Giving attention to one’s health, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, during the holidays is of the utmost important. There are many pitfalls that can arise this time of year that would otherwise not be as prevalent. During the holiday season, the weather is often dark and cold. The effect that this can have on one physiologically is potentially serious and has been documented (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Additionally, there are stressors unique to this time of year. In particular, the shopping frenzy can be the enemy of good overall wellness for two reasons, frantic schedules and financial burden. The holidays can be so busy, looking for that sale or for the perfect gift, beating the clock on closeouts, dealing with traffic, cooking, getting the house ready for family. For many, the winter months mean breaking out that credit card that you’ve been paying down and going back into debt. Quite clearly, the potential to neglect one’s over-all wellness exists this time of year.
In the midst of these annual challenges, it is important to be purposeful about your health. Take the reigns of self and refuse to be blown around by the holiday winds. Here are a few tips that you will want to remember during the holiday season:
Take time to do nothing: Consider how many trivial, unnecessary situations envelope your time. Your time is going to be “taken” whether you want it to or not. I propose that you be one of the “takers.” Allow yourself time to do absolutely nothing. Let your mind and body slow down. Don’t focus on what you’re going to do next, just breath. Look around you during this time; you may see something beautiful and worth noticing that you didn’t even know was there, even though it’s been there all the while. In other words, take some time to become human again. This doesn’t have to be a long period of time. You won’t need any scented candles or music either. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, at the mall, at home entertaining, while doing the bills, just sit and breathe. I like to take around ten minutes personally; how unusual…
Exercise in the morning: Exercise is at great way to prevent and, if you’re late in the game, deal with stress. Aerobic exercise is super for this; personally, I like to jog. You should consult your physician about what exercise regiment would be best for you. Exercise in the early morning hours before the busyness of life prevents you from exercising at all.
Eat Right: Fast food doesn’t have to be junk food. Snack on a piece of fruit; I love bananas. Cook for tomorrow. Here is list of healthy foods that you can make in less than thirty minutes.
Eat your spiritual food: “…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4- KJV). While this is fundamental, it is easy to overlook. Our spirit man is much like our physical man. If we do not feed our spirit, we can become weak and susceptible to “fleshiness,” oh my. Let breakfast, lunch and dinner be a reminder that your spirit also needs nourishment.
Consolidate: Perhaps you can save some time by consolidating several activities into one. Do you need to jog in the morning, read your Bible, and take the dog out to use nature’s restroom? With the help of a retractable leash and an mp3 player you could jog, take out your dog, and listen to the Bible in digital format, all at the same time. Beans can soak while you sleep, downloads can process while you talk on the phone, and kids can entertain each other. You get the point.
Delegate Tasks: Are you trying to take on the tasks of the entire world by yourself? Perhaps it is time to have a sit down with the family and discuss how that, as a team, the holiday season “will be” even more joyous.
Healthy Relationships: Need to go to the mall to buy those Christmas gifts? Go with a friend. Make time for life giving, fun, loving relationships. For many this task is very easy, second nature. However, for others, the holidays can be a reminder of the absence of family. Make sure that you don’t overlook healthy relationships during the holidays and if you know someone that is isolating, drop by and say hello, maybe drag them out to the mall with you.
Set a financial limit: Last but not least, set a financial limit for gifts and overall expenses during the holiday season and stick to it. Your five year old niece will not know the difference between the toy from Big Lots and the toy from Toys-R-Us. Put thought into your gifts and not “show.” Often what people really need and want is much less costly than what you would have bought just for bragging rights. What if I just don’t have any self control? If you have difficulty staying within a budget, perhaps you need to take your better half shopping with you; oh, love is in the air.