The holiday season is upon us once again! Although it is often a joyous time of the year filled with friends, family and giving, it can also be a period of excess stress resulting in emotional highs and lows, loneliness, anxiety, unhappiness and sadness. In addition, holiday triggers can incite challenges. Doing too much or too little and being separated from loved ones at this special time can lead to a multitude of unresolved feelings, stress, and sadness. It is no wonder so many people end up abandoning their health and wellness goals.
The good news is that setbacks can be avoided by planning ahead.
Develop a holiday plan to help you experience joy and well-being through the holiday season.
Your plan will include improved self-care, enhanced support from others, and healthy ways to celebrate. Here are a few suggestions to achieve a happy, healthy holiday season:
Give yourself the gift of time to nourish your body, mind, and spirit! You not only have permission to take care of yourself, it is your responsibility to do so. Good self-care is vital.
Take the time to figure out what you truly need. Slow down and plan quiet time for reflection and tune into yourself and ask “What does my body need?”, “What does my mind need?”, “What does my spirit need?”
Examples of common needs: Healthy, nourishing foods, water, exercise, sunshine, nature, rest, play, connection, reflection, contemplation, music, art, a good book or movie to stimulate your mind, interesting conversation……
Be mindful and present to your life, whether you are eating a meal or wrapping a gift.
When we rush through life we miss the experience. We look forward to a yummy meal and don’t take the time to really taste it. We have tea with a friend, all the while thinking about our to-do list, thus missing connection and camaraderie. We miss out on the simple pleasures of life and crave more. When we are mindful and present to the experiences in our life we are nourished by them. Take the time to enjoy pleasurable moments and experiences.
Put your emphasis on incorporating nourishing, balanced meals. Don’t go too long between meals. Make sure you eat breakfast with protein every day. Monitor your intake of caffeine, nicotine and sugar. Make time to exercise regularly to help maintain your energy level amid a busy schedule. Don't try to do too much. Get plenty of sleep. Fatigue is a stresser. Maintain some kind of schedule and plan ahead; don't wait until the last minute to purchase gifts or prepare to entertain.
Create and/or enhance your support system.
Holidays are a good time to reach out more frequently to your supportive friends and relatives. Sharing your struggles with a trusted friend and enlisting their help can be a great support when temptation to abandon your self-care practice arises.
Find new ways to celebrate.
Create some new symbols and rituals that will help redefine a joyful holiday season. You might host a holiday gathering for friends who support a healthier lifestyle. Avoid isolation and spend time with people you like who are not prone to self-destructive behaviors. Don't expose yourself to unnecessary challenges. If there are people who have a negative influence on you, avoid them.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
Studies suggest that grateful people may be more likely to:
~ take better care of themselves physically and mentally
~ engage in more health behaviors and maintenance
~ get more regular exercise
~ eat a healthier diet
~ have improved mental alertness
~ schedule regular physical examinations with their doctor
~ cope better with stress and daily challenges
~ feel happier and more optimistic
~ avoid problematic physical symptoms
~ have stronger immune systems
~ maintain a brighter view of the future
Holidays may also be a time to evaluate your spirituality and find a personal way to draw support from the spirit of the season. Return the holidays to a spiritual base, and stress the power of unselfish giving.
It is also important to have fun, give yourself permission to laugh little and enjoy. Start seeing the humor in those things that annoy you.
Take from the holiday season what is important for you and leave the rest.
If you would like some extra support, including powerful and effective strategies and techniques to navigate the holiday season with a lot less stress and much more peace, happiness and success, I'd be happy to help! Contact Me for a free consultation and give yourself the best gift you can give to you and your family: a stress free, happier, healthier you!
Wishing you a very happy holiday season!