Back in the Swing…

Ever since I was a kid I’ve had trouble adjusting to change. Well, some things never change! The holidays are almost over and I’m having trouble getting dressed and making the bed before the day’s end (sounds like my first mat leave!) It’s been a month of getting dolled up for holiday parties, baking up a storm and shopping ‘til my feet hurt, and then braving the Boxing Week crowds for deals. Now that the craziness is all over, I’m spending my days in sweats, watching movies with the kids and eating leftovers.

Getting back to normal is even more challenging this year because the kids are out of school the whole first week of January. That means postponing any resolutions a whole other week. We’ve become homebodies who enjoy sleeping in, and I’m afraid the shock of going back to school, work, and after-school activities is going to hit us hard.

Last year I started to implement a few strategies to help us ease our way back into the swing of things. For example, rather than taking down the tree by New Year’s as we used to, we now leave the tree up a few more days. The Christmas decorations come off, but we replace them with glittery disco balls and turn it into a “New Year Tree”. It is in effect a “Transition Tree”, but it has become a fun annual tradition nonetheless.

I always maintain it is a good thing that we need to take our babies to the doctor the first week we are home from the hospital after giving birth. Without that appointment booked, I think I might have become somewhat agoraphobic and preferred to stay home where it was safe and cozy. It is sort of the same thing with the end of the holiday – both my doctor and dentist have called to book appointments before school starts, thus forcing us out of the house and back into the real world.

There are lots of little things that can help make the transition. Music is a big one for me. I love Christmas carols on December 1st, but by the 26th they start to drive me batty. Buying a good new CD of non-holiday music and playing it over and over does wonders for my soul. This year’s pick is a New Orleans jazz compilation from the HBO series “Treme” – about as far from Santa tunes as it gets!

Similarly, going to the movies rather than renting or Net-Flixing is another good tactic. It means you actually have to turn on your computer, check the listings, get dressed, and get into the car – all steps toward reality.

I’ve also noticed that bringing fitness magazines back into our household has given me a necessary nudge. As a direct result, I’ve officially said good-bye to binging on Turtles (for this year anyway). For a while there each holiday season, we keep the Rice Krispie Squares, Ferrero Rocher, Panetone, and other various goodies in stock and replace them immediately if we’re running low. Well, right now we’re still eating a few of the treats that remain, but yesterday was my first grocery shop and I managed to buy only healthy items and not replenish our staple treats. I’ve even hit the gym a few times and have taken advantage of our dry roads this year by going for a run. This is not up to par with my usual fitness regime but is better than the holiday inertia I’ve fallen into.

Every year I swear I’ll eat right, exercise, and stay on top of my workload during the holidays, but I think there’s a reason I always fall short. We tend to go so hard during the year, that it’s important to take some time out to eat, drink and be merry. We should add “sleep” to that popular holiday mantra. Animals get to hibernate and we should too!

Even though we have to face a few post-holiday pangs as the end draws near, the time out is well worth it. After all, when “going back to work” means dancing with moms and babies to my favourite kind of music, I can’t really complain!

– Jennifer


Archived from January, 2012.

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