great way to practice self-compassion and set intentions that allow you to have the types of relationships you would like.

Much like mastering your body in yoga, self-compassion takes practice. Take the time to notice what you are actually saying to yourself throughout the day. Most people are much harder on themselves than they are on others. They wouldn’t dream of saying to their friends the things they say to themselves. Notice those thoughts and words, and start replacing them with the kind of things you would say to a dear friend.

Setting an intention is focusing on what you want to accomplish or be: “I am kind. I am open. I am organized. I am enough. I am healthy. I will be available for my friends and family.”

Set your intention to what you want to happen and replace the negative thoughts with that. This holiday season doesn’t have to be about the cranberry salad; it can be a time to connect with grandma and all the ones you love. With your focus on having healthy relationships with people, you are in a better position to be healthy and happy through the holidays, filled with joy — not just pumpkin pie.

chanda vanimanWritten by Chanda Vaniman for St. George Health and Wellness magazine and St. George News.

Chanda Vaniman earned her Bachelor of Science in exercise science. She received her 500-hour yoga teacher certification from Sunstone Yoga in Dallas, Texas, in 2009. She is a Yoga Alliance experienced registered yoga teacher at the 500-hour level and a certified YogaKids teacher. She has taught yoga in St. George since 2012, leading children, adults and all abilities classes. Chanda leads yoga hikes, teaches private clients and gets outside as much as she can to enjoy this beautiful area.

St. George Health and Wellness website

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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  • Terry December 19, 2015 at 5:52 am

    Yes and fill a need another has. Matthew 6:4

  • .... December 19, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Barrrrrrrrrfffffff. ! Xmas is a lie. Keep drinking the koolaid

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