All in all, the holidays are an exceptionally crazy time!
December always gives me a little bit of anxiety because it requires a lot of social activity within a short period of time. Plus, there are so many expectations of what the holidays “should be.”
Here’s my tried-and-true strategy to stay calm and carry on during the holiday season.
Focus on looking after yourself, not only physically but mentally as well.
1. Mental Shift. Remember what the holidays are about.
Focus on meaning and connection with others. Apart from the typical traditions being held in December, holidays are about compassion, spreading cheer, singing, and focusing on connection.
Reflect: What do the holidays mean to me? Who do I want to connect with?
Maybe there’s someone who you’d like to get to know better… or perhaps need to create a better relationship with.
Let go of finding the perfect gift and focus on connecting with someone in your family or friendship circle. Go deep. Ask questions. Be present. Let them be seen. And see how you feel, after focusing on one person and creating that connection- Do you feel more grounded and connected?
Tip: It’s not about the food and drink. It’s about connection.
2. Own your calendar
Take a moment and reflect:
How much time do I want to set aside to shop?
How much time do I need to decorate?
How much time do I want for parties?
How much time would I like to have to rest and digest?
3. Now, block out time for yourself.
Block time out in your calendar to be on your own. When we attend many social events in a row, we have less time to take it all in and digest or process all that is happening around us. Being overwhelmed is a guarantee towards overindulging on drinks and food as our body attempts any way possible to calm and comfort itself.
Create space in your calendar each week to digest all that is happening!
Great ways to slow down and “digest”:
- Take a long shower or bath.
- Go for a walk and get into nature. Bonus points if there is water nearby like a river, lake, or small pond.
- Block one morning and go sit in a café to read a book with a nice coffee or tea.
- Journal at night before bed. Write down anything that comes to mind. It helps your body and mind calm down and digest the inputs from the day.
- Allow yourself to sleep in (or go to bed early when the kids go to bed.)
Tip: Allowing ourselves time to “pause” gives us time to digest and rest. This lets us be more resilient and be able to handle the craziness of the holiday time without the exhaustion
4. Eat well = eat before you go to a dinner party.
Yes, the food is delicious at a party J But if you show up extremely hungry, it will be difficult to make a healthy choice and it will be just as difficult to stop eating when you are full.
Before you go, eat just a bit to take the edge off. My suggestions are a hard-boiled egg, small green salad, or carrots/celery with a bit of hummus or peanut butter. Then, you will walk into the party composed.
This works for kids as well. Feeding them a snack before you go is like an insurance policy for good behavior. You never know when the actual meal will be served, and it is proven that a snack will not spoil their dinner. A healthy snack helps children to maintain blood sugar levels and will keep them calm enough to be patient to wait for the next meal.
Tip: Snacks are your best friend!
4. Recharge yourself physically
Winter means the days are shorter and that means less sunlight and typically less time outdoors.
We need sunlight to cue our circadian rhythms, so we know when to be awake and when to sleep. Without sunlight, we lose our natural rhythm (our internal body clock) and our ability to create melatonin which helps us to get to sleep at night.
Fresh air brings more oxygen into our lungs and bodies, with benefits such as improved mood, better digestion, and less anxiety according to science. So, get outside, even if the weather is unsavory. Wrap yourself up in something warm and go for a walk. See some trees. Get that fresh air. Even if it’s for 5-10 minutes, it will benefit you.
Tip: We are a part of nature. Being outside reconnects us to nature and to ourselves – this equals wellbeing.
5. Create FUN activities with the family
Get all of you moving, get your brain going and do “stuff” together. Our favorites are:
- Create your own holiday decorations. Wreaths, candles, snowflakes, tree decorations, and flowers are all super non-food ideas.
- Play board games. Right now, we love Exploding Kittens card game for the 7+ age range. And we love Dominoes, which is a super simple game that even 4+ could play.
- Scavenger hunt. At home or in the park – hide some candy canes and GO! Prize for the winner!
- Dance freeze: Everyone dances. When the music stops, you freeze or get kicked out of the game. Play goofy holiday music for even more of a laugh.
- Go ice skating: Romantic and, at the same time, fun for the kids. Wear ugly sweaters and obnoxious hats with huge pom poms for the full effect. Parents take a picture while kissing on skates. Kids hug each other (if possible.) Instagram ops galore!
- Get the kids cooking in the kitchen! Make some delicious festive and healthy snacks or holiday desserts. Younger children can mix, blend and form doughs with their hands. Older children can start learning to chop, measure and make full recipes on their own. As always, stay with them and make it fun.
Tip: Activities bring us together, helps us to relax and to LAUGH. Laughter is the best medicine.
6. Top up your own plant-based nutrition this winter!
Ask your Partner for the Juice Plus+ newest winter recipe booklet! There are festive recipes that bring you the taste of the holiday season to life.
Remember – Look after yourself, not only physically but mentally as well.
Take care of yourself, FIRST, both mentally and physically (eat well, get outside, add time to rest and digest). Then, you can take care of others better.
HAVE FUN! Make the shift to being more human. Let go of the material life, and be present with each other.
As a calm and loving human being, you can then enjoy this magical season with pleasure and peace.
hyperlink citation: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272494409000838