I have to admit that I do not cry very often. I am one of those people who just likes (or pretends to?) to "tough it out." You see, living a hemisphere away from my family (I am from Moscow, Russia, where the rest of my family still resides) , I have to be that way. Or do I? I am not sure. I just know that I was bawling my eyes out on that night and I could not stop. And, if you are reading this, you are the first people to know I was doing that. Because, after I was done, I took a shower and no one else knew I was crying hard beforehand. And part of that was actually to protect my parents who, I knew, were nervous and sad the night before their long flight back home. I did not want to add to their "baggage."
But here is one awesome thing that happened after I had cried: I gave myself permission to stop. Because I realized that I did and had been ENOUGH. Yes, I may have felt tired, even drained, at the end of every day of our time together. And that was OK. Because I was enough. And, more importantly, I had always been.
It was an awesome visit for all of us. And I realized I was not crying because I was sad. I was crying because I was finally figuring out just how much I had missed my parents all these years. After I moved to the U.S. (a good 20 years ago) and when, during our past get-togethers, I did not actually get to spend as much time with them as I wanted, while my kids were still young and needed my attention. Things have changed. My kids have grown. They still need me, of course, but I now have a piece of min and plenty of time I can spend with my parents when we do see each other.
And I realized I was truly grateful for the month we had had together. I had put my work on hold while my parents were visiting. I had moved my public lectures to the previous month. While feeling a bit nervous about it, I closed off my calendar to any client bookings. I wrote no new blog posts (as you can see:-)).
What DID I do? I was simply there, fully present with my parents (and the rest of my immediate family, of course). We took walks together, we cooked together and we talked. Which is likely why I felt a bit drained, needing a respite in my bedroom, away from everyone, after my kids were in bed this past month:-). The point is, though, I have done enough and I took time off from everything else to simply BE with the people I love so much. Curious how being fully present actually takes focus and energy, isn't?
Why am I writing this here? I mean, I am a nutrition coach. Shouldn't I be telling you instead how to weather the holidays best and detox afterwards? Well, maybe. If you know me well, you can guess that those posts are in the works:-). I am indeed working on a brand new detox program, so stayed tuned. Here is something to consider, however: detoxing is far more than just about the food. A proper detox involves detoxing your emotions. And, sometimes, you may need to cry to feed your soul. To be present. For yourself and the people you love. So, do make space for it.
Whatever that means for you. Whether it is "unplugging" from your electronic devices to spend quality time with your kids or putting a few things on hold so that you can spend time with your parents who, as we all know too well, are only growing older. Cherish this time together. Everything else (including a post-holiday detox:-)) shall wait.
Lots of family meal cooking happened while my folks were here. I was eager to re-visit our family culinary traditions and re-learn what I grew up with but seem to have forgotten. It was really cool. And just as cool was my Mom's honest praise for my ability to quickly crank out nutritious nutritious meals from scratch from my own repertoire for all of us. It seemed like we ALL learned from each other which was something I did not expect. And it was truly awesome.
Yesterday, eager to practice what I learned during my folks' stay here, I made a traditional family breakfast of millet porridge with pumpkin (also known as "kasha" in Russian). It was delicious. And then, after seeing my kids off to school, I had to make myself a second, "real," breakfast. Did someone say "bacon"? Mmm! Yes, delicious bacon, with dark yellow pastured egg yolks running down from it, topped with deliciously crispy sauerkraut my Mom made. I don't know how that sauerkraut manages to stay so crispy, mine always gets soggy... Clearly, something I need to keep working on to be as good as my Mom's. Even though I am enough:).
That second breakfast was needed because I was heading out to a "coffee meeting" at one of my kids' school. Which usually means "coffee and sugary pastries". Great work gets done at those meetings but, unless you have had some bacon beforehand, it is hard to resist those pastries.
Which has absolutely NOTHING to do with willpower. Because, let's face it, the pastries don't usually taste all that great. But if a Mom is hungry (after dutifully feeding her kids before school in the morning), she will eat those pastries, right?
So, do take care of yourself. Maybe, even run late to a meeting (yes, I did just say that:-)) so that you have time to eat your bacon. You will be able to accomplish more, to the job and relieve of everyone at the meeting. I am kidding about the bacon, of course: jut get some quality protein in (whatever you prefer, the range is wide and runs all the way from scrumptious bacon and eggs to delicious vegan protein). The point is that mo one can be a super human on coffee and pastries, so don't put yourself there. Again, it is not about willpower.
It is about knowing that you are enough and taking good care of yourself to honor this. Love yourself enough to nourish yourself, be it with quality protein in the morning or taking the time to enjoy the people you love. Or, ideally, both. Taking care of the fist one usually helps you do both better.