The Holiday Season is upon us. This can be the happiest time of the year, but at times, it can be the most stressful, unhealthy time of the year. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle & bustle that we can lose sight of what really matters: PEACE, LOVE & QUALITY TIME with the ones we love!
- Prepare Your Body
- It’s hard any time of the year to keep your nutrition & fitness on track, but the holiday season brings loads of challenges! It starts with Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING, then Halloween candy everywhere which flows right into Thanksgiving which will lead directly into a mass amount of Christmas parties! 3 months. Most people decide to just “live it up” for those 3 months and figure they will deal with their health after the first of the year! FRIENDS- don’t do that. Let’s STOP making excuses. It’s time to accept that we have been eating food for pleasure more than nourishment… especially during the holidays. If we can be aware of that, then we can fix it. I am not saying food should not be enjoyed! I’m just saying that we have turned it into something it shouldn’t be. I know, you may be thinking… “Everything in moderation…” but, let me just say this- YOU CAN’T MODERATE SOMETHING YOU’RE ADDICTED TO. Whew! I said it… When it comes to preparing yourself for the food of the holiday season, we don’t think about overeating turkey, green beans, or asparagus, right? No way! This is about Halloween candy, Thanksgiving comfort foods & pies, Christmas party treats, etc… Sugar and processed carbs in every form. We are addicted. To make it even worse, we’ve spent years tying all of these foods to sweet memories of people we love & the “good ole days,” so we feel like it’s just WRONG to turn our back on these things. That’s your emotions talking, honey. Now add in the lack of physical activity. Even if you have a regular workout routine, the holiday schedule tends to push everything else to the side. We can do better, friends!
- So, What do we do? Plan ahead. We know there will soon be loads of Halloween candy to deal with so make a plan for how you will control the amount of candy your kiddos consume and also how much you allow to stay in the house. I’m not trying to be a candy tyrant, but it is my responsibility as a mom to make sure my kids aren’t strung out on a sugar high for weeks after Halloween. It ain’t happening! This is not just about one holiday, this is about their overall health, habits, blood sugar & insulin levels, and other hormones! For Thanksgiving and Christmas, you can make healthier versions of some of your favorite “treats” and take to your parties. Make sure there are plenty of healthy options to enjoy. BUT REMEMBER, this requires that you PLAN AHEAD. Be aware. Pay attention to when you are actually hungry and when you are tempted to eat just because everyone else is eating. Sit down and enjoy your meal. You will want ALL THE THINGS, but YOU ultimately control what goes into your mouth. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it! Crazy holiday schedules make it super tempting to eat out more & pick up sides/desserts that are “grab-n-go” instead of preparing party food at home. If we PLAN AHEAD, we will be better prepared to make our healthiest decisions.
When it comes to exercise, even if you can’t do what you normally do, DO SOMETHING! Anything is better than nothing. Walk the dog. Go for a jog. Spend 20 minutes doing body weight movements and stretching. No excuses. You can exercise anywhere, but you have to make it a priority. This is also the exact reason I designed my Anywhere Sweat Sesh Cards!
- Prepare Your Mind
- The stress is real, people. Stress originates in your mind! Your THOUGHTS affect everything! The schedule of the holiday season is NON-STOP! Between our kids’ holiday parties at school, work shin-digs, friends & family gatherings, and then normal stuff like cooking, cleaning, working, school, or whatever else occurs on a normal day… we are all too stressed out and exhausted to be thankful or cheerful or generous and certainly not peaceful. What is wrong with this picture? Holidays should be times where we enjoy our friends and families without ridiculous expectations of showing up with tons of expensive gifts and gorging on as much food as possible before hurrying back out the door to get to the next place. We are completely SPENT and I’m just over it! Trust me, I LOVE giving gifts. It is my favorite thing to be able to find the most epic gift for someone, but I hate that Christmas has become more about “what can I get?” instead of “what can I give?” Did you know a study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who are stingy and self-absorbed have higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol? This mentality not only hurts our health through stress, but it also hurts our budgets which also adds to the stress! Can we even make it to a stress-free life?! It seems impossible, but I know we can!
- So, What do we do?! Pump the brakes. Before we even step foot onto the race track, just stop and take a look at how you want this season to feel. What do you truly want for your family, friends, and yourself? Drop every expectation from others about how they may think you should do this or that and how you should spend your time or money. Now that you know how you want to feel this season, write down ways to get closer to THAT FEELING! If it’s the budget that is stressing you out the most, how can you do gift-giving smarter? You could opt out of the extra gift giving that comes with all of the family gatherings OR encourage a different approach for the whole family. We have tried to encourage games with small gifts instead of buying large gifts for everyone at the parties we attend. We really wanted to put our focus on spending quality time with people, not on gifts. With our kids, we have tried to focus on ONE really great gift and then putting money towards a trip or experience that we can enjoy together. We just really want to promote quality time together. It doesn’t always work out perfectly, but this is how you make changes. Baby steps!
When it comes to ALL OF THE PARTIES, maybe you need to learn to say no to some things. We always have a little FOMO when it comes to parties, but it’s not worth stressing out if you can’t do them ALL! It’s okay.
Being able to rest is of utmost importance for taking care of yourself and making sure you can handle AND ENJOY everything that happens in these last months of the year! Your mind needs to be renewed daily. The Bible says in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the customs of this world, but change the way you think…” This is not just a “spiritual” thing! This is super practical and exactly what we are talking about here.
- Prepare Your Spirit
- Your spirit is who you really are…who God created you to be! It’s the part of you that suffers the most when the rest of YOU is all out of wack. It’s the part of you that longs for PEACE & CONNECTION. It’s the part of you that longs to be heard and valued. Fight to bring the things that really matter to the surface this season! Don’t you think we’ve spent long enough doing things a certain way just because that’s how they’ve always been done? When you want things to change, lovingly make movements that move you closer to where you want to be. Remember, you don’t have to be the “sweets police” but you can make healthier decisions without being a jerk to others. You can say no to party invitations if it stretches your schedule too much. Also, don’t be afraid to make space for things that you DO want to do, like volunteering at the local food pantry or donating toys or clothes for local foster children, etc. It’s up to you to take those steps.
As we walk into this busy season, I just want to ENCOURAGE you to make changes if the way things are going aren’t working. I don’t think we should accept the stress that the holidays tend to bring. They should be FULL OF PEACE, LOVE & CONNECTION but that is up to us! We have to be intentional with how we use our time, what we eat, how me move our bodies, the invitations that we accept, the things we volunteer for, our expectations of others, AND what we teach our children by example. You don’t just have to let life happen to you… Actively LIVE IT! Carry peace everywhere go. If you start feeling the stress rise up, stop and change your thought patterns. Fight for peace, love & connection. Keep this holiday season full of everything that truly matters!
If you made it through this whole post… WOW, thank you for listening! I have so many things on my heart right now! Sometimes they get so pent up, they just explode out! Haha!