684: An Open Letter About the Holidays

Nov 21, 2019

The Holidays are an amazing time of year, but can also bring a lot of stress, worry and overwhelm. I struggled with them for a long time. I would over-indulge and commit to too much, and come out the other side exhausted and unhappy. It got to the point where I dreaded the holidays.

In this episode, I explain how I escaped this, as well as the six things I’m focussing on ahead of the holidays that are approaching very soon. I’ve written an article that accompanies this, so whether you read, listen or both… think about how you can make the holidays easier and better for you and your family in the coming weeks.


  1. About the Free 7 Day Challenge I’m running that will help you make the most of the holidays this year.
  2. An important lesson I learned from James Clear about how you need to serve yourself before you can serve others.
  3. How I struggled with the holidays for nearly a decade, and how I dreaded them each year (avoiding them as much as I could).
  4. How your life isn’t black or white, and how a binary approach like this does not serve you or those around you.
  5. The 6 aspects I’m focussing on during the holidays this year to ensure I have a good time while sticking to my goals
  6. How this doesn’t only apply to the holidays, but if you go on vacation, out for a meal or even a weekend away.
  7. Why you should stop using the phrase “Holiday Season”!
  8. The steps you can make TODAY to ensure you reduce stress and overwhelm so you can enjoy the holidays without guilt or worry.


Until relatively recently, the holidays have always been a tough time for me.

For starters… the food!
As someone who struggled with her weight, the holidays brought temptation and guilt.

I’d be nervous in the lead up to them. I would set a goal and say “this year I won’t overindulge”, yet once the Halloween candy hit the stores the temptations would begin. Thanksgiving would soon follow with a lot more food. And then Christmas. And New Years. And valentines shortly after that…

I’d give in to my temptations once and more would follow.
After a few weeks of this, it’s hard to think of those goals without feeling the guilt.

And looking in the mirror… well, let’s say I didn’t enjoy doing it.

Yet it wasn’t just the food. As an introvert, the holidays bring a lot of social gatherings. This, combined with all the food and deserts led me to dread this period each year. I’d feel anxious about them. I’d avoid them. For around ten years, this was the case!

I no longer feel this way… I talk about why in the latest episode of the Primal Potential podcast. I encourage you to listen to it in full, as I share my personal story from avoiding the holidays to embracing them.

With the holidays approaching fast, now feels like a good time to share this with you.

A Lesson About Filling Your Cup From James Clear

I recently came across this image from James Clear.

I thought about the holidays approaching as soon as I saw it. How, during this time of year, so many people stop filing their own cup.

  • The lack of sleep due to all the parties and family gatherings.
  • The lack of recovery and time on your own, for the same reasons.
  • An overindulgence of food, and a lack of good food entering your body.
  • Too much drink and not enough exercise.

All the while you travel more at this time of year, still have work and life’s general stresses, and the worry of buying presents, cleaning the house before guests arrive and carving enough time to spend with family and friends.

As the image above shows, you need to put into your cup before you can let anything out.
Yet how often does this faucet stop in the lead up to the holidays?

Is it any wonder this time of year brings so much stress and overwhelm?

Your Life is NOT Black or White

I don’t like to look at life as black or white. It isn’t binary where you have to choose one or the other. You can have both a fun, exciting and enjoyable holiday period without needing to overindulge in food, drink and anything else.

It isn’t either-or.
Yet this is the mindset most people take.

Myself included, for many years.

Binary is the opposite of creativity. With a little thinking and planning, you can enjoy the holidays ahead without having to say no to every dessert and glass of wine. You can have both.

I talk about how in the episode that accompanies this article.
It goes into everything in greater depth, so be sure to listen in full.

But to overview, here are the 6 Aspects I’m focussing on as we enter the holidays…

1: Find The “Bliss Point”

I talk about the “Bliss Point” in episode 537, so you may like to listen to that in full to get a complete picture of what it is. The premise of it is simple enough:

a quantity of consumption where any further increase would make the consumer less satisfied

The bliss point is relevant in all walks of life: in business, with your own health, at home… everything!

