Everything You Need To Know About Surviving The Holidays

Oh, the holiday heebie jeebies – my nickname for the stress that often comes with the fullness of the holiday season. There’s family and fun and frivolity, yes, but there’s also a gaggle of other feelings that arise during this time of year – stress, and sometimes even the Christmas blues. I’m shedding some light on how to enjoy the holiday season feeling as jolly as Santa, himself.

Make your list. Check it twice.

Before the hustle and bustle of Christmas can even begin, I plan a trip. Ok, so it might be a bit late for this now being December 1st, but that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a staycation. Nothing says laughter and love like your best girl friends. Get a group message started, buy the tickets, reserve the hotel, and even figure out which activities everyone wants to do. This way, there are no excuses for me to be able to get away and clear my head.

Planning out the activities ahead of time leaves me at ease while I am there and eliminates any sort of stress that could arise. Sometimes, though, no schedule is the best schedule. Wherever or whatever you can think of as a place you can relax for a couple days, I strongly suggest you make it happen for yourself. Do something that makes it solidified though, so that there is no turning back. Don’t leave it out there as just as idea. If you do, you’ll find excuses not to go.

Wake Up Positive.

Your attitude is in your control. You can wake up with a positive attitude; you just have to tell yourself that is how you will be. Wake up with intention to set how you would like your mood the rest of the day. Honor yourself and your emotions. It is okay to feel the way you feel, even if it is negative, but telling yourself that you will have a positive outlook will help just start your mood to transition to just that. Maybe doing something small for yourself that day will help clear some negative energy. Maybe it something as simple as a compliment, or maybe a manicure or maybe you have the time to treat yourself to a massage. Whatever it may be, find a way to rid the negative and let in the positive. For me, I’ve found that keeping a gratitude journal has helped. It’s the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night.

Find Peace.

If you are feeling moments where everything seems a bit overwhelming…just breath. In times of anxiousness our breathing pattern changes. An anxious breathe is too long of an inhale without the same length of an exhale. Pay attention to your breathing. Make sure to balance your inhales with your exhales. A balanced breathe brings balance to the body and brain. Paying attention for just a few moments can bring your anxiousness down to create more clarity in the moment.

Dance it out. Create a Mini Dance Party.

Think of a upbeat song that makes you happy. Play that song as loud as you can and just let the moment take over your body. All it takes is a few minutes to sing at the top of your lungs and shake your booty!  It will get the blood flowing, the endorphins released and send happiness throughout your whole body!

Dress Comfy

The last thing you need through stress and chaos is wiggling your body into uncomfortable clothes. My favorite go to item to dress up are simply workout leggings. The same leggings I would wear to workout in, I will dress up for a night on the town. They are super versatile and hug by body in all the right places. Take a pair of leggings, throw on an oversized cozy sweater, grab your booties, a long necklace and you are ready to go! Stylish, yet comfortable enough to roll around on the ground with the little ones in the family you will be seeing over the holidays. One of my fav brands? LA-based, CoEd Active!

Give Yourself a Break.

Even if you have done your normal routines to help create a positive mind, and you find yourself still a Negative-Nancy, it is ok! We’re allowed to feel the way we feel. Feel the feels, and let it out if you need to. Sometimes you just need to ride the wave and let the feeling pass instead of forcing it to pass. I have a difficult time with this, but the one thing that I’ve learned about myself and divorce this year is that you need to accept and acknowledge those feelings or they’ll be knocking at your door sooner or later. Just remember not to add to the negativity and be hard on yourself for feeling down. We are all allowed to have bad moments or even days, you are human, everything will be just fine! Be kind to yourself.

All-in-all, remember, the holidays are about love and laughter. Sure they come with stress and seeming overwhelmingly busy, but it is because you have a lot of wonderful people in your life that you want to spend your time with. Remind yourself of that. This time of year is made to appreciate those that are in our lives and create beautiful memories with one another!

Make Today Magical

Making today magical, in a Rose colored hue city [Jaipur] with Masala Chai, Gold and Emeralds.

I am currently traveling in India and if there is one thing I've learnt is nothing will ever go as planned. Even in life. Today, the plan was to get swept away over Jaipur. Thanks to Monson season, a hot air balloon ride, while the sun rose was a no-go. Inside I opted to go gem shopping and purchased myself a dainty gold ring with an Emerald Gem. ☁️

I had envisioned today to be the start of new chapter of my new life, as I watched the sunrise from above as the pink and orange hues painted the pink city. In quite possibly the most romantic way to start the day.

Jaipur gems_1.jpg

Well, 8.28... the day has arrived. Time flies by so quickly; exactly a year ago today the theme to my life was significantly different. G and I were somewhere in Europe, celebrating 7 years of marriage, in a part of the world that symbolically represented us as a couple, because seven years prior our month long honeymoon was the inaugural tradition of visiting Europe, and always sneaking away somewhere in Italy. Italy was *our* thing, our places, our humble adventure. And for the last 7 years I had posted the same darling photo of a candid wedding shot--my favorite wedding memory that evoked plenty of blissful emotion--thanking my former partner for all the great memories we had shared thus far and for all the magical moments to come, traversing around the globe. I would never have imagined a year later life would be a contrasting difference, and that I would be somewhere in India, up in the air... uncoupled.

