"The holidays are coming!"
Does this phrase bring you holiday joy or mild panic?
For me, it simply depends which day you ask. November and December are usually a blur for my family. There's turkey to be cooked, presents to be wrapped, family to keep calm, and lots of mouths to feed. The kids and husband are on vacation from school which throws my daily routine to the curb, but I wouldn't change it for the world!
With all the turkeys, fruitcakes, and mixed nuts in my family tree, things can get a bit "dicey" and stressful (concentrated family time, celebrating in tight spaces can do that to the best of us.)
I want to do MORE than just survive the holidays. I want to end the day with joy and celebration over the fact that another day "in the books" was beautiful. Sometimes it's a beautiful disaster, but I'm learning to be joyful and celebrate the gifts of imperfection.
I challenge you to begin using these healthy habits to truly enjoy your family, your blessings, and yourself today AND throughout the holiday season!
6 Healthy Holiday Habits
1. Show Gratitude.
Giving thanks allows us to shift our focus away from our not-enough-ness toward the reasons we gather with family and celebrate. The abundance of blessings by which we're surrounded. The hard things we've gone through or accomplished. Each day is another in the unfolding of our life. Thank the Creator for the fullness it!
2. Be present.
Create a mindful environment around mealtime. Instead of inhaling food while buzzing around doing holiday shopping or cooking, create space to sit down and enjoy your meal. Calm yourself and be fully present at the table by turning off your phone, TV, and other screens. Perhaps even light candles and listen to quiet music over dinner. My kids LOVE it when we do this, even when we're serving something simple like hamburgers! Sit down and pay attention to your food and your people.
3. Eat balanced meals.
Begin the meal with eating a salad, your veggies, or fiber filled foods. The fiber helps to regulate your blood sugar which stabilizes your energy. Include a "palm-sized" portion of protein alongside healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, ghee, nuts or olive oil. Protein helps slow the increase in blood sugar which increases satiety (feeling satisfied) while healthy fats are like the "cruise-control" of your metabolism, keeping you full, longer.
4. Leave your serving dishes in the kitchen.
Set up the meal as a buffet on the counter in the kitchen or a separate table from your dining. If you choose to get more food, you're intentionally getting up from the table and putting it on your plate instead of "picking at" the food left at the table.
After your meal, take a walk around the neighborhood. Play a family game outside with the kids or have a tickle-fest in the floor.
6. Practice self-compassion.
Know that things are not always going to happen as you planned. (Preaching to myself a bit here!!) More than anything, your kids and your family want YOU - sometimes even when they don't realize it. Your best is all you have to offer...and that is enough.
My memories of the holidays have nothing to do with perfection. I remember the crammed family dinner table, surrounded by my people and food. I think of Mamaw's Christmas cups (the ones she earned as a gift from Avon that change colors when filled with ice cold drinks.) I remember scouring the Christmas trees of hodge-podge decorations, searching for my favorite hand-made ornament from 3rd grade.
Your people will remember the time you share and the traditions you create together. Go easy on yourself.