Updated: Jan 19, 2020
It’s no secret that I believe our bodies physically manifest things that our minds and hearts are processing. During the end of the year, with the impossible standards we put on ourselves, and the extra socializing, and maybe extra drinking, I think we culturally and collectively are trying to pad ourselves from the chaos. I know that I have been living subconsciously this way. In fact, It was during this holiday season, with treats galore, that I realized how heavily I have been relying on food to make me feel safe.
My guts really worked overtime last month after I chomped down on all those sugary treats, pecans, risotto and roast beast. Regardless of your traditions, the Holidays seem to be a time for excess. Champagne on New Years, cocktails at parties, wine with dinner, and lavish saccharine decadence come together to make our dentists richer and our bellies fatter. And the idea is that January is a fresh start; when we can undo all that we did. Because of the promise of change, it gives us carte blanche to indulge.
Could this be because this is how we as a culture celebrate? Or are we maybe collectively using food and alcohol to comfort ourselves during what is pretty ubiquitously known as a stressful time? I contemplated this, as I was assembling layers of strawberries, pound cake, and whipped cream and putting them directly into my mouth. Are we, as a culture, trying to figuratively pad ourselves to protect ourselves from the truth we don’t want to admit, that trying so hard to be perfect and have a perfect holiday season is just making us feel anxious and competitive?
I dutifully complied with the Holiday standard of promising to change, and after several showers and a few tears, I pulled my big girl panties up and went on a juice fast. I personally find a lot of benefit in doing these cleanses. Healthier skin and hair, drop water weight, and detoxing from caffeine, alcohol, and sugar to name a few. More than that I just let my body and my organs rest for a while.
But the best benefit of all is realizing I don’t need all that armor. I don’t need food or alcohol to comfort me, to wrap me up, to pad me or protect me from the harsh scary world of high standards and expectation. I can put down the peanut butter filled pretzels dipped in white chocolate, and I can be patient, and still, and slow. I can face the scary world, the relatives, the office, the heartbreak, the anxiety, and even the GD North Pole.