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Pesach Self-Care Plan

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In this episode, I go solo to provide some tips during this busy time of year.

I want to talk about the upcoming holiday of Passover/Pesach. What’s going on for me and how I’m getting ready for it, physically and emotionally and I thought this would be something that’s helpful to share.

I want you to think about what this holiday brings up for you. Every Jewish holiday has an energy, and we know that the theme of Pesach is that chometz represents the yetzer hora. We work on getting rid of physical chometz and mental chometz. I think this is a beautiful concept. However, usually before the holiday were busy with the physical preparations, understandably, but when the holiday arrives, were not mentally prepared. I feel this way with a lot of holidays.

I remember before I got married my husband’s Rabbi told him to make sure to carve out time to daven on the day of the wedding, because the yetzer hora is so strong on your wedding day trying to get you not to daven.

We get so consumed with the pictures, hair, and makeup, and davening is an afterthought. If Corona taught us anything it was those weddings that were stripped to the bare bones-10 guests in someone’s backyard, and it was really just to celebrate the Simcha with the closest people of the Chassan and Kallah.

I remember thinking about that, so I got up early and davened. I was so annoyed at the photographer who wouldn’t stop taking pictures of me when it was getting closer and closer to shekiah and I couldn’t daven anymore.

I think this happens a lot with our holidays-at least that’s how I feel about myself. I make myself crazy about the cleaning, and making sure the kids have clothes and making sure the physical needs of the holiday are met so I neglect the emotional aspect.

So, the way I deal with this is I try to spend some time just thinking before the holiday. I can’t say I listen to shiurim because right now I don’t have a shiur that connects with me. Maybe this has a lot to do with the intuition that we have as women. But I try to sit and think-what does this holiday mean to me? How do I want to see myself on this holiday? What are my goals? What’s my vision? And then, what’s my plan to execute that goal or those visions?

I have spoken about this before on Rena Reiser’s podcast about Rosh Hashana and being around so many family members, which has changed due to corona so it’s not the same.

Coming up with a self-care plan has been really helpful for me. I can’t say it’s foolproof, there are still things I don’t think about and that’s ok.

This is a reminder to be gentle, kind, and compassionate with yourself. You can’t anticipate every single thing, nor should you, that’s extreme. But the things you can anticipate, I strongly encourage you to anticipate and have a plan for them. Because then you set yourself up for success.

So, to put this into practice, for example before Pesach, I try to get honest with myself about my menu.

How much food do I really need? Who am I trying to impress? Do I think people will think less of me if I don’t serve my food a certain way? How do I want to behave at the meal? Will I feel resentful? Slighted? Whatever the answer is, I try to go based on that.

I do have that normal Jewish mother tendency to cook an insane amount of food and have an insane amount of leftovers, but we all want that recognition of , ‘’Oh my gosh, there’s so much food, when did you cook all of it? How did you have time for all of this?’’

Even if we try to fool ourselves that this doesn’t apply to us, we know that we really do want this-at least I do! It’s a very validating feeling. But when I think about that, it feels good for 10 seconds, and then if no one is helping you when you want them to help or you’re not getting enough thanks, you start to feel resentful. Resentment comes when you overexert yourself. No one is asking you to work yourself to the bone for Yom Tov, that’s not the point.

And if you are doing it for those 10 seconds of validation or compliments, you have to find another way to validate and compliment yourself, because that’s not a sustainable model.

So, I really try to be practical with my menus. I try not to make too much food and I try to make easy food like 1 pot meals. I also try to combine sides with mains while I am cooking. When I do my food shopping, I try to buy in bulk what I know my kids will eat-yogurt, string cheese, potatoes Stix…

After three years of making Pesach, I learned that instead of turning over my whole pantry for Pesach, I can close off sections and keep one section open where all of my Pesach stuff goes. I find it’s a good size because I don’t want to buy more than what will fit in there since I don’t really need that much, it’s only 8 days! Once Pesach is over, what will you do with your excess Pesach products? You can keep it for next year, but it takes up inventory space in your house. Remembering what you have or writing it down is another option, but it can be time-consuming as well.  Think about what would work for you and your family.

Another form of self-care over Pesach for myself is exercise.

I try hard to exercise on most days even if it’s 10-20 minutes on my spin bike or biking outdoors. Or I’ll go for a walk outside or do some sort of exercise routine at home.

Another important point is to be in touch with your friends. Not just your family members that live with you. Make sure you are processing what’s going on, discussing it, and having a space and a time to deal with your own stuff and just everyone else’s.

And the rest is subjective. If you want to get a manicure or get your wig done in advance before the holiday rush.

Please please please 100 times over make sure you’re eating while you’re cleaning and prepping all of this food for Pesach.

3 meals and 3 snacks a day, I almost want to say minimum so that you don’t forget to eat. Set alarms throughout the day to remind you to eat. I know the stores stopped stocking good food, so go to a restaurant, make this a time where you will really enjoy the food. You can’t cook for every person and not eat. It won’t feel good, so make sure you’re eating and eating enough! Foods that you like, eating at a table some of the time, and try not to eat while you are busy with something else some of the time.

This is also subjective but if you wanted to sit and think what does this holiday mean to me?

Journal about it, talk to G-D, connect to the holiday, connect to the concept of getting rid of the yetzer hora. What’s been helpful for me, at least the past couple of years is no shame, no self-guilt, no self-deprecating comments. That’s not what G-D wants in my humble opinion. That never helped me grow or feel better about myself and honestly, it only makes me feel and act worse.

So, I just think about having that gentle relationship with G-D- asking him where I should work on myself.

There are so many things we can take on or connect to. But we can’t work on everything. Those tiny bite-sized things that we do connect to are a good first step. If I could parallel this to business, maybe people won’t agree with me, but I know my own business coaches are always saying, go for what you are drawn towards.

Let’s say, I really like counseling and I really don’t like the technological aspect of my business, focus heavily on counseling and delegate the technology part out so that you can be in your zone.

I found that helpful in every area of my life-where do I excel, what’s resonating with me, and what can I do to connect. It’s a much more pleasant and motivating way of living.

It’s always on the forefront of my mind, am I guilting myself? Is that helpful? Has this belief system helped me in any way? Have I misunderstood it? Trying not to get stuck in a thought pattern that doesn’t work for me or isn’t even true.

I hope that this was helpful!

I hope everyone has a beautiful, calm, and happy Pesach. With good food and family time, a lot of relaxing and connecting to G-D, and connecting to yourselves.

I would love to hear what your self-care plans are!

Gila Glassberg, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, holding an inclusive variety of foods

Gila Glassberg is a Master's level registered dietitian and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. As a teenager, she was faced with constant diet talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food. She struggled with disordered eating. This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She uses a non-diet, weight-neutral approach called Intuitive Eating. She helps growth oriented women break out of chronic dieting, and regain clarity into what is really important to them.

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