Hello SOTGC community,
Well, I’m excited to report that it’s finally cooler in Austin with the nights bringing a bit of a “chill” for us! Since we basically have three seasons in Austin: “crazy hot, warm, and slightly cooler,” the slight chill means holidays are getting closer! This time of year always brings questions for us at Streams regarding how to navigate the holiday season.
So over the next three posts, I hope to provide some very practical tips for navigating the holiday season as a healthy, peaceful, and awesome woman.
Healthy practices over the holiday season are similar to those we practice any other time of the year, with some additions. The additions acknowledge the uniqueness of the holiday season. Holidays always bring a history with the ghost of holidays past. They also bring in dreams of things we hope to come the next year. Choosing healthy holiday practices will acknowledge the past, present, and future.
Remember the past:
Holidays never happen in a vacuum, so it is helpful to handle history well. The practice of remembering is both a clinical counseling tool and a contemplative spirituality tool. When we remember, we bring the past into a place of recognition and possibly even celebration. That could look like remembering previous gifts, accolades, or something/someone to be thankful for now. It could also look like honoring a loved one who is not present this season and sharing their story with those who are present. Remembering also brings with it a sense of strength when holidays might bring stress. Remembering others and their needs invites us out of stress and allows us to connect in the present.
Choose health in the present:
Each day during the holiday could fall anywhere on the spectrum of overwhelming, or may even bring about a food or game-induced coma. So this holiday season follow these daily tips to stay mid-range more often than not:
- Work Smart—schedule your work days to include a break even if it is just an hour. Many of us have jobs that actually speed up over the holidays. If that’s you, make sure your work week includes things that build you up healthfully.
- Plan social time well—make sure you get time to be with friends that includes a healthy rhythm.
- Maintain a sleep pattern—nothing will increase stress, pack on the pounds, or toss your holiday cookies quicker than an erratic sleep pattern. As much as possible, get the needed deep sleep and practice preparing for sleep.
- Consume those things that give you needed fuel—this includes anything that goes into your mind or body. Liquids, food, images, sounds all need to be ones that help you be you. Consider limiting the amount you consume of simple carbohydrates, caffeine, and alcohol; or make sure you properly hydrate your brain and body after consuming.
- Listen to grandma—common sense tips go a long way each day, such as washing your hands, getting your exercise, taking your vitamins (including the range of B’s and Omega 3 Fatty Acids), smiling at strangers, and looking for ways to be kind to yourself and others.
Prepare for the future:
Holiday seasons often bring hope and dreams to surface. Handle these desires well by offering honor and respect to yourself and others. That could look like realizing you really want to have that dream NOW but to do so would blow your current budget. Stick with your budget, honoring your plans and respect yourself to trust that you will follow through on your plans. If it is deeper relationships you long for, take time to honor and respect your health now so that you will choose well when options come along later. Schedule time with current relationships that honor and respect each other. The practice of deep belly breathing is a helpful practical tool for when the anxiety arises and you begin to wonder “when, how, and if.”
- Belly breathing — This type of deep breathing involves your diaphragm. You can tell if the diaphragm is engaged by placing your hand lightly on your belly and causing your hand to rise and fall. You want to fill your diaphragm with enough air so that your belly enlarges and then the air is expelled, causing your belly to shrink back to normal. Taking three to four diaphragmatic breaths may allow for relaxation.
So as we move through these holiday seasons, I hope you will consider how to remember the past, choose health in the present, and prepare for the future now.
How do you move through the holiday season healthfully?
What specific challenges might these tips address for you?
Try belly breathing now before you click to the next screen. Did it help you think more clearly?
In the next post we will review tips to enjoy Powerful Peace as You Change Hassle to Hopeful!
Then our last post in this series will provide 5 Steps for Visiting Family for the Holidays. If you will be returning home before this post and want the 5 Steps sooner, connect with me and I will send them over!