Sunday, December 21, 2014

4 Ways to Discover Balance and Joy This Holiday Season

Discover balance and joy this holiday season by aligning your mind, body, and spirit. If this seems like too much of a challenge to you, you’re not alone. According to a study from Weight Watchers, the average American gains around 7-10 lbs. between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

The holiday blues and seasonal affective disorder plague others. Learn what Maude Purcell LCSW, CEAP suggests to help you outsmart the holiday blues at Beat the Holiday Blues

Are you one of the those people who have unrealistic expectations of yourself and others or a preconceived notion of how the holidays should turn out? Has entertaining, party going, gift shopping, and life on the run become a drudge or thrown you off center? There is help for you.

Here are 4 ways you may wander off from a healthy course and 4 remedies to fix them.

Excuse # 1: Everyone strays from their routine, especially since it’s a stressful and “so much happening” season.

Remedy #1: Talk about feelings as they come up, rather than stuff feelings with foods, over-spending, or a frenzy of activity. Limit commitments, holiday events, or preparations to things you really want to do and only add extra things if they won’t tax your sense of well-being. Choose to be with the people who matter the most to you and bow out of situations with people, functions, or customs that have less meaning for you. If you feel bent out of shape or anxious, meditate or do deep breathing exercises to bring you back to your center.

Excuse #2: I have no time or energy for exercise.

Remedy #2: Fit exercise into holiday activities, by parking your car as far away from stores as possible and use the stairs instead of escalator or elevator at the mall. When you can, walk to shops, post office, or food shopping instead of driving. Stretch at your computer, on line at the bank or farmers’ market, or in bed before you get out of it in the morning. Include the playground, park, roller or ice skating ring, biking, skiing, and walking in family fun activities for the holidays. Give exercise gifts like a spa day or gym membership to yourself or others.

Excuse #3: I’m too pooped to cook. This excuse may create a dangerous situation, because you’re likely to grab snack or junk foods instead of real food or overeat in a restaurant. Most foods sold commercially include ingredients like soy oil (unless it’s organic it’s likely to be GMO), artificial sweeteners, high sodium, and heavy sauces and dressings.

Remedy # 3: Shop for holiday presents throughout the year. That way there's no last minute rush. Cook up batches of food and freeze to use when you’re too tired to whip up something that day. If you go to a restaurant instead of cooking, make sure to eat smart when you eat out. Here’s a link to a blog post that will help you do just that. Eat Out Eat Smart

Excuse # 4: I’ll start to diet in the New Year. In days gone by, I've said this to myself in hopes that it would postpone the pain I'd feel from disciplining myself to push away from the table and stop eating unhealthful foods. I also thought stalling with a start date gave me permission to gobble down that basket of bread right now. But I did feel the pain, as I patted my middle section and felt where all that bread went. That’s not all. The day after a holiday party and three cups of Eggnog, I felt bloated, unattractive, lethargic, and cranky from sugar and simple carb overload.

Remedy # 4: Change your mindset to change your behavior around food. Look at what you eat, when you eat, why you eat, and perhaps you’ll conclude that prevention is more effective than cure. Researchers have found that it’s advantageous to make a lifestyle change the minute you realize you need to clean up your food eating act. You won’t have regrets for maintaining a bad habit or guilt from procrastinating. I have noticed when my awareness level and motivation is at a peak, the momentum keeps me going longer and stronger. Be gentle with yourself if you have a food slip, but start anew to notice what foods you crave or gorge on. Ask yourself when, where, and under what circumstances do you eat unhealthily? Set a health improvement goal rather than weight loss or gain. This way you can be a winner over and over again. 

Here are 2 Websites that address emotional eating...

Keep in mind the winter holiday season coincides with cold and flu season. That’s why it's important to ward off illness and energy drain by eating nourishing foods and filling yourself up with the love, peace, brotherhood, and light that Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa holidays convey.

Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life. Happy Holidays Everyone!

The quotation for today comes from Geneen Roth, Author of Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything. “Freedom from obsession is not about something you do; it's about knowing who you are. It's about recognizing what sustains you and what exhausts you. What you love and what you think you love because you believe you can't have it.”

Don't forget to order a copy or two of my woman's self-care journal, Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss. It offers many tips and ideas to help women readers feel a greater sense of well-being and joy in daily living. Colors of Joy on My Website

This post has been shared at Special Holiday Edition: Celebrate the Season at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop 2014.

This post has been shared at Tues With a Twist # 90 is Live!

This post has been shared at Tues. With a Twist #91 is Live!

Friday, December 5, 2014

3 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

3 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

For many, this time of year is anxiety producing and stressful. Right now you may think there is too much to do or worry that holiday shopping and decorating, cards, food prep, and house cleaning won’t be finished in time for the holidays.

Before you jump off an emotional cliff, ask yourself these questions; am I trying too hard to create a “perfect looking" holiday? Are the horrors of past holidays coming back to haunt me? Do I believe I have super powers, can run myself ragged, and will know when to stop before total exhaustion sets in?

Research suggests it’s never too late to change outmoded behaviors and attitudes. When you open your mind to a new way of being and pay attention to your true needs and wants, you will find greater satisfaction and joy this holiday season and all year long.  

1. Learn ways to moderate your emotions. Set the tone for your day in the morning. Wake up a few minutes early to allow for quiet time to practice Mindfulness Meditation. It is a powerful tool that helps you notice thoughts, observe your emotions, and increase self-knowledge. Keep it simple; breathe in and out for a few moments. A mind-body practice like meditation develops increased awareness of the present, and can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Meditation lowers heart rate and deep breathing has a calming effect for hours after you move into your day. Meditation helps you clear your mind and encourages rational thinking. Rational thinking enables you to plan ahead, and make effective decisions about daily activities. Studies show that daily mindfulness meditation done over a period of at least 8 weeks, makes a significant improvement in overall quality of life and health. 

2. Simplify your celebration by anchoring it to reality. Do you act out of a genuine love of a particular custom? Perhaps it's time to release traditions and preparations that don’t align with your time, budget, or spirit. Limit time spent with people, places, and things that drain your energy. Reserve time for those people and functions that matter to you.

3. Remember you have options. There are no holiday police, who dictate what is right for you. You may want to relax at home, have company, visit friends and family, or create a new tradition this year. Some folks shift gears by going to the movies, visiting a park, helping a shut-in neighbor, or do service at a soup kitchen. Perhaps this year you want to get away from it all on a vacation. You will fail, if you try to people-please everyone in your life. Aim to be loving and kind to yourself and others. Make the choice to do what works best for you!

For those times when you're traveling with kids, here’s help for you.

Please comment by sharing your tips for stress reduction. If you'd like to, mention what things you want to reduce, improve, or eliminate in the new year. Studies show when you use pen and paper and record your intention, it reinforces the idea in your mind and body.

For many more creative ideas about effective self-care practices and exercises that help you appreciate simple pleasures, pick up a copy of Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss. It’s a great gift for all the women you love. See more here.

The quotation for today is an original, "“Self-care is a privilege only you can grant yourself.” Nancy Andres

Before I go, I'd like to thank you for your support and encouragement during 2014. Wishing each and every one of you a very Happy, Healthy 2015. 
This blog post appears on the Special Holiday Edition of the Healthy, Happy, Green, and Natural Party Blog Hop 2014

This blog post appears on Tuesdays With a Twist#88 is Live!

Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Warm regards, Nan