Easy Ways to have a Healthy Mind & Spirit during the Holidays
There are many blog posts and articles circulating this time of year telling us how to stay physically healthy during the holidays. While this is definitely important, having an healthy mind and spirit is also important. In this post, I have listed 5 easy ways to have a healthy mind and spirit during the holiday season.
- Remember the reason for the season. A lot of people think that they must have the perfect holiday by cooking extravagant meals and spending tons of money on gifts. The holidays are really about spending time with the people you love. Express thanks and gratitude for your blessings, and convey hope for the new year ahead.
- Practice healthy boundaries. We all have that one person (or people) that we don’t get along with who is going to be at an event or gathering we are attending for the holidays. If you know this, place limits on the time you will have to spend with this person. Don’t plan to stay overnight while traveling where this person will be. Have a time limit on when you are going to leave the party or event so as to not add strain to yourself and others. Remember, you are in control of the situation and can politely excuse yourself and/or decline to stay longer to avoid unnecessary tension.
- Take care of yourself. Alright, so I said that I wasn’t going to talk about physical health. However, it is important to address the importance of eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising, and drinking water when discussing emotional health. In 12-Step recovery, one of their slogans is HALT, don’t let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. This is applies to many situations, and is a good idea to the holiday season. Notice these things and take action as soon as you realize you’re struggling. Hungry? Get a healthy snack before all those cookies become too tempting and easy to grab. Angry? Find ways to calm down. Walk away for a moment, talk to a trusted friend, and/or take deep breaths to calm down. Lonely? Even though you might not feel like it, reach out to friends and family. Go to the holiday party. Find ways to interact with people. Check places like meetup.com to make connections with people that have similar interests to you. Keep putting yourself out there, until you find a group that you feel comfortable with. Tired? Rest and get at least 7 hours of sleep each night if you can.
- Simplify and delegate. Even Santa has elves! Do you really need a 10-course meal? Can you do parties and events potluck style? Can your partner, kids, neighbor, or friend help you in some way? Can you trade or barter? For example, are you great at baking pies and you have a friend or family member who is crafty and awesome at decorating? Maybe you could bake an extra pie for him or her, and they could decorate your table for you? Be creative!
- Last but definitely not least, find quiet time every day. Holidays or not, I recommend writing gratitude statements and affirmations every morning. Make sure that you continue this practice during the holidays, even if you feel that you don’t have the time. Taking this time can help you with all of the steps above. This practice allows you to focus more on what you have as opposed to what you don’t. Connect with your breath. This will help to calm your mind and in turn be more focused and productive the rest of the day.
Follow these 5 easy tips for a healthy mind and spirit so can be calm and focused to really enjoy the festivities of the season. Happy Holidays!
Joy Carter, MSW
Mindfulness & Spiritual Coach