Keep calm and bring some of that quiet through the holidays with you into the New Year.
It may be “that most wonderful time of the year,” but will you slow down enough to enjoy it?
It seems that in today’s world, with its constantly changing technology and demands to become more efficient, we can’t run fast enough to keep up. The more efficient we become, the more we amplify our life, double our load and triple our stress.
During the holidays, slowing down seems to be antonymous to the reality that is whirling around us and it’s easy to get caught up in the escalating chaos between Halloween ghosts and New Year’s parties.
I call it the “Ripple Effect.” One slight ripple in the water creates another and another and so on. Sometimes the ripple effect is positive, a good addition to our day, and brings about more positives ripples. But there are the negative ones that also cause an unwelcome ripple effect. When that happens, take a breath, slow your pace and remember what the holidays are really about. Here’s our Whole Body Beautiful gift to help you stop and smell the sugar plums.
Eat Mindfully—You are what and how you eat. Research shows that a slower and more thoughtful way of eating can help slow weight gain, relieve digestive issues and actually help calm the savage stomach beast. Be aware of when, what and why you’re eating. Are you really hungry? Bored? Party pressure? Is it an emotional choice? Turn off the TV, computer, or stop driving and make the effort to engage in yourself and your food. Notice the colors, flavors and textures of the foods you are eating. Be aware of your triggers. What sets you off? Shopping? Drinking? Bingeing? Know your triggers; it may reduce those urges. By consciously slowing down—even for a few seconds just to take a breath—you will be making a calm and realistic choice in your food.
Cut back your To-Do list—Be realistic about the amount of items on that “must do” list. Are they really necessary? The holidays bring about a lot of expectations. Do what you really enjoy and what you feel is really necessary. Do less, enjoy more!
Reconnect with family and your kids—Family, relatives and children love to help and be part of the festivities. Give them something to do to ease the load by inviting them to help with the cooking or plan the week’s festivities. Doing things together and taking the pressure off gives everyone a feeling of connection. The more everyone becomes part of the plan, the more you can stand back, enjoy the process and take that well needed breath.
Eat throughout the day—We all get busy during the holidays and forget to eat. We may think we can wait until the next meal, but when our glucose level drops, it isn’t going to ask for kale; it will probably be the nearest cookie or chip. Fuel up early at breakfast and fill a snack pack with nuts, cut-up fruits or veggies, simple things to grab and eat in between meals as you make your rounds during the day. You will set yourself up for a much calmer and healthier day.
Keep your healthy habits—What were you doing before the holidays? Were you hiking, running, taking exercise classes, going to the gym, golfing? If you had a routine, keep it up. It’s “ money in your stress bank” for when you start to feel overwhelmed. That’s the time to return to your foundation, the place where your “feel good” hormones kick in. It will also keep you motivated to stay the course with your health and fitness goals while others are going in less desirable direction.
Disconnect—We all are connected these days to an iPhone, Blackberry, or some mobile device. As hard as it to do any time of the year, it’s TMI (Too much information). Shut it off for a few hours a day. Better yet, leave it home and take a gentle walk around the block. It is near impossible to slow down when you can’t shut off. Your brain could use the break.
Forget perfection—Don’t sweat the small stuff. As much as we think we need to hang all the lights, bake the perfect cookies, go to every party, look fabulous in that perfect dress, the more we set ourselves up for a stressful day, week or the whole holiday season. Focus on the positives, the people and the process of getting to where it is that you want to be. By the end of it all, the real purpose of the holiday is to share JOY, LOVE and LAUGHTER, isn’t it?
So the next time you feel yourself slip into high gear, remember that just one tiny change can bring about that positive ripple effect for smooth sailing through the holidays into the New Year, healthy and happy.