Dealing with the “Silly Season”

As we approach the Christmas holiday season, we all need to ask: will it be the “Silly Season,” where we all eat too much, drink too much, and don’t cope well with all the family situations that may present at this time of year – or will we choose to care for ourselves, look after our bodies and our wellbeing, enjoy and appreciate those around us to the best of our ability, and work to build connection with our loved ones in whatever way that may take shape?

The choice is always ours – it will never be perfect but there is always joy to be found and it will be what we make of it.

Simple choices – like avoiding alcohol, drinking plenty of water, not eating that second or third helping, having smaller servings of dessert or avoiding sugar and sweets altogether – all support our body to stay clear and light. And if we find it hard to make these choices, instead of giving ourselves a hard time we can gently work to understand why. For example, is there something that we don’t want to feel or something we don’t know how to deal with, so we eat or drink to numb ourselves a little (or a lot!). Choosing to feel what is there to feel can short-circuit the choice to have that drink or that extra piece of pudding.

What can also be challenging at this time of year is dealing with family situations where much that has remained unresolved during the year presents itself. This can be challenging but it also presents us with an opportunity to heal what has remained unhealed or unsaid throughout the year. If we can appreciate who the other person is, and not get caught up in their – or our – behaviours or emotional reactions, then a tremendous amount of healing is on offer.

Some tips that can support us during the Christmas season are:

  • Minimising intake or abstaining altogether from alcohol helps us to cope better with everything – physically and emotionally. Alcohol is toxic and if we are totally honest, most of us feel much better when we don’t drink it.
  • Doing our best to minimise sugar, sweets and too much heavy food will also support our body immensely.
  • Getting to bed early, not getting caught up in that extra conversation or sitting in front of the computer or TV supports our body to rest well.
  • Not feeling like we have to ‘please’ everyone. It’s not our job to do everything for everyone – we can focus on just being ourselves, caring for ourselves, feeling what is needed in any situation, what is considerate of everyone including ourselves, and where the load can be shared.
  • Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate! Appreciate ourselves and our amazing qualities (yes, we do have lots!), and appreciate all others that we meet and spend time with. A focus on appreciation reminds us who the other person truly is, adds a great depth of joy to our interactions, and helps us to not get caught up in emotional situations.

Will we be caught up in the ‘Silly Season’ this Christmas, or will we choose to care for ourselves and enjoy and appreciate those around us? These are the ultimate gifts we can give to ourselves and others…

By Kathy Byrne, Nutritionist and Health Practitioner, Brisbane

Related Reading:
What I Love about Christmas
In what Quality do we do Christmas?
Women, excessive tiredness and Christmas stress

498 thoughts on “Dealing with the “Silly Season”

  1. The silly season has just about passed now and this time around I felt it like a big wave that swept over the land and has now washed into shore. The water still has to return from shore but I’m so appreciating how I didn’t get too caught up in it all, though I did get surprised myself when I did. I know the steadier I am this year, in all my relationships – especially the one with my body- the steadier next year will be and how the nation gets swept up in the rush and the fervour of making Christmas special won’t affect me as much.

  2. The other part to the silly season is that for many people they have much more time off than usual and it can be easy to lose their daily rhythm and start to get comfortable with getting up later, going to bed later and eating and drinking far more than usual and when it is all over struggle to get back to ‘normaility’. I feel this is why so many people get sick with colds and flu at this time of the year as they indulge in so many areas of their life that they would not usually do, and the body has to discard all that is not truly supportive and loving.

  3. It’s an accurate name – the silly season. It is so silly that everyone gets caught up in the stress and the overeating and the self-harm in the form of drinking. Then in January everyone feels exhausted, fat, unhealthy and stressed. How many times do we have to do this before we think ‘There must be another way’?

  4. ‘Will we be caught up in the ‘Silly Season’ this Christmas, or will we choose to care for ourselves and enjoy and appreciate those around us? These are the ultimate gifts we can give to ourselves and others…’ a very supportive piece of writing which I loved reading.

  5. Great tips on how to open up the possibility of turning the silly season, into what we all hope the holidays to be. A opportunity to deepen our relationships with people. Is that not what we all really want for Christmas?

    1. Ken, yes Christmas is about deepening our relationships with people, so it really is up to us to start living it that way to reflect it is possible.

  6. It is very possible to support ourselves throughout the whole of the year and not use the festive season as ‘time off’ to indulge and disregard ourselves…it is a simple choice.

  7. I went to the supermarket today, 11 days after Christmas day, and peered into the largely empty meat section. I asked a man working there if they had more out the back but he said that was it. I suddenly realised it was still due to Christmas, a time when we seem to be overtaken by a ‘bunker mentality’ of having to stock up for the next few years. When I asked he confirmed it was because of Christmas and that it would take weeks to recover stock. I am glad I no longer suffer from the silly season as it keeps life much simpler!

  8. “Will we be caught up in the ‘Silly Season’ this Christmas, or will we choose to care for ourselves and enjoy and appreciate those around us? These are the ultimate gifts we can give to ourselves and others…” As today is the traditional day that all the decorations come down I wonder how everyone is feeling, do they leave a void as they can appear to sometimes in years gone by, or are we glad to clean up and start a fresh?

  9. Ah! The week after the silly season has come and gone once again!
    The kids are back at school, we are back at work, and the roads are clear on weekends. We have returned what was not wanted, purchased more stuff in the sales we did not need. But, the decorations that are being put away will return in eleven months, and the cycle begins afresh unless we chose to step off the marry-go-round that finishes the year.

  10. We simply have a choice, to indulge in the silly season – or not. Yet if we do find ourselves slipping (which can occur at any time of year) we just have to lovingly bring ourselves back – and appreciate, as you so rightly mention in your article Fiona.

  11. I think it’s great to recognise that even though we may find something challenging there is also always the opportunity there for us to learn and grow from our experience and response to it.

  12. I have found that the more I care for and honour my body the less I have emotional turbulence and moodiness. Self care is an investment that pays off in so many ways.

  13. Silly season is simply supplying the surplus sugars that is sapping us all in every situations so that we submit our-self to supplying the surrendered vehicle with even more sugar, which continues to sap our energy. Sugars come in the form of white sugar, brown sugar, sugar cane, molasses, trickle, dried fruits, most if not all fruits, honey, maple syrup, palm sugar, corn syrup, all the so called natural sweeteners, carbohydrates that all turn to sugars, starchy vegetables and alcohol. I have been through and used them all and am so energised now because I no longer take anything that will bring the yo-yo affect or high one minute and then low the next that all sugars etc. gave to me. Call me ‘silly’ if you like but this has been a learning curve that will continue for many ‘seasons’ as different things are being refined and end up being to sweet! Thank you Kathy, this is definitely a conversation we all need to share what our experiences have been so we can all take the silly situation we have, because we are ultimately uninformed and need to become aware.

  14. Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate! what a beautiful gift of joy as we bring appreciation to our selves and to others.

  15. It’s incredible how little energy I give the Christmas period these days. It’s like I hardly notice it for the most part, but I realise when I am being made aware of it, all of a sudden I get thoughts about wanting to indulge in things like food, particularly desserts. A few years ago, I realised just how much pressure I felt in the lead up to Christmas around it being a special day, when really it was never a huge deal in my small family of 4, but there was always an expectation that it had to be a great day, or an argument free day, which naturally resulted in major blow ups every time. Now with the pressure off, and the realisation that the 25th of December is much like the 4th of May (ie: just another day), it’s just an opportunity to spend time with whomever is around and keep it super simple.

    1. So cool to read this. A lot of adults I know feel sad that they don’t get excited or happy at Christmas anymore and feel like this is a failure (or live excitement on the day through their children). You show that it can actually be a really lovely time of year as much as any other day can be.

  16. I find this article supportive in being honest about what really goes on in Xmas. That underneath the festivities there is a lot we may or may not want to be honest or aware about but in not being aware, our bodies suffer cyclically.

  17. What is the tension we live with that we want to have a “silly” season? Dedicating a season that says we can eat whatever we want, drink whatever we want, behaviour in whatever way we want is a recipe for disaster, as it does not in truth relieve any tension at all. All it does is mask the tension we live with on a daily basis until eventually we are ready to look at how we are living.

  18. This is a great blog about the silly season and I feel it is also a reminder that the silly season can happen at any time – not just Christmas time but also during birthdays and holidays etc. How often do we take a celebratory moment and turn it into a ‘silly season moment’, and hence not really celebrate ourselves but in fact do some damage and slow ourselves down under the excuse that we ‘deserve it’…Funny how we work…and yet we all have a natural way of celebrating ourselves, by allowing the joy to bubble up and out and this is infectious with those around us…So it is more about connecting deeply to this beauty within and allowing this to guide our celebration.

  19. What I notice more and more around the Xmas holiday season is how much people are seeking relief from their exhaustion and disappointment in life. Often placing a lot of expectation and pressure for the holidays to deliver some relief from that exhaustion and stress and most importantly more connection with others.

  20. There’s a comedian in the UK who talks about how ridiculous the food is at Christmas… Hot, fruity sickly sweet wine, turkey, brussel sprouts and bread sauce – Like when do we actually order this stuff during a normal dinner in a restaurant?

  21. Unfortunately the ‘good times’ indulging in food and drink etc. over the festive season allows us to avoid feeling the momentum we have been living in all year, and hence we tend to repeat many of the same things in the next year rather than truly resolving them.

  22. It was like a time laps at the beginning of January, with a lot of my clients and colleagues coming into work saying that they ate to much and were cutting back from all the indulgences and feeling like rubbish. When you really do look at the excessiveness of Christmas it is bonkers. I love the time of year hanging out with family and friends and celebrating our relationships with tasty delicious food but have moved on from a way that was not loving nor supportive of the body.

  23. Last year I did get caught up in this a bit but choose that this year I definitely don’t. Same as other people have shared here I love spending time with family and friends but need to honour myself and my body so much more and need to stop buying so many presents!!!

  24. The silly season passes and we are left with the reality of what life was like before the silly season, years would pass and I would feel this up and down ride. Yet when I stop today and see how much my life has changed what strikes me is how each week, the month that passes I feel a deeper quality and not an up and down nearly as much. My life after the silly season is more purposeful than before, in many parts due to the care and quality I took during that period that helped support the next and so on. Living the benefits of consistency is what truly supports me.

  25. It is striking how we have normalised so many occasions and events to be intoxicated and checked out, when all we are seeking is connection and intimacy.

  26. It’s crazy how it is considered ‘normal’ to absolutely abuse your body with food and alcohol over Christmas, no wonder it is called the ‘silly season’.

  27. Spot on.. now that is a honest reflection on that time of the year.. To embrace what is revealed and chosen to offers us evolution and to stand in authority of who we are and where we have chosen to let go of. Equally appreciating what you bring to this world naturally, and have been bringing so far to humanity.

  28. Looking back it became a “silly” way of living that would have ‘respites so called’ that were less “silly” but still very indulgent to what my body was Truly asking for. Now I have learnt to understand what my body is sharing and this is in ‘no way’ “silly” because it involves a Self-loving approach to every aspect of life.

  29. It appears we have more than one “silly” season throughout the year, for example Easter and the overindulgence in chocolate or Christmas in July where we repeat Christmas all over again. It really all comes down to wanting an excuse to indulge in behaviours that do not support us and having a man made season to support that indulgence.

  30. We have not had the silly season for many many years now… And we find that when we share our way of living at these times, friends and family find a deeper feeling of the word celebration

  31. Great tips Kathy, I pretty much had a Christmas very similar to your list and everyone in my family felt great for it. In previous years I have been around family who drank alcohol and this year with no alcohol in sight, everyone felt amazing.

  32. The whole concept of ‘that little bit extra’, e.g. putting more on our plate or going to bed a few minutes later, is an illusion. The difference 10 minutes or a few mouthfuls of food can make is enormous, and if you pay attention to this detail then it’s obvious that everything is everything and our ‘small’ tolerances/choices are just as impactful as things we might consider more important.

  33. What seems like a completely innocent and simple decision like not drinking enough or going to the toilet when needed, can have significantly large effects of the quality of our well being in ways we rarely realise or hold in its needed importance.

  34. I used to get so poorly at Christmas, I would push to get things done, eat and drink too much and feel exhausted in January. All upside down, things are changing and caring for myself all year round has become much more normal.

  35. So right Kathy, what makes us even seek these unhealthy habits? What does it tell us about our quality of life? And what does it bring to us and others when we continue to live our lives from this poor quality and unhealthy choices? Can we than actually complain about becoming ill and sick since much of our disease and illness comes from lifestyle choices? Or is that too much responsibility to accept? All interesting questions we should ponder on.

  36. Christmas is not the only silly season! One only has to look at Bank holiday Mondays! The abuse of the excess of everything we cram into these long weekends makes us glad to return to work for a rest.

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