Nine Tips for a Holistically Healthy Holiday

Check List
It’s a crazy busy time of year.  With any luck you are already shopped, wrapped, and decorated, and are just sitting around waiting for Santa to arrive.  If not, you might be starting to stress out and wonder how you’ll get it all done.  So hang on.  I’m about to add a few more things to your To Do list for the coming days.  These To-Dos won’t stress you out, though.  These are designed to help you out.  I want you to take care of your healthy spirit this season, so I’ve created the following checklist.  It should be easy to remember – Just think “Christmas” . . . Chill, Hydrate, Rest, Impose, Simplify, Time, Move, Appreciate and Sustenance.

Chill – Meditate.  You don’t have to sit in the lotus position for 30 minutes with candles burning.  Take any opportunity to relax.  As your computer is booting up or just after you start your car, close your eyes and breathe deeply.  Try to empty your mind and feel peaceful before jumping into your daily grind. 

Hydrate – Often times we confuse dehydration with hunger.  Even mild dehydration can alter your body’s metabolism.  The next time you want a snack, have a glass of water first and see if you are still hungry.  Drink a glass of water before meals and alternate water with alcoholic drinks at a party.  Carry water with you.  I am rarely without my Tervis cup filled with ice water or green tea.

Rest – Lack of sleep does more than make you cranky and foggy.  It disrupts your energy balance, metabolism and appetite.  Research suggests that women who sleep five hours or less each night weigh more than those who sleep seven hours or more.  If you can’t relax or if you wake up with your mind racing, try to focus on a deep breath in and a long exhale out.  Think “In” then “Out”.  Focusing on nothing but those two words and your breath will help you to get back to sleep quickly.

Impose – Ask for and accept help from others.  Allow guests to bring a dish or help in the kitchen.  Ask your teenagers who drive to go to the store for you.  You don’t have to do it all!

Simplify – Unclutter and let go of perfectionism.  Make it easy on yourself.  Don’t let Pinterest or Facebook guilt you into attempting complicated holiday crafts or baked goods.  No matter how cute they are, you have to decide if they are really worth your time and effort.  Choose a couple of favorite things to make and let the rest go.

Time – Take time for yourself.  Read a book.  Take a warm bath.  Get a massage! 

Move – Exercise controls weight, lowers blood pressure, enhances sleep, improves balance and coordination, improves flexibility, improves digestion, reduces disease, improves immune function, increases energy and cognitive function . . . and on and on.  You know the benefits, but did you know that you don’t necessarily have to spend an hour at the gym every day to get them?  Any movement counts!  Fit in a quick walk, park further away at the mall, dance to Feliz Navidad while you bake . . .  it’ll all help you to feel more energized!

Appreciate – It really is a wonderful life.  We just forget sometimes.  Mindful gratitude will improve your overall happiness and satisfaction with life.  When you wake up, write down 3 things that you are grateful for.  They don’t have to be big things.  Be grateful for your warm fuzzy slippers or your morning cup of tea.  At night, think of 3 good things that happened during the day.  Maybe you bumped into an old friend or heard a funny story on the radio.  All of the little good things add up to make you more resilient when the bad things happen.

Sustenance – It can be difficult to eat healthfully at this time of year.  You don’t have to be perfect!  Just try to be balanced.  You’re gonna eat a cookie or two.  Just try to limit processed foods and sugar as much as possible.  Also remember to keep healthy snacks (like a bag of raw almonds, some cut up veggies, or a piece of fruit) in your purse and/or car.  Having a healthy snack can keep you from getting too hungry and making poor choices later on.

Just remember that no matter how overwhelming it all seems, it will all get done - and what doesn’t get done probably isn’t that important anyway. 

Wishing you peace and health this Holiday Season and in the coming year.

That's what's working well for me today.  What's working well for you?