8 Tips To Help You Stay Well This Holiday Season
Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la! It’s that time of year again, the time to share love, gifts, and holiday cheer! As you can see, I absolutely love this season. Partially because of the delicious food, but mostly because it tends to draw people together. Last week, I was in Toys“R”Us shopping for gifts for work and unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of the anxiety that comes along with searching for the right toy in a place with a gazillion toys. My perfectionist tendencies didn’t help much, keeping me in the store for hours trying to find the best toy for each child with the best online review on a non-profit program budget! Before I knew it, I rushed to the front of the store in search for snacks. I needed some sugar right away! Ignoring the possible stomach ache that would result from consuming them, I skipped over all the healthy snacks and settled for a can of Pringles and a bag of Airheads. As I settled my nerves and continued shopping, I thought about some of the factors that could potentially affect our wellness this time of year. This encouraged me to share eight tips that could help us stay well not just physically, but holistically this holiday season.
- Give back to your community: Make time this holiday season to donate to a toy give-a-way, provide warm clothing to the homeless, or clean the dishes for the tired cook at your family's gathering. Environmental wellness is very important to our overall well being. It helps to build a healthier world around us, while affirming us as well.
- Invest quality time with the ones you love: Naturally, most people will be with family and friends during the holiday, but I challenge you to spend not just time, but quality time. Choose to be present! Often when we're on break from work or school, we are physically with family, but our minds are on other things, social media, our new year's resolutions, our day after Christmas shopping lists. Social wellness keeps us fruitful. It’s impossible to be fruitful (grow) without developing meaningful relationships with others. If being present is not an issue for you, choose to invite someone who would be spending the holiday alone to your home. Cultivate new relationships!
- Share Joy: Some people are required to work during the holiday. If that’s you, I challenge you to share joy. As much as you might want to be at home with your loved ones (trust me i’ve been there), choose to bring joy into your job and experiences with customers. While at work, choose to focus on your work/work environment. Nothing happens by chance and God may want to use you right where you are! We all sometimes find ourselves in less than ideal job circumstances, but when it comes to occupational wellness, you may have to bring what's lacking until your situation changes.
- Spend Smart: I may be a little too late with this one, but do your best to spend within your means. Financial wellness is about understanding the uniqueness of your financial situation and properly managing what you have. Try to focus less on spending money and more on spending time this year. If you can’t afford to buy all your cousins and their children a gift, be creative! Do a Pinterest search for DIY Christmas gifts. You will be thankful you did this when the New Year rolls around.
- Give your brain a workout: Spend some of your down time reading a book you’ve wanted to read all year but never had time to. Choose to play a mentally stimulating game with your family rather than watching TV all day. Intellectual wellness helps to keep our brain functioning properly and keeps us progressing and cultivating!
- Do your body justice not harm: Be sure to get lots of rest! Take sometime to chill. I can’t stress this enough. Many of the other aspects of physical wellness hinges on something simple as being well rested. When it comes to the holiday meals, portion control should be your best friend. Try eating a tablespoon of all your favorite desserts instead of 2-3 slices of each. This way you still get to taste everything without undoing your wellness progress. For fitness, make it fun and include some of your family members. Ladies purchase Black Girls Workout Too and have a workout night. Make it fun!
- Choose a healthy lens- The holiday has the potential to bring out the best in people, but unfortunately, it tends to also bring out the worst. Stress and lack of resources lead people into crazy and sometimes harmful situations. We deal with increase accidents, violence, and with loneliness and depression lurking around, high rates of suicide. Emotional wellness has everything to do with perspective. We can choose to acknowledge our feelings, but not allow them to rule us. We can choose to view situations through a lens of love, love for ourselves and love for others. Tips 1 and 2 can help with this.
- Reflect on what matters: Make time to reflect on the reason for the season and that's to celebrate the birth of Christ. Many many years ago, God gave us a Savior to be all that we need and more. The seven tips mentioned above are all centered around this one, our spiritual wellness. Fixing our eyes (all that we are) on the true reason for Christmas will help to sustain, position us, and essentially motivate us to pursue wellness in every other area of our lives. Just thinking about the goodness of Jesus and that we are alive (and well) to see another Christmas should help to put things into perspective.
I've never seen the full version of the movie " How The Grinch Stole Christmas," but recently I researched the original ending of the 1966 film. I believe it's the perfect way to end this post. After the grinch had stolen all the gifts from Whoville, he waited for the response of the people. He was ready to take joy in the sadness he had inflicted on the people, BUT what he realized was..."this sound wasn’t sad. This sound sounded glad…singing without any presents at all. He didn’t stop Christmas from coming. It came! How can it be so? It came just the same. It came without ribbons. It came without tags, without packages boxes or bags. He puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas, he thought... doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more!" And it does. So enjoy the true beauty of the holiday season and LIVE WELL.