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Tips to Have a Happy, Healthy and Balanced Holiday Part 1: Slow Down posted Nov 6, 2017

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This starts a 6 week series of articles on tips to have a happy, healthy and balanced holiday season. The topics I will cover are slowing down the pace of life, eating healthy, overcoming sugar cravings, understanding the food-mood connection, how to maintain your exercise plan and getting enough sleep.

The time between Halloween and New Year’s Day just flies by. As we speed into the holidays take time to realize that life is not supposed to be moving at breakneck pace. We are not supposed to be rushing around with a hectic schedule taking care of everyone and everything but ourselves.

As we race through meals, work, family time and social events we miss many pleasures that we are in too much of a hurry to notice or appreciate. A balanced holiday season involves slowing down and taking time for all aspects of life such as relationships, work, fitness, health, and emotional well-being. There are several consequences to living a fast-paced, imbalanced season. Some of the consequences are stress, fatigue, depression, low self-esteem, lack of energy, restless sleep, emotional eating, guilt, and procrastination

To have a balanced holiday it is important to slow down and engage in stress relieving activities on a regular basis. Some stress relieving activities can be time to just sit and relax, savoring a cup of tea, finding a hobby, going for a walk, attending a yoga class and enjoying a good laugh with a friend. To further help reduce stress find an exercise you enjoy and can do regularly. I enjoy running regularly but the exercise you engage in can be walking, playing volleyball, hiking, cross-country skiing or biking. Even a few minutes of exercise can have amazing physiological effects and elevate your mood. It is important to spend time with family building connections, talking and sharing experiences together. Family relationships are foundational and need to be given special time and attention whether you have children or not. Taking time to cook and eat a nutritious meal at home with your family is important to living a slower more balanced holiday season that leads to well-being.

Time management is so important when it comes to a happy, healthy and balanced holiday. Scheduling in “me” time on your calendar is as important as anything else you do. “Me” time looks different for everyone. Here are at a few ways you can implement personal time into your daily routine. The first thing at this busy time is not to allow everyone else’s schedule to become your schedule. In other words, don’t be afraid to say, “No” to the many invitations and requests you get. Understand that not saying no to certain things will only lead to overwhelming and unwanted stress. This isn’t always easy. Like everything else, practice will help ease you into standing up for your life and simply saying no. Another thing is to set realistic goals and expectations for the holidays. Know what your limits are and create healthy boundaries. Creating boundaries is often hard to achieve for many people. Oftentimes, we feel guilty if we’ve created a boundary that isn’t pleasing to someone else. Keep in mind that when we take care of ourselves and follow our wise-inner voice, we then raise our self-esteem, increase our energy, feel more overall balance and are better able to give. Be mindful and remain consistent with the boundaries you create. Honor your choices. Waking up 30-minutes earlier is something else you can do to provide you the personal space you need to spend time alone. We all need our alone time and sometimes we feel refreshed and revived first thing in the morning. Mornings are a great time to journal, pray, meditate, or even stretch your body before your feet hit the floor running. Getting up early is what I do to make sure I have time for myself. I get up workout, read my Bible and journal before the first child starts stirring. This is the only way I can set myself up successfully for the day ahead.

As you slow down the pace of your life you may need to start slowly but set your schedule with intention and begin to build in that sense of balance you’ve long been waiting to achieve.

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