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Your Health Can Flourish this Holiday Season

Ten keys to having your health flourish during the Holidays!

So you may have just read that previous sentence and thought, wait, my health can flourish during the holidays?!?!? Isn’t the holidays when everything gets thrown a little off course and stress and craziness ensues? Yes, it totally can, I have been there and lived it for sure! Sugar at every meal, late nights, pressure to make everything Pinterest worthy, finances stretched to the max and the list goes on and on. But with a little awareness, intention and planning your health can actually flourish and you can thrive during the Holiday season and it really can be the most wonderful time of the year! (sing it with me now!)

Here are 10 keys to making that happen! To start things off, the secret to success in anything is having a plan. Know what you want, why you want it and what you are willing to do to get it. So to set yourself up for success in having your health flourish, step one is Set Your Intentions. What do you want this season to look like, what are you committing to, what are you letting go of??? (even if it is traditions you have always done in the past – if it doesn’t bring joy, let it go) When Christmas is over and the tree is put away, all the gifts have been opened, all the holiday parties attended and all that remains is the glitter and tree needles, what do you want to have experienced, helped others experience and remember with fond memories? I find so often we go through the motions, but “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” ends up being the most stressful, when we haven’t taken time to consider “The Real Reason for the Season” and what brings “Peace on Earth Goodwill Towards Men”. The answers to the above questions will then guide you to make choices and decisions during this Holiday season. Make your plan and then stick with your plan!

 Next up is Rest. It can be easy to burn the candle at both ends, whether it’s wrapping last minute gifts, prepping holiday goodies or moving that elf around, but cutting yourself short on rest leaves you vulnerable as sleeping is when our bodies renew, rejuvenate, restore and repair. So maybe that means taking a nap when your kids nap, shutting off the Hallmark movie earlier or letting some things go so that your sleep is not getting robbed. Keeping a consistent bedtime routine will do wonders for your mental and physical health. When you are tired, learn to rest, not push harder. Next, give yourself Grace! This is huge in a world bombarded with social media plus your own critic committee in your head, telling you nonstop how and what you should be doing and if you’re not, you’re a failure. Girl, you are doing a great job, take a breath and give yourself some credit. So you ate a cookie (or 10) or sent your child to school without snow pants, it’s okay and it’s gonna be okay. When you extend grace to yourself, it releases stress and boosts your metabolism. Next up, is Planning Ahead. Health is all about awareness and acknowledgment. (why you do what you do when you do it) You may know you are attending a Holiday party where lots of sweets are being served, so eating before hand or bringing a healthy dish to share is a great plan! Got a busy week with activities? Spend a few hours on Sunday prepping meals, so they are quick and easy and the temptation to swing through the drive-through is diminished.  Along with that is, Asking For Help! You can do anything, but you can’t do everything! Get a support system in place. Outsource tasks if possible, such as house cleaning, gift wrapping, grocery shopping, and treat making! And be okay with everything not being done exactly as you would do it, allowing your kids, friends or spouse to help makes room for connection and appreciation! Then one of my favorites, remember to Breath. At least twice a day if not more. Close your eyes, focus on your breath and slowly inhale, holding it for a few moments and then exhale. Repeat, repeat, repeat until you feel the tension leave your body, your mind clears and your heart isn’t racing. It’s also a great time to ask God for strength, wisdom and guidance as your move through your day. Then there’s Vitamin M! Movement! Perhaps the thought of exercise is just too much on top of your long holiday to-do list. You feel exhausted just thinking about it. If so, I suggest focusing on movement..how can you make sure you are moving your body throughout the day. Sledding or snowball fights with your kids, parking farther out in the parking lot while Christmas shopping, doing jumping jacks while waiting for the shower to warm up or lunges during commercial breaks on the Hallmark channel. This will help you stay on track and once the holidays are past you won’t feel like you have completely backtracked. Or if exercise is already a top priority to you before the holidays hit, continue to make it so, it will help you cope with the added stress and business of the season.  Which brings me to, Capturing Moments. Life and the holidays just go so fast. I remember as a child counting down the days to Christmas and now it feels like I blink and it’s Christmas Eve. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and miss the true meaning and joy of the season. Capturing moments is simply having the intention to notice the little things and capture the happiness in them and also taking the time to spread some kindness with others. Smiling at a check-out clerk and thanking them for their service during the holiday rush, visiting an elderly neighbor who can’t get out much, shoveling a neighbors driveway, noticing your child’s joy as they share a craft project or the lines from the school play or pausing to watch snowflakes land on your coat sleeve. Taking the time to listen and connect is where the holiday joy is found. And then Laughter, good for the soul and also for releasing stress and boosting the feel good endorphins. There’s joy in not taking everything so seriously, so the cookies didn’t turn out Instagram posting worthy- have a good laugh and count it a success that you made the effort and the kids had fun! And lastly, but no less important is Sharing a Hug. Hugs strength immunity, boost confidence, increase physical health and improves sleep quality.

May your health and happiness flourish this Holiday season!