It’s official – today begins the season of “Eh – it’s the holidays, I’ll just have ONE more piece . . .” Of whatever it is. Candy, pie, casserole, you name it. From now until the New Year, we often let our self-care habits slack despite the fact we know that our decisions may not be ‘good for us.’
This isn’t about depriving yourself of something you truly crave, everyone should treat themselves around the holidays! However, many of us use the holidays as an excuse to go hog wild and throw all our good habits out the window when we don’t need to. The truth is, when we are established in healthy routines and habits, we don’t really feel the need to indulge or use food as a ‘treat’. Rather than being addicted to something (sugar, caffeine, carbs, etc.) we are addicted to feeling good in our bodies and that’s enough to keep us satiated.
I see it less as a game of good or bad food and more of a mindfulness game. Why should we abandon mindfulness during the holidays? If anything, with the stress of shopping, celebrations, family obligations, we should be more vigilant, not less so we can be more aware of what triggers our stress and clear on how to manage it.
Here are some tips to stay grounded, balanced and feel nurtured during the holidays, and really, any time of year:
- Before you grab a piece of candy . . . take a moment to remember how good it feels to feel good. Not necessarily from a weight perspective, but how good it feels to get a good night’s sleep, wake up with a clear head and have sustainable energy throughout the day. This all comes from daily self-care habits such as movement and eating clean, natural ingredients. It’s fine to indulge in a piece of candy now and then (trust me – I do it all the time) but when it becomes a habit, that’s when it takes a toll on your health. An excess amount of sugar in the diet can be the culprit to more maladies than just an expanded waistline.
- Indulge ways other than food. Book a massage for yourself. Light some candles and run a bath with Epsom salts and some lavender and frankincense essential oil. Finish off by rubbing some almond oil into damp skin.
- Drink lots of warm drinks and tonics. I’m not talking about a Starbuck’s pumpkin latte. Try drinking an herbal tea with warming herbs such as ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon. You can make a healthy treat with warm milk (I prefer an unsweetened variety of almond or coconut milk or a blend!), cacao, cinnamon and a natural alternative sweetener such as stevia or a dash of maple syrup. If you want a little kick, add a bit of cayenne. (For a video of this recipe click here!)
- Practice deep relaxation techniques throughout the day and especially before you sleep at night for the most peaceful, restorative rest. Try breathing steadily, slowly and smoothly in and out the nose for equal counts. For example, breathe in for four, out for four. After a few minutes of that, begin to lengthen the exhale longer than the inhale. Allow your awareness to be absorbed by the process of breathing. Notice the body’s physical response to breathing: chest and abdomen filling on inhale, emptying on exhale. After 5 minutes or so, relax any manipulation or shaping of the breath. Watch the body breathing and settle into effortless relaxation.
Care for your body as you would someone you love and feeling good will be your ultimate treat – no tricks involved!