3 Simple Ways to Enjoy the Holidays and Still Take Care of YourselfNov 19, 2023
The holidays are here and I think we are all VERY excited...the cooler weather, warm drinks, cozy blankets and nostalgic moments making memories with the people we love. The holidays can bring waves of so many different emotions as well as packed schedules. The holidays also bring a TON of input for your system...from non-stop conversations, interactions (maybe even difficult situations), cooking, decorating, cleaning, and maybe non-stop shopping and travel...sometimes we can feel weighed down or overloaded from it all! Sometimes we can be so overloaded that we just completely stop taking care of ourselves from November until after the New Year because it's all just too much to balance and take care of!
But I want to offer a few SIMPLE encouragements. A few simple ways that can hopefully help you enjoy the holidays, remove the overwhelm and the guilt, and focus on what really matters without completely forgetting about how important it is to steward the gift of our health.
NO, this is not going to be a blog about '3 simple ways to make sure you stick to your diet over the holidays' or '5 simple ways to make sure you still can do your bootcamp workouts over the holidays'. And it's definitely not going to be about ANY ways that you can 'save money on special gifts for yourself or your family and friends by purchasing anything with my special links'.
My hope for you (and for me!) is NOT that we would be so rigid in our desire to steward our health that we think we MUST do all the things to be "healthy" all the time or else we are failing. Like I always say....
Our goal is not perfection but rather consistent stewardship.
My hope for us is that we would walk in JOY not drudgery in stewarding the gift of our health, even (and especially!) during the holidays.
↓ Be encouraged! ↓
1. Solitude: Find at least a small amount of time to spend by yourself.
For me this means early mornings. The quiet house, no other noises except maybe some birds. Just me and some time for my heart and mind to retreat, process life, and be refreshed. I typically use this time to read my Bible, pray, think, and sometimes do a few things either around the house or for work that need to be done before everyone wakes up. Focusing my heart and mind on what matters to me and filling me up to be able to pour out for the day.
Whatever you might do with your time, solitude is one of the best ways you can take care of yourself, even when things might be a bit chaotic or out of the regular rhythm.
So maybe you're staying with family for a few days - hopefully you can find even just 20-30 minutes to quiet your mind and heart to reset and refresh. Be filled up so you can pour out!
(I talk a lot about the power and significance of solitude in my Stress & Nervous System Workshop found HERE. I know it will bless you! Check it out!)
2. Movement: Get moving WITH your people.
I think we often default to thinking that working out or taking a walk during the holidays will decrease our time with our family and friends during these special times. BUT why not try to get moving TOGETHER?! No, I am not suggesting that everyone goes outside to throw tires and run laps around the neighborhood. But instead of completely foregoing getting your body moving - remind yourself that the goal of your normal workouts is to get stronger and feel great in order to be able to focus on what really matters - and you can do that with your family or friends in a different way than normal during the holidays. It's fun for everyone and gets your blood moving.
One of my favorite ways to get some movement in is to go on a family walks. It's good for everyone to get outside AND the benefits of walking are incredible! (Pssst....I have a Wellness Workshop on this coming up on November 30th! Join the Grove HERE if you want to join in!)
You might find it fun to even get in some great Pilates workouts together for some downtime. Share the joy of your workouts with the people closest to you - I am sure they would be so thankful!! You can show your family and friends that they don't have to beat up their body to get a good workout in - that they can get stronger with these progressive and purposeful workouts from OTP!
A small caveat here...so, I realize that sometimes you just can't get in movement with family or friends. Which can also mean that you just can't get in any workouts or walks for a week. I get it! And y'all, hear me say this very clearly.....THAT'S OKAY. You need to remind yourself that it is COMPLETELY okay for you to rest for a week. It can be so beneficial for your body and mind to take a week off! The times that I (either purposefully or accidentally) take a week off of workouts allows my body to reset. So when I come back to my regular rhythm, either I feel refreshed because I really needed a pause or I feel like I really missed all the benefits of my workouts (more energy, blood and lymph circulation, blood sugar regulation, and better at handling stress) and I am ready to get back to it!
Let's extend grace to ourselves, y'all. Let's make sure we remind ourselves we aren't trying to be fitness models and our bodies are for more than just workouts and walks. Workouts and walks are SO good for us...but our health isn't worth an obsession. It's okay to take a break!
3. Food: STOP sub-consciously (or consciously) guilting yourself for EVERYTHING you eat or don't eat.
Food is not a reward nor should it be a reason for "punishment" or guilt. Food is fuel. Food is a good gift given to us by God to ENJOY. You are not inconsistent in stewarding your health because you ate pumpkin pie 3 times last week. You are not failing at stewarding your health because you ate a bazillion carbs and don't plan on "burning them off".
Quick sidenote.... Most people don't talk about this but I think it's important: If you know a particular food isn't going to make your body feel good - avoid it without the guilt or pressure of eating it anyways just because it's there or because someone else won't understand. If you need to make hard choices to eat differently than others because of how your body will respond to certain foods - I am with you in that and completely understand. But let's make sure to still enjoy the food we do have either by making foods we love with ingredients that are better for us or just choose a different dish all together. Either way - the goal is joy not drudgery! Reminding myself that my joy isn't found in what I eat helps me to not get super disappointed when I shouldn't have something that I know would be yummy to my tastebuds but terrible for my health. Food is food. Not joy.
And if you know something is going to be yummy, that it isn't a physical problem for your body and you want to eat it - do it!! NO guilt. It would be better for you to enjoy your time and your meals with loved ones rather than focusing on and obsessing over if each bite of food is going to make you gain weight. You will be FINE. Stop the madness of health obsession. A full thanksgiving meal or weekend of Christmas festivities is NOT going to change the course of your health. Long-term guilt and stress over your food (or anything for that matter) WILL change the course of your health.
You CAN take care of yourself without it taking away from your holiday fun. In fact, I believe that taking care of yourself in the midst of all the pie and presents can HELP you enjoy your holidays MORE. 🖤
→ Find some solitude, stay moving as best as you can, and enjoy yummy meals with your loved ones!
I am SURE there are many people that would say that YOU matter so very much to them. Let's do things differently this holiday season and truly take care of ourselves so that you can be fully present and enjoy your time with your loved ones!
JOY > drudgery
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas from Olive Tree!