Pt 1 of 3 :
- Part 1- 7 things to do today to rock the holidays
- Part 2: Holidays and grief – celebrating when it doesn’t feel like much to celebrate
- Part 3: Having that hard holiday conversation – at home, at work, or on the way
Hello Reader. It’s coming…the holiday season! Need any help with your preparations? No, not the shopping or decorating prep – sorry I’ve got my own lists. How about the prep work for getting you ready?
As much as we prep for the food, the decorations, the social engagements, the family times, it’s important to prep ourselves to fully engage with it all! With the purpose of enjoying every bit of joy and coming out healthier after the holidays too!
What if you could come out of the holiday season, say January 2nd you wake up and you’re healthier than the start of the holiday season? Balderdash, you say?! I’m a cotton-headed-ninny-migguns b/c that’s not possible?!
Well, miracles DO happen and like the shake-and-bake that might be used in a couple of weeks, you can help!
Here are 7 things you can start doing today to help you rock the holidays and come out healthy!
One. Prep your Soul Health/Spiritual nourishment. “Our souls are healthy to the extent we maintain connection and receptivity to God.”-Mindy Caliguire, Willow Creek.
Holiday season can also involve depression and anxiety so prepping your soul is crucial. When we are depressed and anxious there are chemical changes in our body that can influence our thoughts, physical body, and our emotions thereby getting in the way of our core identity. Take time to prep your soul.
- Connect your soul to creation, music, art, conversation that stirs life, hope, and health.
- Teach your soul to be quiet. Ps 62:5
- Educate your soul and preach the truth to yourself. Prov 19:2 You can have lots of degrees or doctorates, but ultimately it is what your soul knows that directs your life.
- Fill your soul with hope. Heb 6:19
- Teach your soul to boast and declare God’s love. Ps 34:2
- Teach your soul to be accountable. Accept responsibility and accountability for your choices and invite the Lord to lead you. Ps 119:10; 139:23
- Teach your soul to lament, grieve or mourn with confidence. Ps 42; 130
Two. Prep your fuel levels. What you put in your body will fuel your body. What goes in determines how you feel and sometimes think, so choose your fuel wisely.
- Eliminate nicotine, caffeine and decrease simple carbohydrates. Also limit refined sugars and processed sweeteners.
- It’s amazing what depression and anxiety can literally “feed on” and sugar is one of the biggest cravings while we feel depressed or anxious, with cravings for carbs a close second. Don’t feed the depression or anxiety, instead fuel your body with food it needs to be restored to full health from the depression and anxiety.
- Vitamin or supplements may be recommended as led by your doctor. Consider asking your primary care physician or your medical doctor about brain healthy supplements you can add to your health regimen.
Three. Prep your Boundaries with a Life Rhythm or Rule. A rhythm or rule for life is a simple statement of the regular rhythms we choose in order to partner with God for transformation, they are a brief and realistic scaffold of practices that support your heart’s desire to grow in loving God and others. It honors your limits and your God-given longings. (2 sources: Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Calhoun, p35; and www.emotionallyhealthy.org )
- Learn to delegate and honor your limits—our schedules can control us and increase depression or anxiety experiences. Learn how to delegate things others could do at least 65-80% as well as you could if at all possible. Practice saying the word “no” to things that don’t line up with your schedule, values, and goals; or consider saying “let me think about it and get back to you” first.
- Practice gratitude—if you want your brain to work better, practice being grateful on a daily basis. A frightened brain looks very different in a brain scan than a brain that has mulled over things it is grateful for. Write down 5 things you are grateful for every day. When depressed patients in Dr. Daniel Amen’s study completed this exercise daily, they needed less anti-depressant medication.
- If there are currently activities, habits, or addictions that get in the way of you being the best you, reach out to a trusted friend or professional today. Don’t let these things continue to steal life, money, and healthy relationships from you.
Four. Prep your Brain & Body with proper hydration. Water is your body’s lubricant so make sure you get enough for you and avoid an abundance of substances that cause dehydration like caffeine and alcohol.
- Most doctors consider 6-8 glasses of 8 ounces each a proper amount of water for our bodies, but there are other calculations to determine if you are getting enough water.
- Drink purified water or use a high-quality water filter. Often the medications or supplements we take can be limited or impacted by water that has additional chemicals.
- Add flavor to your water by cutting up fruit, or add in some sugar-free flavoring. Make sure if you use flavoring that is from an actual fruit and that it is preservative free.
Five. Prep with restorative sleep. Guard your sleep and plan well to prepare your body for rest; that may mean setting aside time before bed to slow down. Often 7-8 hours of sleep is optimal, but some of us need less or more at certain ages or seasons/times. Sleep is critical for clear thinking, energy, relational connection to others and ability to focus in times with God.
- Prepare yourself for sleep—maintain a regular sleep schedule, create a soothing nighttime routine, if you read make sure it is a calm read, use sound machines, drink warm milk with real vanilla and stevia for your sleep, take all electronics out of the bedroom or at least off the bed, maintain regular exercise but not within four hours of bedtime, avoid all stimulating beverages (caffeine, chocolate, alcohol) in late afternoon and evening, if you wake up during the night don’t check the clock and use the bed only for sleep or marital activities.
- Use blue-light protective glasses or supplements if you have to use electrical devices.
Six. Prep with physical movement. Our bodies are made to move, so plan daily exercise and ask your doctor to help you determine healthy options for this season. A general rule is exercise for 20-30 minutes 5-7 times a week. Do you like to walk, dance, run, skip rope….? Here’s some incentive!
- Physical activity enhances cognitive ability at all ages.
- Exercise enhances mood and alleviates depression by increasing the neurotransmitters that balance our moods.
- The antidepressant benefits of exercise have been documented to show in one study that exercise that was consistently elevating the heart rate and strengthening muscle was equally effective as Zoloft when the exercise was done for a full 12 weeks. Talk to your medical doctor and/or a personal trainer about an exercise plan for you!
- High intensity activity such as aerobic workouts, dancing, swimming or such, will soothe anxiety and reduces the incidence of panic attacks.
Seven. Prep with social community fun. We are made to be in relationship. Laughter and joy with others have immediate physical, mental and spiritual effects. Some seasons we have less social interactions than others, but we always need to be mindful of our social needs and plan for time with healthy others.
- Consider a healthy activity you want to do and invite others to join you.
- Also mourning with others, comforting others and allowing them to comfort us leads to blessing.
- Share life health-fully with trusted others and give of yourself healthfully being aware of your current limits.
- Choose healthy friends, set wise boundaries, learn to be a good friend
There you have it. 7 things to do today to help you rock the holidays – and come out healthier!
- Which of the 7 areas listed above will you start with?
- Who can you invite into this with you for either support, enjoyment, or accountability?
- Is there a medical or other professional you want to be involved?
Connect with me and let me know how it goes!
Tune in next week for Part 2 and then Part 3 the week of Thanksgiving.
Pt 1 of 3 :
Part 1- 7 things to do today to rock the holidays
Part 2: Holidays and grief – celebrating when it doesn’t feel like much to celebrate
Part 3: Having that hard holiday conversation – at home, at work, or on the way
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and with husband David Lawrence co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
Photo from Pexels.com, Graphic on Canva