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Don’t just survive the holidays – THRIVE!

sunset_webIt’s so ironic – you have this break each year to take a pause from your daily routine, reconnect and reflect, but you never really get to the break part. You fill the time up with socializing, shopping, entertaining, spending, travelling and overdoing it on many levels.

The pressures and stresses during this time of year can really take a toll on your health and well-being. By the end of it, you need a break from the break!

This year I invite you to think about the holiday break differently and to make the most of the pause. To be more mindful about your choices, to maximize the downtime, and to bring some more meaning and purpose to it. To actually take a break to reflect and reconnect to what’s really important.

Wouldn’t it be great to start the New Year out energized, renewed and revived?

Follow my tips for self-care and physical nourishment for not just surviving the holidays but really thriving through them:

Self Care

•   Sleep – So many of you are running on empty. Burning the candle at both ends in an attempt to get everything done each day. By the time the holidays roll around your flame is almost out. Over the holidays plan to sleep in, take naps, get a few early nights in. Sleep is when your body heals and restores health. Also, when you’re well rested you’ll make better, healthier decisions.

•   Movement – Maybe you’re taking a break from your regular gym schedule over the holidays but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get moving. With all that eating, watching movies, reading books and sitting around socializing, the holidays can be pretty sedentary and lazy. Make some time to get out for some activity. Lots to choose from at this time of year – walking, hiking, skating, skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding. Bundle up and get outside!

•   Reflecting – The holidays come on so quickly, you rush through them and it’s onto the New Year before you know it. Why not plan this year to spend some quality time reflecting on the year that was. Review the previous year’s highlights, accomplishments, moments of gratitude and learnings. Celebrate the positive steps forward.

•   Look ahead – Once you’ve reflected and integrated the past year’s experiences, it’s time to look ahead and set some intentions for what you want to manifest in 2015. What areas of your life are in need of some focus? What frustration or challenge can’t be neglected any longer? Where do you desire real, deep meaningful change?

Nourishing your body

•   Bring a healthy potluck dish – The holidays bring out all the traditional favourites. Cheese trays, baked goods, fancy hors d’euvres, decadent desserts, boxes of chocolates, rich meals, gooey dips. Not much healthy food to be found. To ensure you at least have one solid choice at a potluck bring your favourite salad, veggie dish or healthy alternative.

•   Drink lots of water – While you’ll likely be consuming more alcohol over the holidays, you can balance it out by making sure you stay hydrated with lots of water. Try alternating each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water, or making sure you have both going at the same time. Starting each morning with hot water with lemon can also give a great boost to your day.

•   Mindfully indulge – You know there are some holiday treats you just can’t pass up. Go in to the season with a strategy to consciously indulge. First, identify what you are going to indulge in. If it’s a trigger food or allergen, don’t even consider it. When you do have that special treat, completely savour each and every delectable bite. As Geneen Roth says, “Eat it with gusto!” And then let it go. Get back on track with your next meal.

•   Plan for a New Year’s detox – Even though you’re going to be mindful over the holidays, you know you’ll be eating and drinking more than usual. Having a plan for a detox or cleanse program in January for a deep clean and renewal of your system, can provide that peace of mind and guilt free holiday enjoyment.

* This post was originally published in the Herald Community on December 16, 2014

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