Healthy Happy Holidays
If you’re wondering how you’ll get through the holiday season in one piece, think about the three pieces of your being and what needs to be considered. I’m talking about your Body, Mind and Spirit.
First, there’s your body. When it comes to our bodies, we worry about gaining weight because we all know that the sweets will be available in every office, at every party and in our own homes. We find less time to exercise because we’re so busy working, buying and wrapping presents and attending holiday get togethers. For some reason, we overindulge knowing full well we will regret it later. January 1 looms in our minds as the day we have to start all over and go on a crazy diet.
Then, there’s your mind. Mentally, we are stressed out. We worry about money, about the kids, about our marriage, about our dysfunctional families. We wonder when we can take that next vacation and finally get some rest. Sometimes, the mental chatter is so heavy, we get agitated, irritated and downright unfriendly. We wonder why we can’t just have some peace!
Thirdly, there’s your spirit. The inner voice inside that typically gets shut off by your mind and the busyness of life. We totally take this part of ourselves for granted, thinking everything will be fine if we just keep up the fast pace and make enough money, buy enough presents, get enough presents and attend the right parties. For some people, there is no Spirit. It’s just life on this earth, dealing with reality and trying to keep it all together.
By reading this article to the end, you will discover:
*How to control your appetite and avoid weight gain during the holidays.
*How to effectively use your money during the holidays.
*How to have more joy and peace during the holidays.
In order to achieve real wellness, we need to not only address all aspects of ourselves but tend to them as well. In other words, it’s not good enough just to notice, although that’s a great place to start. We have to take action and be willing to shift a little in order to feel the happiness and contentment the holidays can bring.
Notice I started referring to the Body first, then the Mind, then the Spirit. However, to address ourselves wholly, I’m going to begin with the Spirit, then the Mind, then the Body and you will see how this is really the order of importance when attaining health and well-being during the holidays and beyond.
When you consider the “Reason for the Season” you have only to look at the major event in history that started Christmas. While ringing in the New Year is fun and filled with hope and excitement, it’s Christmas that gets us all riled up. The birth of the Christ child is what we celebrate throughout December. That’s not just a Christian view – many people of different religions celebrate also. They want to be part of one of the biggest birthday parties of the year.
Jesus came to the world to bring peace, hope and transformation to the human heart. He is known as the Prince of Peace. So when we begin to look at the reason for the season, it’s this Spirit we want to celebrate. That Spirit is something every human heart longs for. From a Biblical standpoint, The Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self-Control. You will find these heart qualities in other faith traditions as well. When the human heart allows these qualities from the Spirit to flow through them, harmony ensues.
So how do you connect to the Spirit within? One way is to attend services in your faith tradition. Take the time to sit and listen to wisdom from your faith leaders. Admit that you might just have something to learn about life and God and that knowledge could help you run your life more smoothly.
Another is to meditate. Choose a Fruit of the Spirit and concentrate on that heart quality as you sit quietly with no distractions. Carve out some time for yourself and be alone to contemplate or just make space for you and God.
Read a spiritual book – one that resonates with you – and take a few minutes to journal your thoughts.
When you spend this time – an hour or more a week – in sincere contemplation and seek divine wisdom, you will feel more centered and prepared to deal with the week ahead.
The Mind is a funny thing. It wants to make all kinds of stuff up. When you are connected to the Spirit within, you should be able to discern what your mind is doing. Your mind will believe things that simply aren’t true, such as “I have to spend a bunch of money on people this year that I don’t have.” Or, “I am not worth receiving gifts.”
I’m going to assert that the Mind is way more important to deal with than the Body. The reason is that your mind – your brain – has a lot of work to do both consciously and subconsciously. Your Mind is in control of your entire being. Mental clarity will cure 99 percent of your illnesses and frustrations. We need to get control of our minds in order to function well.
Be grounded in truth and reality. This is easier said than done because many people suffer from past traumatic experiences where suppression of emotions and feelings cloud thinking. But I think you can get a handle on your mind if you stick with what’s true and what works. For example, if you can’t afford Christmas presents because your budget is already tight from bill-paying, then you should get that clear in your head, let go of your ego (which says you need to keep up with everyone else) and provide a different way to spread cheer. Get creative and make gifts. Tell your friends and family you are giving your gifts to charity. Cut back from your other spending to make room for this holiday.
I have a friend who exchanges birthday gifts but she doesn’t want to exchange Christmas gifts. It’s her way of saying “I can’t afford to do this and I won’t do it.” I have a lot of respect for her because she stands true to her reality.
You are the chariot driver of your mind. You have the ability to speed it up, slow it down, notice when it’s off-course. It behooves you to pay attention to all the signals you get and listen to your inner guide! Practice watching your thoughts. Practice shifting your thoughts when your inner spirit says, “Hey…that’s not right! Let’s get on track and align with what’s real and true.”
We all have cravings. We all like to eat food. We have to eat food! But we don’t have to eat everything. I do not believe in going on diets. I believe in incorporating healthy habits into your life so you don’t have to go on diets.
More than exercise, food is the key to healthy living. It’s good to move; however, exercise alone will never bring you well-being. You need to learn how to eat well and eat well often. A friend of mine is a healthy eating expert who got her certification from the Integrative School of Nutrition. She promotes the 80/20 rule or 90/10 rule. Eat healthy 80% of the time and the other 20 you can eat what you crave. You can’t overindulge in healthy food but you can overindulge in unhealthy food.
Getting control of the body has everything to do with your Mind, so you have to go back to your Mind and ask…”What kind of life do I really want?” “How can I not compare myself to others but live authentically?” When you ask these questions, consider how and where food satisfies. If you have an emotional problem with food, you need to deal with that and get some help. If you have a taste bud problem with food (that’s mine), you need to live the 80/20 rule. So here’s how that works at a party. Say there’s some really healthy food at a party – like salad or vegetarian or lean meat dish. Eat a good portion of the healthy stuff and then only have a little cheese and crackers and one brownie. You should get full from the healthy food and then stop with one treat.
Here’s how it works at home. Make sure your fridge is filled with salad makings, fruits and vegetables, things to make smoothies and light snacks. Have very little sugar in your home. As you go through the grocery store, do everything in your power to skip the cookies, cake and ice cream. For something sweet in my home I keep a stash of dark chocolate in the fridge. Or I have some dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds. I indulge just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and I’m good.
Your Healthy Happy Holidays begin with connecting to the Spirit within. Attend services, pray, meditate, read spiritual things. Be in gratitude for your current blessings and the blessings to come.
Stay clear in your Mind and pay attention to what you say to yourself at all times. Be content with what you have and learn to say no when you have the urge to spend what you don’t have.
Create a healthy eating environment where your temptation is reduced by having lots of vegetables and fruits, lean meats and very little sugar in your home. Love your Body!
And by all means, exercise! Take a walk, use the treadmill, attend a yoga class and experience the peace that comes with movement intended for healthy functionality.
You are in control. Get clarity. Be your best friend. I wish you the healthiest and happiest holiday season and a very Happy New Year!
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