Health is more than the absence of disease.
“You cannot get sick enough to help sick people get better. You cannot get poor enough to help poor people thrive. It is only in your thriving that you have anything to offer anyone. If you’re wanting to be of an advantage to others, be as tapped in, turned in, turned on as you can possibly be.”
- Esther Abraham-Hicks
Years ago, I chose to get my degree in health education because I am passionate about health. Health is not just the absence of disease, but it’s about wellness and optimal functioning. Health includes several areas: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. For years, I’ve worked to improve each of these areas of my life, and it’s a constant progression. I know there will never come a time when I’ve achieved ideal health, but I’ve learned that each improvement I make helps me feel better. And when it feels good, I want more of that!
I am looking forward to the upcoming holidays: the great food, the family gatherings, giving my loved ones gifts and singing all the familiar songs. But I know it may be stressful, too: the family dynamics with potential miscommunications and hurt feelings, the overindulging, the financial toll. Here’s 7 tips I’m using to help ease the stress and help me enjoy this holiday season:
1. Set an intention. Get clear on what it is you want to experience individually, and as a family. You may need to remind yourself of this each day, and it provides a great guidepost for choosing which activities and events fit your intention. With an intention of “I’m going to do as much as possible” (which might have been a past year’s unintentional intention!), you will push yourself much more than “I want to cherish the time I get to spend with each of my loved ones.”
2. Stay in the present moment. Rather than thinking ahead to all you need to get done, be mindful of where you are and what you are doing right now. Savor the moment.
3. Plan ahead. Besides purposefully setting an intention, set a budget for your holiday spending before you shop. It’s also helpful to prepare days and times for different activities: shopping, visiting, baking. Start with the activities and people that are most important to you, and fill around those.
4. Be realistic. Rather than overcommitting yourself and setting yourself up for feelings of failure, take your personal power back by choosing what you will do and what you won’t. Don’t be afraid to say “No.”
5. Take care of yourself. As we’re reminded every time we get on an airplane, “put the mask on yourself first.” For many of us (parents especially!), our instinct is to take care of others first. But if you don’t put gas in your tank, you won’t have anything to give.
6. Ask for help. Some of us have a Superwoman or Superman complex and think we can do it all. This is not only overwhelming; it robs others of the chance to participate. Give your loved ones an opportunity to contribute. Even children enjoy feeling a part of the creation, whether that’s in food preparation or gift wrapping.
7. Breathe! Although it’s instinctual to breathe, when we are stressed, we tend to breathe more shallowly or even hold our breath. A deep relaxing breath in through your nose, expanding your belly and chest fully, can help center you and calm the fight or flight response.
I’ll be sharing additional tools for making this holiday season even brighter in my Healthy & Happy Holidays telecourse, which begins tomorrow evening. The four-part telecourse will include tools to help you stay present, ways to simplify expectations, plans for achieving your goals, and strategies for tuning into your inner wisdom. There’s still room for more — hope you can join us!
Read Full Post »