Do you find yourself feeling empty despite all the cookies, cakes, and fun of life?
Maybe you feel like a failure because baking cookies with the kids is annoying, shopping leads to debt guilt, and shame from that work party due to things said after one too many mimosas. The things that break up our day to day life that are meant to bring us fun, often bring their share of downsides with them.
Many of us turn to stuffing ourselves with “sweet things” and too much alcohol to numb out when life is not offering us the “sweet things” we really want – meaningful connection.
If this sounds like you, you are not alone. In my office I see many people trying to “fill up” using food and drink. Here are five ways that I help clients learn to fill their heart rather than stuff their belly.
- Focus On What Matters:
What most of us want is to feel special. However, many of us can get caught up in materialism, commercialism, and routine activities that make life feel anything but special.
We feel the pressure of cultural performance, unnecessary purchases, unhealthy food, or people who don’t help us feel cherished and valued. Your job is to figure out what matters to you and focus on that first.
- Make A Plan:
If you really want to be successful having a plan is helpful1.
As we move further into the new year, set some time aside and make yourself a plan. Look at your focus from #1, determine people you want to spend time with and which activities matter most to you. Make a plan regarding food and beverages you’ll partake in on a daily basis, and which you’ll indulge in for parties or social gatherings.
Having a plan goes a long way toward getting that life you want. This process will help you have an accurate idea of what is really possible during your moments of fun, still letting you indulge and keeping you sane.
- Determine Who You Want to Hang Out With:
For many this is a hard one.
If you have people in your life you know you will “need” to see but are not excited about, decide ahead of time how much time you want to spend with them. Create an exit plan and follow it. This is not limited to the holidays, this is true year-round!
Focus on people who uplift, support, and help you be a better version of yourself.
For those who don’t meet that criteria visit only as long as you want, have another activity to do during visits (like knitting) and exit when you are ready.
- Make Gifts Meaningful:
Gifts and gathering are found throughout ancient texts as a way to celebrate festivities throughout the year from Christmas to Birthdays. However, many of us get caught up in the commercialism and competition of today’s idea of gift giving.
If you are not one who loves spending time picking out unique gifts for people, consider other ways you can give. Make a donation to charity in the person’s name, give gift cards, or book time together.
Remember gifts can show others you care, but so can your attention, time, and effort.
- Give Yourself A Break:
This is a big one. Remember you cannot keep going without recharging your batteries.
You need to take some breaks. This could be a day off, a nap, or early night to bed.
In the middle of group action? Excuse yourself for a solo walk or workout during family festivities to regroup and restore your energy for the long haul.
While the holiday season only comes once a year, any social gathering throughout the year can feel like an endurance event. You need to fuel appropriately for the race, if not you’ll find yourself turning to unhealthy snacks and beverages to keep going. Rest is an important part of the equation.
Often we can feel trapped in frenzied obligations. If you find yourself feeling empty, try the tips above to help make your special occasions meaningful this year, instead of depleting. Even with the excitement of getting together with people you love most, you can feel empty and alone. However, we control our time, energy, and where we put our focus. Make yours count. Fill up from the inside out.
- Epton, T., Currie, S., & Armitage, C. J. (2017). Unique effects of setting goals on behavior change: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 85(12), 1182–1198. https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000260
Stacy Reuille-Dupont, PhD, LAC, CPFT, CNC, licensed psychologist, addiction counselor, personal trainer and nutrition coach. She’s passionate about helping people create a vibrant life using psychology and physiology. With over 25 years coaching people to be their best, she understands how to find adventure and bliss with balance. Book a FREE 15 minute consultation at www.studiob.life or join her monthly Q&A group at www.stacyreuille.com