It’s that time of year. The holidays translate to lots of wonderful gatherings with friends and family, shopping, cooking, and most likely STRESS. It often becomes a challenge to maintain a state of wellness in the upcoming months. We tend to get lost in the shuffle and neglect to take care of ourselves. You can eat well and exercise every day, however if you aren’t caring for yourself mentally and emotionally you will not be WELL.
The good news is that we each have the opportunity to change that.
In our society it has become customary to be thankful and give to OTHERS during this season. We live in a culture of guilt when we put ourselves first. Most people believe that they will be referred to as selfish. I declare that the month of November it is time to change that mindset.
Be THANKFUL for YOU. GIVE to YOU (hint: you can still be thankful and give to others as well!).
The interesting thing that starts to happen when you put yourself first, is guess what? YOU become happier! And then like a domino effect, most of the people in your life are happier as well. It is a WIN WIN situation. When you are not stressed, you are typically not reactive and can deal with everyone in your circle (co-workers, friends, family) more calmly and effectively.
I will warn you that if you are the type of person who is always catering to everyone else’s needs first (kids, spouses, partners, and so on…) and you implement this mindset, others will initially be shocked and possibly offended. They will get over it when they see that the benefits are reaped all around. I am sure you have all heard the sayings “happy wife, happy life” and “happy mom, happy baby”. Those sayings exist because happiness breeds happiness.
Here are some tips to reduce stress and invite self love and self care:
- Make a list of what you need to do in the upcoming weeks and assign a priority code to each of them. Sit with your family and delegate some of the tasks to others. You can even make some of them a family event – like cooking! It can become a wonderful family tradition. And your kids can name the dish they assisted with – Madison’s Mash! Connor’s Cranberry Crush…..
- I will say it again. MEDITATE. If you don’t know how there are some pretty great apps out there. Here is a list of some you can try: https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/top-meditation-iphone-android-apps
- You can start out with 5 minutes a day in your bed before you get up and build on that weekly. You can meditate on the train, in the shower. It can be easily squeezed into your day and it works wonders on your stress levels. Repeat before bedtime for a restful slumber.
- Speaking of slumber…..get your SLEEP! At least 7 hours. Sleep is medicinal.
- Consider other options if you do not have the time to cook. Huge crowd? Cooking for 20 while working full time? That is a recipe for disaster. Do a pot luck holiday feast and have your guests bring a dish. Cater from your local eateries (in town there is Apiary, Estelle Gourmet, DeCiccos, Larchmont Meateria) or go out to dinner! I always hated the thought of eating out on a holiday. One of my most memorable Thanksgiving dinners was actually at a restaurant. Don’t kick it until you try. Larchmont has some pretty amazing restaurants.
- If your schedule is that crazy and you cannot make it to a class, then do something on your own. Walk to work or to the stores. Do yoga in your living room. Do some jumping jacks with your kids. Take a bike ride or a run. 20 minutes a day can be a huge help and stress reducer.
- Eat well. Drink lots of water. If you know that you won’t have time for meal prep which often leads to fast foods, eating out too often, bad snacking, then sign up for a healthy food delivery service for the month. See it as a gift to you and your family.
- Limit alcohol and sweets when you attend parties. Follow an 80/20 rule. Eat healthy 80% of the week, and leave 20% to indulge in the little bad things we love.
- Don’t say yes to every invite. Only go to those that are important to you and with people you truly enjoy being with. If you say yes because you “feel bad” – that means you really don’t want to go. So don’t. Sit home and take a bath or watch a movie instead.
- Set aside a day to go shopping in November, so that you will only have to worry about a few last minute gifts as the holiday approaches. SHOP LOCAL. Stop into stores by foot. Skip the mall. Skip online searches for hours and days on end. Only buy items online that you know you cannot find nearby or that you need shipped. And wrap your gifts as you purchase them – you won’t believe what a difference that can make!
While you may not be able to put every one of the above suggestions into your life, try 2-3 at a minimum. Small steps in the present make a large impact to your path towards the future.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS. And be thankful for YOU.