Truth be told, this has been one of the hardest years I have ever lived, being confronted with a new normal without the best friend I had for the last 10 years. It's also been the most profound year rediscovering the things I need in life, and truly feeling all the feels. Somedays, though far a few in between these days, feeling debilitated and empty, other days feeling alive and grateful for every waking moment. I'm not dwelling on emotions or holding on to my past, because to understand my divorce, my bond, and relationship with, you must walk in my shoes. You'd see an amazing bond, respect and fun-filled run between two individuals. But at some point, if you stop growing as individuals and as a couple, you must walk away. The hardest part was acknowledging that the magical bond and romantic love that connected us was no more, but the respect and love as still there. To merely co-exist would have been a disservice two both. The most challenging thing you can do in life is facing these feelings and let someone go for their happiness, and for yours as well. (You can read more about this here - no need for me to write about it yet again.)

When my divorce was finalized, I knew I wanted to be somewhere today. I didn't know where; but, I did know I wanted it to be a place to mark a new adventure in life to make today the best yet so that as each year passed on this day, I'd look forward to it and not dread it with a heavy heart. So here I am; I'm in India, sky high (did I mention I'm scared of heights?), remembering the best 10 years filled with some of the best memories, yet welcoming new ones. This year I've unintentionally have lived my version of "Eat, Pray, Love" in neither particular order.  Or, in my humble interpretation: eat and drink everything, pray (I really mean yoga and meditate) often, and simply learn to love my life, my new normal... every ounce of it. Rereading Elizabeth Gilbert's book, I now understand the message and can relate. I get it.

This is all part of the eat, pray, love journey in this phase of life. Being present. Being vulnerable. Being embracing. Being selfish for the things that bring me ecstasy. The act of celebrating and really truly enjoying your life... Every bit of it.

With that said, here's to life, more adventures, and being unapologetically happy.

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

Living With Intention

Simplicity. Let’s talk about living with intention for a sec, shall we? I was thinking about this the other morning, as I made my coffee and sliced up some pineapple, with the mellow tunes of whatever song my favorite Spotify station 'Cafe Con Leche' played to set the mood for the day. 

living with intention

But, what exactly is living with intention? It's a buzzword we all keep hearing. 

For me, living with intention is living with purpose and on a deeper level minimizing, decluttering all aspects of life, letting go of the things that do not serve us purpose, allowing for the things that matter most to take space. By doing so, this "clutter" of life allows you to live with a deeper purpose that is much more meaningful.

I’ve been embracing a much more minimalistic approach to life since the start of the year, more so than before, living the way I want to live and going as zero waste as much as my daily life allows me to be. (Shout out to Chloe for the zero waste inspo and invaluable resources.) It's liberating. It's been a process of setting goals, slowly moving things out of my life, and creating new habits. 

So, how can you start living with intention?

Start with habits.

Everything starts with habits.

Think about an average day in your life. Maybe there is a ton of variety in what you do and how you spend your time. But we’re guessing much of your days that looks the same. In fact, research shows that about 40% of our behavior is repeated daily and in the same context. Whether it’s the food we eat, our daily commute, how we spend our free time, when we get to bed, and (maybe most importantly) everything in between, so much of our lives are spent doing things habitually. So when we’re thinking about how we want to change our lives for the better, habits are a great place to begin.  

On that same note, thinking about how we might begin to form positive, healthy habits, writer Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, encourages us to develop positive habits that help us do the following:

1. Sleep
2. Move
3. Eat/Drink Right
4. Unclutter

She describes these foundation habits and recommends we start with these four. When we do so, we anchor ourselves up to prioritize what is really important to us and can build upon them to achieve our greater, most fulfilling goals. When put into practice, all of these tools conceivably help us live to our full potential.

living with intention

any new habit needs attainable goals

Because any new habit needs attainable goals, writer Leo Babauta, the creator of Zen Habits, advises breaking our larger goals into yearly, monthly, and weekly goals as well as daily action steps. Thinking about how our goals can be achieved within this framework helps us see whether they can and should be what we focus on. When we consider how we can work towards our goals the micro goals (daily, weekly, monthly) we’re better prepared to see the bigger picture of our yearly goals and make adjustments as needed at the start.

Taking daily action steps toward achieving our goals is what he calls a Most Important Task (MIT). An MIT (or you may also know it as one non-negotiable) is the task you most want or need to get done today, and while Babauta identifies three for himself, one is always related to his goals. It's done every single day, typically first thing in the morning, and using this method ensures that he’s always moving his goals forward, keeping them front of mind, and staying on track.

What does living life with intention mean to you? Share here