Momentum Podcast: 403

Holiday Fight Or Flight

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

It's currently Christmas holidays and I've been spending time with my family in San Francisco. It's been so amazing to see everyone and spend some time together. The holidays are a great time of year but if I'm being totally honest it's also a set up for the perfect storm. There are lots of massive expectations swirling around and it can be a stressful time of high pressure and noise. It's easy to get caught up and spend your whole holiday in a state of panic and run yourself down. You don't have to lean into what the rest of the world does during the holidays, in fact, you can use this as a time to make massive gains on everyone around you.

Full Audio Transcript

The holidays are a great time to spend time with family. You create incredible memories. There are things that happen at the holidays that just wouldn't happen at any other time of year, and that's why they're so important, especially when you have a family. But at the same time, the holidays are some of the most stressful, difficult and high pressure and noise time of the year, and for people like us, that is something we have to admit or we will succumb to all of the pressure and noise of the holidays and they can take us down.

I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to, we challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it.

We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how, while the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent positive human evolution and we always will be.

The holidays really are such an important time of year. Right now I'm in San Francisco with Cadey and the girls. We're out here for Christmas. We're going to be flying home the day before New Year's eve and we were just in Southern California with my family for Christmas. So I got to see all three of my younger sisters, two of my sisters' kids. I got to meet one of my younger sister's new dog. She now has three. She just got engaged. It was really an incredible time. It was awesome. I enjoyed seeing everybody and getting to spend the time with my family. But at the same time, I have to admit to myself every year that the Christmas holiday season is incredibly stressful for me and has been since I was a kid.

A while ago I recorded a podcast where I shared that as a kid, I had a really big birthday party and I ended up sick and hiding from everybody and I was shocked at how many people reached out and said, "Hey, that happened to me too." I think the holidays are a time where we're all supposed to feel happy and we're supposed to feel joy and we're supposed to feel connected with the people around us. But if I'm honest, it's also one of the most stressful times of the year for me for simple reasons and for somewhat complicated reasons. The simple reasons are there's just a lot of pressure and noise, environmental changes with decorations and lights. I'm light sensitive, so driving during the holidays at night when there's flashing lights on houses is brutal for me.

When I was younger, I used to just wonder why around the holidays I always had a headache when I drove at night and then I finally started realizing it was because I'm crazy light sensitive and I wear blue blocking glasses most of the time when I'm inside. I really enjoy ambient light outside. I don't have as much sensitivity outside unless I've spent too much time inside one day then I do. During the holidays, driving is just brutal. So there's just all this pressure and noise. Decorations change the environment. There's just a different look, there's Christmas music gets played everywhere and sometimes just the rhythm and tempo of Christmas music can really be exhausting. I don't want to sound like I hate holidays, I don't, but I think that we have to admit that they are incredibly stressful.

Here's what happens for most of the world, the holidays create this perfect storm. It's a perfect storm of incredibly high expectations, high expectations of yourself, high expectations for you buying presents for other people, for the kids, for ... There's this environment of expectation that gets created around the holidays and even I get told all the time I'm so hard to buy for so now ... The holidays have created this expectation of I'm going to disappoint people around me because I never know what to tell them to get me. I really try and come up with stuff. But it's hard because, I mean, if I want something I just normally go ahead and buy it and I have a hard time waiting and so it's hard for me to spend September, October and November trying to figure out what to tell people to buy me.

So every year, these are just things that happen that don't normally happen that, for people like us, actually do raise pressure and noise. Then the holidays in general is this time of accepted over consumption and always it's an over consumption of food, usually an over consumption of alcohol, over consumption of spending, like over consumption in all ways. It's interesting because right after the holidays, right after Christmas and New Year's and all the stress, all the things that set us off, all the things that change our routines, that make it so that we go into a mild fight or flight for the entire holiday season, you're in some form of fight or flight, you're in some form of panic, and what happens is then right after the 1st of the year starts this mythical season that's being created by marketing companies, by pharmaceutical marketing companies called the cold and flu season so that we all have the expectation we will get sick during cold and flu season.

Cadey and I had been together 15 years. I have never had a flu in 15 years. Never. Because I don't buy into cold and flu season. I don't buy into the whole holiday season. I think it's crazy how people treat themselves at this time because here's something that at 46 years old, I will admit to you, the holidays are very stressful for me. Even though I love being around my family, it's still stressful, but to be around that many people, between my sisters and I and my immediate family has 17 people, including just the four, me and my three siblings, our kids and my parents are 17 people and all of that in one place is really stressful for me even though I want to be there. So I admit how, and I've had to admit over the course of years, just how stressful this time of year is for me because I didn't want to get sick anymore. I didn't want to feel completely run down.

