Ah the holidays, a time for family, friends and fun right? Or am I wrong?
The irony of this description of the Christmas season is that most of us have so much more to do during these ‘holidays’. And I mean lot’s more to do. There’s shopping, baking, hosting, cards to send, gifts to wrap, decorations to put up, parties to attend and on and on…
When it feels as though life is more than you can manage and every dreaded vice is all you can think about to relieve the stress be it food, booze, pills, Netflix binging, accept you do need help. Just not from any of those sources.
Our best coping strategies come from the age old wisdom of nurturing mind, body, heart and soul. The tips below enable you to ground yourself and build a solid foundation that can readily endure the all too familiar chronic chaos of everyday life. Read on for easy to implement ideas to help you navigate the holiday season with sanity and a light and joyful sense of festivity.
THREE SIMPLE STRATEGIES TO STRENGTHEN YOUR COPING SKILLS
- Schedule a sacred 10-15 minute escape into something you really love to do just for you. Be it an Epson salt and essential oil bath, your favorite book, art, music, an inspiring movie, or simply sitting and day dreaming of things that make you smile. Get playful and create a vision book/board with images and pictures and words, quotes etc.). Focusing your attention on what triggers a tangible sense of joy and peace and excitement is wonderfully calming. It’s the 'law of attraction' in action! What you focus upon is drawn into your world like a magnet. Mind your mind and the thoughts you think so you sustain your equilibrium.
- Eat regularly meaning a balanced, whole-foods breakfast, lunch, dinner and healthy snacks in between if needed. Spacing your meals out will help you maintain stable blood sugar levels and this helps you feel better as well as manage weight more effectively.
In a season when food temptations are everywhere when you’re well fueled with nutrient dense food you’ll be less likely to succumb to over-indulging. Sheila Graham reminds us:
“Food in the most primitive form of comfort.”
When stressed our decision making skills are compromised, we may be tempted to seek solace in substance causing ourselves more stress with issues such as weight gain or indigestion
- Exercise! Sure I know you’re thinking, yeah right like I have time let alone energy to exercise. Surely you can find even 10-20 minutes a day to get out for a brisk walk or skate or do some kind of activity you enjoy that jacks up your heart rate in a healthy way. Just do it! The benefits are so impressive and powerful you’ll be impressed.
Here’s what the Mayo Clinic has to say about stress and exercise:
Exercise and stress relief
Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.
- It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner's high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
- It's meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you'll often find that you've forgotten the day's irritations and concentrated only on your body's movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.
- It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.
Given stress is a given in our everyday life, it’s essential for us to find ways to manage it. Implement these suggestions and let me know how you do. Share the ways you’ve succeeded at keeping your stress levels in check.
In my upcoming posts I’ll share tips on how to navigate the holiday season, enhance digestion, ace eating habits, boost your immune system and sustain your energy levels so your holiday season truly can be enjoyed even in the midst of chaos. Meantime I’ll leave you with this:
EASY n’ HEALTHY IDEAS FOR BREAKFAST:
Enjoy a piece of fresh fruit to start your day. Berries are perfect - fresh or frozen (thawed)
- Ezekiel muffins with nut or seed butter or avocado, tomato, lettuce
- Smoothies with your protein powder or a few tsp nut/ seed butter or 2 tbsp almonds, walnuts, pecans, chia, flax or hemp seeds
- Oatmeal w/ 1 tbsp nuts or seeds and 1 tbsp ground flax or chia seeds
- Organic pastured eggs - poached or scrambled served over a bed of spinach with a side of salsa or pesto
- Overnight oatmeal or chia bowls with fruit or even these Bullet Proof Breakfast Cookies