The holidays are just big. Are they not? Big excitement, big anticipation, big expectations, big celebrations. At the same time, they can create big stress, big fatigue and even, dare I say, big regrets. Overindulgence is common around the holidays, and a bit of that is even okay. But a little preparation, a little self-examination might just be the ticket to a season with a bit more intention and a few less transgressions.
Staying Healthy in Body and Spirt During the Holidays
First, some of the more practical solutions:
1. Sip the sniffles away.
Tis the season for sneezes and coughs. Keep your immunity strong by sticky to a healthy diet most of the time and maybe even starting a healthy night time drink ritual (of the non-alcoholic kind). Try this one when winding down for the evening.
2. Avoid too much junk.
Planning a big shopping trip? Pack some healthy nibbles like these or this before you go so you are not tempted with all the mall junk. An antioxidant-rich smoothie packed in a to go cup is another good idea and keeps you hydrated.
3. Eat first.
If you have a holiday event on the calendar, consider having a small bowl of soup like this one before you leave so you won't overdo on the calorie laden, unhealthy appetizers and party grub.
4. Get outdoors.
Exercising outside is great for you but even just a few moments of stepping outside to load your lungs with fresh air and looking to the sun to soak in the pure unadulterated Vitamin D is important, too.
5. Create a laugh.
With so much going on, things are bound to get off schedule. We are sure to forget something or make a misstep. Try to laugh it off, and create a chuckle. (It is a good example for our children, too - handling stress and mistakes with a more light-hearted and forgiving manner.)
6. Play music.
And turn it up. Play some oldies that have meaning for you, holiday tunes to get you in the spirit or whatever reflects your mood at the moment.
7. Get lost.
Immerse yourself in a favorite activity. Tune everything else out for a bit. Play the piano, cook a beautiful meal, wrap a special gift, enjoy an intense conversation, go for a great run. Lose track of time and be better for it.
And on to a few deeper considerations or even a few more challenging suggestions:
8. Check in with yourself.
Make choices on the meaning the holidays have for you this season. Maybe, you want to make it your traditional holiday all the way. Or perhaps an extended family gathering has been planned with relatives a far that allow you to focus time on family you rarely get to see. Or, maybe this year you choose to make it a quiet one as you have suffered a loss and need space and some solitude. And, still yet, the season could hold something in-between. Not every Christmas or every Hanukkah has to feel the exact same year after year. Our lives change. Our situations change, and sometimes that change requires a holiday adjustment.
9. Notice others.
Reach out to someone else at this time to make his or her life better. Just look around. You can't miss it. People are suffering and do something about it. It can be as simple as a kind word or as grand a gesture you want to make it.
10. Review the mail.
If you are lucky enough to receive lots of invites, really think before accepting all of them. Do not overdue the party circuit as you may get overworked on the social scene. Make sure you balance all the social with some low down time that feels right to you. This brings me to the next consideration.
11. Plan time alone.
Step away from all the fa-la-las to decompress and to ensure you are not in reaction mode to every holiday demand. This could include regular meditation, a solitary walk in the woods, a church service in the middle of the week, a sauna session or even a long hot bath.
12. Go tech-free.
Put down the phone and the computer even for a few hours to allow your brain a repose from the constant stimulation as well as the interruptions.
I am sure you have some great ideas to add to the list. Please do and share what you think helps to stay healthy and create more meaning this time of year.
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