Typically when you read a blog post you have to wait until halfway down the page to get to the punchline. I’ll save you the trouble.


There it is.

Now, let me explain. 

It’s that magical season, the fluffy stuff is still white, there is this sense of hope, happiness and magic in the air. Holidays are just around the corner and while some of us can’t be more excited to celebrate this beautiful time of year - for others - December can also spark feelings of inadequacy, loneliness and a sense that we really lose ourselves in the hustle and bustle.

We make concerted efforts to let loose with colleagues at work parties, to go holiday brunching with friends and of course, dinners with the family. We feel the urgency to give, give and give… and it feels great, doesn’t it?

I happen to think that this time of year is a great reset. 

Giving feels good. And if it takes a holiday to turn our attention to helping the less fortunate, opening a door for someone or to giving a perfect stranger a compliment, so be it! As you know at EPIC we are very much tied to service too and are currently supporting the Ottawa Food Bank with a goal of filling 3 boxes of non-perishables for those that do not have enough to eat during the holidays. So, yes - giving is great. But, we are smart enough to know that there is a balance to this whole thing right? For most of us, the person we forget to give to the most is ourselves.

We worry about what gifts to get when we’ll have time to organize our entire houses or steam clean the carpets before family arrives, and then, we have to remember what not to say to our Mother in Law. What is this pressure we feel? This anxiety is brought on by feelings of not being good enough. 

We think that showing up with what we have and who we are is not enough. So much so that we cancel plans with ourselves, throw all of those self-care practices that we developed throughout the year out the window, overeat on sweets, binge-watch too much Netflix and then, since now we feel like crap, we compose “The Email”. The dreaded email we send to our trainer that says “I need time off, see you in the New Year.” Or worse yet, because it happens with no one watching, we don’t book the next group class, we skip the gym entirely.

Have you been telling yourself that you’re too busy? Are you too busy or is it all the pressure you’re putting on yourself to be perfect? 

It’s time to stop this program from running in our minds in the same way as it did last year.

After working in the industry for over 15 years, I have witnessed this trend every year. Like clockwork, the automatic program of our lives kicks in around the 10th of December. We start hearing about holiday shopping and baking and travel and stress and panic and frustration and … then, let me tell you what happens in January. That first session back, that first time into EPIC after the holidays - the work begins again. We tackle the self-limiting beliefs and vow to do things differently next year. We talk about how we had too many expectations and how it’s only for one week anyways! We talk about how this work that we’re doing in the gym and with our health is about life practices that last a lifetime, even throughout challenging times, especially throughout challenging times.

I’m not immune to this cycle. Thankfully, I have had the fortune of having my birthday 5 days before Christmas, so, guess what that forced me to do every year? Treat myself, nourish myself and love myself - to reflect on my past year and to set my sights on what my heart desires for the following year. Thank God for that.

I am here to tell you that YOU. ARE. A. PRIORITY!, that you need less than you think, you need to do less than you think, that a great gift is about the thought and NOT about the price tag, that this is YOUR holiday.

I’m also telling you that being alone on Christmas can be the most magical and spiritual thing you can do, that doing the same thing you have always done every year is not tradition, it’s groundhog day if your heart isn’t into it.

I know family pressure is a real thing. I remember the first time I spent Christmas without my mother - she didn’t like that very much, but, it was what I needed at the time. Sometimes we have to make tough decisions in order to live our truth and be happy. This year I’ll be going silent for 5 days. I decided to treat myself with alone time at this fantastic spot called Canyon Ranch. For 5 days I’ll be alone, yes, even over my birthday, to shed, to dive deep, to surrender, to let go. Why? Because if I don’t put myself first and really check in with myself, what can I really offer those around me.

My obligation to self-care is altruistic.

And this is something that we really have to understand. Who benefits most from time spent on yourself are the people around you. And I’m not saying to shun everyone to the side and only focus on you. I’m saying it’s possible to do things differently. It’s possible to have a lovely Christmas without the sugar coma, without the regret, without the 20lbs weight gain, without visiting extended family if those things are not right for you this year and certainly without cancelling your sessions or your commitments to yourself throughout the holiday season.

When you take time to better or re-centre yourself, it becomes that much easier to take care of other people. Without putting yourself first, how can you make any significant impact on your loved ones? Replenishing yourself, your energy, your wellness should be at the top of your to-do list. The best gift you can give your children, your partner, your clients, your staff, your family and your friends is your happiness, your undivided attention, your presence and your example of what it’s like to live a fulfilled and happy life.

So, instead of creating a list of New Year resolutions, why not start focusing on yourself now? Why wait? Why cancel on commitments you have already made to yourself? The sooner you start taking care of yourself when it is easier not to, the sooner you can make a difference to those around you and truly level up your existence.

Have you been wanting to start your wellness journey?

Know that you need a coach to help you navigate the complex world of training, nutrition and self-care? Book a session with a trainer and to set yourself up for success before the year even starts. Consult with our Holistic Nutritionist to know how you will win at your meal-prep come January 1st. See our Physiotherapist to finally figure out why your knees hurt, so you can kill it on the dancefloor on the New Years Eve. Get that Just Classes membership and just show up to classes, better yet, book them in your calendar in advance for months to come.

Stop overthinking it and just take the leap.

Don’t put it off to 2019 like it’s been done every year already (and enjoy the slightly less-crowded gym while you can ;) ) Start re-writing the script now.

Ultimately, when you are at your healthiest and happiest you are able to offer the world so much more. If you need a little help, we are here just for that - you deserve it. Remember to make yourself a priority. You have control over your life, you can change your circumstances and do things differently. I believe in you.

Taking care of yourself also means challenging yourself.

If you’re looking to align your mind, body, and spirit to set realistic goals before the clock strikes midnight on the New Year, join our Meditation Teacher, Jewelia Orlick for New Year’s Eve EPIC Meditation + Workshop! Dive into intuitive and reflective based meditation practice, journaling and relaxation as we reflect on what unfolded in 2018 and what we’d like to call in for 2019. Meet the New Year feeling refreshed, renewed and ready to tackle any new challenges that come your way.