It has BEGUN! Thanksgiving is two days away. Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s are just around the corner. Anticipation, excitement, and energy are in the air as holiday travel, gift buying, party planning, food shopping, cooking, family wrangling, Christmas tree shopping, hall decking, chaos kick in.
You’re feeling a bit, um…FRAZZLED!
Or maybe that’s just me…but if it’s not, here are a few things you can do to keep yourself, your health, and your holiday indulgence in balance this year.
- Be still. Be present. When your brain starts spinning with thoughts of what still needs to be done or regrets about what you weren’t able to do, stop, take a deep breath, and say to yourself “Woah! STOP. BE HERE NOW.” With a little practice, this “be present alarm” becomes habit and helps you enjoy the holiday moments instead of allowing them to devolve into a blur.
- Get outside. It might be cold, but getting out of the house – even for just a few minutes – sure does clear out the cobwebs. Give yourself time and space to breathe. Your brain and body – and your family! – will thank you.
- Move your body. Schedules can get hectic this time of year, and exercise is often the first thing to go. (“But it’s COLD outside!!!”) Try squeezing in a 20-minute walk or run first thing in the morning. (Go here for tips on what to wear when you work out in the cold.) Or bundle up and get to that 7a Pilates or yoga class at least once a week. Even a little bit of movement can help you keep the balance until you can get back into your normal workout routine.
- Sleep! Sleep is so, so important to staying balanced, both mentally and physically. A recent study confirmed that sleep even helps us lose weight; so make getting those 7 to 8 hours of shut eye a priority!
- Eat well…but not too well. Eating out is a big part of the holiday season, whether it’s at restaurants or parties. Sharing food with friends and family is one of the season’s great joys – so enjoy your favorite foods! Just try to eat sensibly when you’re not at holiday gatherings. You’ll probably net out in a balanced place. (Here are a couple of simple and not-too-heavy Thanksgiving side dishes.)
- Stay hydrated. I know it sounds crazy, but drinking lots of water is key to keeping your cravings under control. And many of us forget to drink water in the winter, when the weather gets cold. If you feel an uncontrollable urge to grab another pumpkin cookie or gingerbread man, have a glass of water first. If you still want a cookie afterward, go for it! :)
- Take stock. How many times this week will someone ask you “What are you grateful for?”? What if you took a few minutes every evening to actually answer the question? When we feel stressed out and frustrated with the millions of things we have to get done, it really does help to take stock of the great things in our lives. There’s always something…just think about it.
If you find yourself feeling guilty about taking care of you when you “should” be tending to everyone else, remember this: “What you do for yourself – any gesture of kindness, any gesture of gentleness, any gesture of honesty and clear seeing toward yourself – will affect how you experience the world. In fact, it will transform how you experience the world. What you do for yourself, you’re doing for others, and what you do for others, you’re doing for yourself.” – Pema Chodron
Have a happy, happy Thanksgiving!
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