It’s December 1st. For me, that means it is time to put the angel topper on the tree and really begin decorating and enjoying the Season. I am not one of those folks that puts up a tree before, during or even right after Thanksgiving. I soak up every single bit of Thanksgiving and enjoy that wonderful time and lull before breaking out the decorations of the next Holiday. Tonight two of my boys participate in one of my favorite things. They are both singing in a special candle light Lessons and Carols service through their school’s music department. The performance is at a beautiful Episcopal church in downtown Atlanta and always puts me in the right frame of mind to begin celebrating the Christmas Season. I am so looking forward to it!
The beginning of a new month also means another Health Hacks post for you to try at home during the month. This month, of course, the focus is on Healthy Holidays, dealing with Christmas Stress, healthy Holiday tips and easy ways to relieve stress during your busy month.
1. Allow Yourself to be Bored
At first you may read this and think I have absolutely lost my mind. How could anyone possibly be bored during the month of December when you have what is basically another full time job heaped on your already full plate? (I once likened the Christmas busyness or extra activities brought on by Christmas as another job) This tip goes well anytime of year, so think of this as something to try to do anytime during the year. Allow yourself to keep your phone in your purse or pocket. Allow yourself to put off responding to every single email at the very moment it pings into your inbox. If you are standing in line at the post office, allow yourself to look around. Allow your mind to wander. People watch. Zone out. Reminisce. Do nothing. If you are riding in a car, do the same thing. Look out the window. Notice the clouds. If you are at your desk during a break, or at home, allow yourself to sit. Allow yourself to get bored and you will be pleasantly amazed at where your mind takes you. You will discover ideas popping in your head, creative juices may flow, you may even feel surprisingly refreshed.
Remember how it used to feel as a kid to be bored? How awful we thought it was? Well, as an adult, we never allow our minds to go a second without being entertained. Go back there. Find a few or even a single minute to be that bored kid again. And, try to get your own kids to rediscover a bit of boredom. It’s a great healthy hack and will add to your healthy holiday
2. Book Your Workouts Each Week this Month . . . and BE REALISTIC
I know this time of year it is hard to keep up with your normal routine, much less your workout routine. Treat your workouts like a work or even a hair appointment. You wouldn’t dare miss either of those! Look at your weekly schedule on Sunday and pen (not pencil!) in workout appointments. I say be realistic here because the last thing I want you to do is overcommit yourself which will lead you to feel bad about yourself which may lead you to fall off your health journey altogether. If you know you have a work party on Wednesday evening, chances are you aren’t going to make it to Wednesday’s 6 pm spin class. If you know you have your preschooler’s Holiday Pageant, you know you aren’t making it to my Friday morning Body Sculpt class. I will miss you! Do not pen in workouts when you know you can’t be there, so realistically look at the week and fit it in when you can and make it count.
Your fitness, exercise and workouts will go a long way to helping relieve any holiday stress and keep your holiday healthy.
3. Be Present
You may hear this a lot and may be too busy to even think about what it means. I am so happy I have gotten a little older and wiser and know the beauty of this now. I wish I had discovered the art and benefits of being present years ago when my boys were younger and my parents were still living. The may be my most important holiday tip to share for a healthy holiday. It has nothing to do with exercise, diet or nutrition. It has everything to do with you, your time and your heart. It has everything to do with what really matters.
A couple of years ago I was asked to speak and lead a prayer at a women’s luncheon. I was honored and humbled to do this as the room was full of strong, wonderful, rockstar women -all of whom I look up to and admire for many reasons. I spoke to them from my heart about learning to slow down and breathe. I spoke about being forced to realize what truly matters in the midst of our busy days. The perfectly wrapped present, the last little stocking stuffer and the put together outfit weren’t what would be remembered by your little ones, your parents, siblings or other loved ones. The smiles, hugs, time, and stories you share will be what will leave an impression.
I recently read these words by Shauna Niequist from her new book Present Over Perfect and want to share them:
Present is living with your feet firmly grounded in reality, pale and uncertain as it may seem. Present is choosing to believe that your own life is worth investing deeply in, instead of waiting for some rare miracle or fairy tale. Present means we understand that the here and now is sacred, sacramental, threaded through with divinity even in its plainness. Especially in its plainness.
Present over perfect living is real over image, connecting over comparing, meaning over mania, depth over artifice. Present over perfect living is the risky and revolutionary belief that the world God has created is beautiful and valuable on its own terms, and that it doesn’t need to be zhuzzed up and fancy in order to be wonderful.
Sink deeply into the world as it stands. Breathe in the smell of rain and the scuff of leaves as they scrape across driveways on windy nights. This is where life is, not in some imaginary, photo-shopped dreamland. Here. Now.
What a wonderful thing to remember anytime, but especially as we embark on the holidays! Isn’t this what we all really strive for? This is truly a healthy holiday health hack that is good all year long! It is the perfect out for all of us from feeling like we have to set ourselves up against some perfect, unrealistic image – whether it is an image of a fitness model, a Pinterest table setting, a perfectly decorated tree or perfectly groomed children sitting like statutes in church on Christmas Eve.
There you have it – Health Hacks for your own healthy holidays and my own holiday tips for a stress free, active but imperfect, present holiday season!
Have a favorite or your own to share? Let me know here or share with me on Instagram!
Enjoy Your Day!