All the activities and gatherings are a lot of fun, but can bring with them quite a bit of stress, overindulgence, and fatigue. Taking time to nourish and care for yourself becomes increasingly important. Read these Core Principles to help keep yourself healthy through the holidays.
1. Sleep – Restoring your body is the most important principle, especially during this month. Racing to get everything done every day is not going to serve your mind, body or soul. Restorative Sleep is essential to our immunity, ability to focus and remember, achieving a healthy weight, safety, and overall well-being.
2. Slow Down – This goes right along with sleep, but remembering to slow down is the most important thing we can do for our digestion. When your body is in fight or flight or stress mode, your digestive system is turned off. Nutrients can’t get in, and toxins can’t leave the body. Holidays move at such a fast past that they seem to go by without us enjoying them. Instead of being a proud multi-tasker, try being a single-tasker and be present. Try and schedule less this season. When you are stressed, remember to breathe
3. Being Present – The best present you can give yourself is being present. It is not enough to slow down, but you also need to be mindful of whatever you are doing whenever you are doing it. Try not to think about what has already happened, what you need to do, and what could happen. Stay in the moment. This includes all the emotions it might bring with it. Yes, you may have some feelings that might be a disappointment, but if we are not in the moment we will miss all the joy.
4. Acknowledge How You Feel and Ask for your Needs – Recognize your feelings as they come up. A mentor of mine once gave the analogy of being a nurse and charting a situation. Observe it, but don’t analyze it or judge it. Remember to not analyze or judge yourself. Recognize how something makes you feel and ask for what you need. Be very clear in these situations. Remember that others have the choice to either meet or not meet your need, but that does not mean you don’t ask.
5. Be Authentic – You can be real without being rude. If you are being true to yourself, it will come across as loving. If you are not sure what authenticity is for you, this is the perfect time of the year to reflect and start. Not being your true authentic self is about self-doubt, worry, comparing yourself to others. It is more about being a chameleon. It is about the fear of being disliked or judged. “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~E.E. Cummings
6. Learn to Say No – Practicing saying no allows you to start to understand how healing, healthy, and powerful it can be. One no at a time will build confidence and help you continue. You are being the least authentic when you don’t want to do something, but you say yes anyway. Saying no will help you slow down because you will be spending your time doing the things that you want to do. Be real, not rude. You can say no in a loving way.
7. Setting Boundaries – Know yourself well enough to recognize and acknowledge your feelings when boundaries are crossed. Figure out how to set your boundary. When you recognize that you are stressed or overwhelmed by a situation or person, you will need to write down how you want to set the boundary. Maybe you need to figure out how to tell the person involved, or maybe you know the person will not receive the information. I call these silent boundaries. These work too. Stay grounded, whether you speak it or not. Do not feel guilty, and take care of yourself. You will slowly learn that each time you follow through with a boundary, you will have more confidence to do this for yourself more often.
8. Healthy Eating – This is sometimes difficult with all the food being offered everywhere. If you are going to choose something, make it the best quality of food you can. Is it real, fresh, organic, and homemade? Choose the best. No fake or fast food. Remember to keep it simple and light. Have food around your home that is healthy. Try and stay away from the munchies at a party. Bring your own healthy food to every party and family gathering. Be known for bringing super yummy, healthy holiday fare. People do appreciate it.
9. Plan Ahead – Whether you are eating at home, traveling, eating out or going to holiday parties, it is important to plan ahead. Set your intentions ahead of time by looking up a menu, or taking coolers when you travel by car. Schedule your weeks out far enough in advance that you are not overwhelmed. Look at each week and make sure you are not over scheduled. If you are, then do not do a few things. Plan ahead for downtime for the month of December.
10. Keep it Simple – For the entire month of December, try to have simplicity as your main word every day. When you plan, set boundaries, sleep well, slow down, eat healthy, say no and are mindful, you will be living simple. Negotiate what parties and family gatherings you can attend. Don’t feel obligated to give everyone gifts. Remember to take time for yourself. My favorite is to delegate some things. You don’t have to do everything. Be in Gratitude and love.
Brandy Hickman is the owner of 2B Well and is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Counselor and a Registered Yoga Teacher
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