So during this time of year, I make sure that I do the opposite of what everybody else does. I'm really careful to be hydrated during the fourth quarter because that's one of the first things you forget to do when you go into fight or flight. You don't drink enough and you don't have enough water. So instantly you go up in toxicity. You have a harder time staying healthy and so your immune system's compromised and anything that compromises your immune system this time of year is going to take you down because the cold and flu season is also the intersection of when everybody's just done indulging and then it's when we're already in fight or flight mode, then it's the coldest, least sunny time of year. So those are two things that get us moving less, outside less, in the sun less, less vitamin D and then cold and flu season kicks off when people are stressed beyond belief and they've just spent a ton of money and they're starting to get the bills. No joke. That's cold and flu season.

You don't have to participate. So admit that the holidays are stressful and because you can't just opt out of most of it even Cadey and I try sometimes to opt out of most of it. Admit your distress and stick to your routine and make sure you're still doing your routines, and make a commitment that when you go into the holiday season, in the fourth quarter, you're going to end the year healthier, you're going to end the fourth quarter healthier than you started the fourth quarter. Don't buy into the propaganda that this is the time of year where everybody's going to gain weight. It's not true. Everybody doesn't gain weight, but a lot of people do. Everybody doesn't, but a lot of people do and you don't have to. You can keep your head and keep healthy and don't compromise your immune system during the holiday season so that you actually make it through this because just the fact that we're in the holiday season is stressful.

For a lot of people, this is a time that has historic stressors from when they were kids or from, for a lot of times, from when we were kids and or from when they've been in some situation during the holiday season or this is just a time that inherently creates so much pressure for people, that it's a time where a lot of things happen in people's lives that are distressing and challenging and difficult, and this is when people get into more accidents and they have more challenges and they have more issues and more fights at home and more challenges with their kids and more. Literally, there is more injuries during the holiday season because people are so stressed out. So the way to beat this is to make sure that you're doing everything you can to lower pressure and noise in your life because you're naturally going to have an increase that's going to go up like crazy.

So it's not just staying hydrated, it's sticking to your routine. It's getting up and taking your walk, making sure you're walking every day because that bilateral stimulation lowers the pressure and noise for people like us. Walk, breathe in and out through your nose, gaze forward somewhere in the distance, and you will start to feel your entire body relax, especially if you're wearing functional issues and you're walking on a multi plane surface. Do everything that you have to to stay as healthy as you've ever been in the fourth quarter and you'll start to see something really interesting.

The rest of the world, not only unplugs but starts punishing themselves during the fourth quarter and it's not a minority, it's the majority of the world, stops pressing and then starts punishing themselves in the fourth quarter so they're not doing as well as someone who just stays present and understands what they want out of life and what they're doing to move forward. Because most people completely not only ... They back off of the throttle and then they start literally putting gasoline [inaudible 00:11:14] in the gas tank. You don't have to do that. You stay connected during the fourth quarter and you'll start to see that every year you make this positive, incremental forward progress that the people around you just don't make and you'll start to see just after a few years what a monumental advantage that is, what an unfair advantage that is because so much of the population expects that everyone is doing exactly what they're doing during this time of year.

So if you're a part of the minority that actually keeps your foot on the gas pedal and keeps your wits about you and doesn't go crazy with the food or the alcohol, stays hydrated, stays in it, you can take time off and still make massive incremental gains for the people around you. I know because I've done it for a long time and I know you can too. There's no way that I'm perfect during the fourth quarter. There are definitely times where there's overindulging or eating too much or forgetting to workout as much as I normally would or even starting to get dehydrated because I'm feeling the pressure and noise too. However, I am consciously lowering the pressure and noise every day, putting more gas in the tank because I know that this is the time of year that if you run yourself to the red line, don't take care of yourself and don't admit how much pressure and noise is going on, this is the time of year that you will succumb to the cold and the flu viruses that are always in our environment.

It's not that you catch a cold and flu because you were in proximity of some type of virus, we're almost always in proximity of some type of virus or some type of something that could make us ill, your body succumbs to the disease when your immune system is low enough, when you haven't been taking care of yourself, when you've been red lining, when you've been pushing yourself too hard, and that's why there's the cold and flu season because we're naturally at our lowest point in immunity anyway, we're naturally, because of the lack of sunlight, that lack of vitamin D, we're naturally at a point where we're already vulnerable, then we start throwing fuel on the fire with over consumption and alcohol and a lack of exercise and eating the wrong types of foods and we're asking for it.

So you don't have to lean in to what the rest of the world does. In fact, you can use this as a period to make massive incremental gains on everyone around you and to do that consistently year after year. In fact, if you're ready to start doing that now and you want next year to be the biggest year of your entire career, go to Let me show you not only how to change your environment for the better, to understand exactly how to create momentum and plan your next year in a way that will give you a strategy around exactly what you're doing and why. You will also understand how to create physiological momentum by installing the keystone habits that help entrepreneurial personality types like you and I lower pressure and noise consistently and create momentum on demand. Go to

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