I know it seems early but the holidays really are right around the corner. My friend, Brandy Hickman of Living Light with Brandy Lane, has some useful tips to help you find joy this season with a more simplistic healthy holiday. – Pamela

Is your calendar full and your to-do list too long? Are you trying to survive but feel like you are just keeping your head above water? Is calmness at your house during the holidays realistic? Or is it filled with chaos and busyness?

All the activities and gatherings around the holidays can be fun but they can also bring quite a bit of stress, overindulgence, and fatigue. Taking time to nourish and care for yourself becomes increasingly important. Read these Guiding Principles to reduce stress and be calmer, healthier, and more joyful during this time of year.

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Sleep – Restoring your body is the most important principle, especially during this month. Racing to get everything done every day is not going to serve your mind, body, or soul. Restorative Sleep is essential to our immunity, our ability to focus and remember, achieving a healthy weight, safety, and overall well-being.

Slow Down– This goes right along with sleep. Remembering to slow down is the most important thing we can do for our digestion. When your body is in stress mode (i.e. “fight or flight”), your digestive system is turned off. Nutrients can’t get in, and toxins can’t leave the body. Holidays move at such a fast past that they seem to go by without us enjoying them. Instead of being a proud multi-tasker, try being a single-tasker, and be present. Try and schedule less this season. When you are eating, literally slow down by chewing more with each bite. When you are stressed, remember to breathe.

Being Present– The best present you can give yourself is being present. It is not enough to slow down, but you also need to be mindful of whatever you are doing whenever you are doing it. Try not to think about what has already happened, what you need to do, and what could happen. Stay in the moment. Being Present includes all the emotions it might bring with it. Yes, you may have some feelings that might be a disappointment, but if we are not present, we will miss all the joy.

Acknowledge How You Feel and Ask For Your Needs– Recognize your feelings as they come up. A mentor of mine once gave the analogy of being a nurse and charting a situation. Observe it, but don’t analyze it or judge it. Remember not to analyze or judge yourself. Recognize how something makes you feel and ask for what you need. Be very clear in these situations. Remember that others have the choice to either meet or not meet your needs, but that does not mean you don’t ask.

Be Authentic – You can be real without being rude. If you are true to yourself, it will come across as loving. If you are not sure what authenticity is for you, this is the perfect time of the year to reflect and start. Not being your true authentic self is about self-doubt, worry, comparing yourself to others. It is more about being a chameleon. It is about the fear of being disliked or judged. “It takes courage to grow up and become who you are”. – E.E. