The holidays mean lots of time spent with family, which also means lots of opportunities for stressful situations to arise—it’s a universal law that the people who love us the most and know us the best also push our buttons like nobody else.
Take, for example, my grandmother. I love her to pieces. We talk on the phone every week. Yet when she starts commenting on my hair, or giving me fashion advice—as she’s been doing since I was in first grade—my patience has a tendency to fly right out the window.
So last year when we all congregated at her house in Florida for the holidays, I made it a point to keep up my yoga and meditation practice in the hope that I’d be able to react to her comments a little more thoughtfully (and a little less like a cranky first grader). Since privacy was at a premium (and since the warm Florida sun kept temperatures in the 70s), I set up my mat on her back porch. I didn’t expect that she would take any interest. That’s why I was so surprised when she snapped this photo of me. And then tacked it up on her refrigerator. “You just look so happy,” she says. She even asked me to show her some stretches to do before getting out of bed in the morning.
This holiday season, let your loved ones see you doing some aspect of your self-care practice. You don’t need to be showy about it, or insist that they join you. Just letting yourself be seen is enough to plant a seed in your family’s mind that perhaps there is something to all this “woo woo” stuff after all. And it might just pave the way for a holiday that’s a little less fraught and a little more festive.
Read more from Kate Hanley in Gaiam Life: