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A brain-based approach to surviving the holidays

Your Brain on the Holidays

Dec 06, 2021

I’m a heavy practitioner of boundaries and self awareness… but my biggest struggle around the holidays is guilt.


Hard Core, Well-Tailored Guilt.


If there's a reason I can pack on the guilt during the holidays... I've done it.

  • Guilt for taking a day or two off from work.
  • Guit for not traveling to see one family member or another.
  • Guilt for turning down offers from my local “family” in favor of just taking a vacation day to sit on my couch.
  • Guilt for sitting on the couch.


Guilt is crazy comfortable for me because it keeps me on the safe side of things! (You can’t be mad at me if I already feel guilty about it. Ha!) But it doesn’t serve me, and I’ve been slowly working through the bad behavior of subconsciously self-serving guilt.

When speaking with clients about what they struggle most with during the holidays, we get a wide range of answers from “Too many social engagements!” to “all the damn junk food!”

But underneath all the holiday guilt, engagements, and junk food, there's a pretty common struggle : "I can see my patterns. I can see what I don’t like about my behavior... but why can’t I just change it?"


Well, that's because brains are wired for survival, and they’ll put a lot of “thriving” on hold just to feel safe.

  1. Brains love predictability. Routine. Sameness.
  2. Brains default to patterns that require minimal effort (especially when under stress.)
  3. When struggling with resources, brains will throw you back to the easiest, oldest pattern.
  4. Your emotional “old brain” can and will hijack your intelligent “new brain” when under too much load or threat.
  5. You can RE-WIRE patterns and shut down the hijack with awareness, acceptance and action!


There is SO. MUCH. POWER. to move into the next couple months with grace and love and fire with this kind of information on your side!

And on that note, we'd just like to leave a friendly reminder that you can feel alive and free and lovely this holiday season and that we’re available in downtown Madison in you want to talk or work out (like… hit a punching bag or something).


We're grateful for you - 
Annie and The Forest Coaching Team
P.S. If you're feeling the holiday struggles, we wrote these for you:



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