Overwhelm. Social media. Spending too much money on stuff that doesn't matter. Conflicting family obligations. Hectic schedules. Over-eating. Fatigue. Sick (and exhausted) by January.
That’s how a lot of us do holidays. Although we have the best of intentions, somewhere along the line the fast pace and high expectations we place on ourselves derail us from our personal values and what works, what matters most, for us and our families.
Why not do it a different way and make this holiday season one that is fulfilling rather than just full? One that ends the year with feelings of connectedness, gratitude, deep nourishment and an inner glow. One that starts the New Year on the right foot.
How? Keep it simple. The trick is to stay on track with your good habits even during the holiday season. Christmas is a tradition with a wonderful intention, yet the ritual of stuffing ourselves and burning the candle at both ends can feel outdated for those of us trying to uplevel the way we live our lives.
If you want to avoid the holiday burnout, bloat and blahs here are five simple tips that will change how you experience your holiday and your life in the long run:
1. Make Christmas lunch your main meal
Your digestion is literally a fire. It runs hottest between 11am and 2pm and can handle heavy or rich foods. 20 minutes before your main meal drink a glass of room temp water (no ice) to stoke your digestive fire. Sit down and take in all the smells, feel gratitude for the food and the company laid out before you. Take a bite then a breath. When you’re done eating, sit comfortably until your food has settled. Afterwards take a 10 minute walk to aid digestion.
2. Keep dinner light n’ early
If you want to sleep deeply tonight and have good energy tomorrow finish your eating early. Slowly adjust your mealtime until you’re done by 6pm – when digestion is weakest. Close the kitchen and don’t snack. The best way to align with your body clock and eat an earlier, lighter dinner is to start small and keep meals simple. When you do, you make your body’s job easier. You’ll have less aches and pains, you won’t gain weight, feel tired, or overwhelmed.
3. Get more quality sleep
You want to start your tomorrow with a full tank of energy. When you go to bed after 10pm you're using tomorrow's fuel today. Your deepest and most restorative sleep cycles happen between 10pm and 2am so don’t miss the sleep train. Set a resolve to turn off electronics at a certain time each night. Create a sweet sleeping ritual where you unplug and unwind to arrive in bed by 10pm. If you’re a night owl, move your bedtime 15 minutes earlier (and/or your device shut down time) over a number of weeks, so that you can gradually get used to the change. You’ll know you’ve had enough sleep when you wake feeling well rested and refreshed.
4. Start your day as you intend to go on
Set your alarm clock for 15 minutes earlier than usual. Use this extra time to take 5 deep breaths and feel gratitude (for being alive, for the sheets you’re lying in, for the roof over your head, you get the idea…). When you get out of bed, hydrate with a glass of room temp water – skull it, not sip, to wake up your bowels. Then briskly move your body – 20 mins is all you need before breakfast.
5. Stop drop & breathe
If you catch yourself ‘hurrying and scurrying’, simply stop whatever you’re doing. Drop to the floor or chair and take 10 deep belly breaths. This induces the body’s relaxation response. Your busy mind will resist this, but you’ll be thankful – and calm – once you do.
When you choose to follow your body’s natural rhythm, you’ll sleep more soundly and wake with a clear mind and an energised body, ready to greet each day. Don’t take my word for it though. Try these and see.
Simple is about choosing progress over perfection. Committing to healthy habits for 7 days a week is a tall order. Try one or more of these tips for a few days each week and notice how you feel. Your body will thank you for it.
While you're at it, why not make your 2019 about small and simple everyday changes rather than big lofty goals? Get clear on the experiences that matter most to you and your family this holiday period. That way it’s much easier to say YES to that which aligns with your values, and say no to whatever distracts or detracts you from them.
If these are skills worth cultivating to you, we should talk. This is the kind of thing I LOVE helping people do differently. In my Good Change 11-week course we gradually build our kit of healthy habits so that when crazy times roll around, we weather the storm without sacrificing our well-being. If you want in on this for 2019, please get in touch.