It’s certainly present during the holidays. Think about how easy it is to go past this bliss point:

  • Where you spend too much on things you don’t need…
  • When you eat more food than it is enjoyable…
  • How you drink a few too many…
  • Where time with your family becomes too overwhelming and overbearing…

You have control over this, though. You get to choose when to stop. But first, you must appreciate what is too much and too little. Find that bliss spot and commit to staying inside it.

2: Stop Using The Term “Holiday Season”

Once Halloween arrives, we seem to enter the “Holiday Season”.

This is a dangerous term because before long you use it as an excuse:

  • To eat what you like
  • To go out and enjoy yourself too much
  • To drink and socialize
  • To get back to your workout when it’s all over…

It isn’t a season. Each holiday lasts a few days.
So, stop using it as an excuse to fall short of your goals.

This leads us to the next point.

3: Never Skip Twice

It’s Thanksgiving, so you skip your workout and indulge in a lot of food. Fine. Enjoy yourself.

But tomorrow, get back to it.

Don’t let it happen twice. Don’t let eating pizza at lunch be a reason to have ice cream after dinner. If you make a mistake or fall short, accept it and move on. Just commit to getting back to what you need to do tomorrow.

Never skip it twice.
Don’t let it become a habit.

4: Take Full Responsibility

I used to struggle with this, and it’s something I continue to work on each day.

It’s often easy to assign blame elsewhere.

As though the reason you ate seven cookies is that they brought out a plate full of them. Like you had to eat them all. As if you couldn’t have just had one or two!

It’s your choice. What you choose to do and not do is on you. Take full responsibility for it.

Practice taking ownership for all you can.

5: Do NOT Make it All About You!

This is easy to get caught up in during the holidays because you often have more to do.

  • Clean the house, as you have family coming over.
  • So much food to cook and prepare.
  • Presents to buy.
  • Travel to arrange for when you visit home.
  • Work to get finished before you take a few days off…

It’s easy to get caught up in all the things YOU have to do.
To the point where you forget what other people are going through.

Take a step back. Think about what’s going on with them.
Make it less about you, and more about those around you.

6: Plan Plan Plan!

This one helps to overcome making it all about you!


Create a plan. Make a start. Each day, make progress.


  • Plan the presents you need to buy and purchase one each evening.
  • Clean a section of your house every weekend.
  • Decide what is the right amount of food to eat and what’s too much ahead of time.

Start early and do something every day / few days / each week… this way the stress doesn’t build up until you have to do everything last minute. Have a plan and then stick to it.

I go deeper into all six of these in the episode that accompanies this.
I encourage you to listen to it in full, as I share a lot of my own story.

This began as a letter to myself. Yet I wanted to share it with you because I know the holidays are a struggle for so many. I found it difficult for 10 years, always dreading the holidays as soon as they arrived.

As we move into the holidays this year, these are the 6 aspects I’m focussing on.

I plan to have fun.
I WILL indulge in the food I love.
I’ll have a great time with family.

But I’ll also workout, have time on my own and stick to my goals. I won’t allow myself to enjoy too much short term pleasure if it’s at the expense of the life I desire. You can do the same. It’s a choice.

And it’s one of the things we’ll focus on in the Free 7 Day Challenge we’re running.

There are two ways to get involved.

  1. via the 12 Weeks to Transformation Wait List
  2. join the free Primal Potential Facebook Group

Each day I’ll send you a series of questions or journal prompts designed to make you feel more centered, grateful and fulfilled (and less stressed and overwhelmed).

It’s the perfect remedy to the holiday struggles so many face.

Thanks for reading today. Please listen to the podcast that accompanies this article in full, as I talk more about the holiday struggles I faced and how I overcame them.

The holidays can be a tough time, but they’re also a great opportunity to recharge, reflect and spend time with those you love (let alone enjoy some amazing food). You can both enjoy yourself and stick to the goals you set. It’s possible. It’s within your control!

I invite you to join me on the Free 7 Day Challenge that’s coming up. There are two ways to get involved.

  1. via the 12 Weeks to Transformation Wait List
  2. join the free Primal Potential Facebook Group

Thanks again for listening and reading. If you have any questions please add them in the comments below. And to subscribe to the podcast and connect with me on social media, follow the links below.



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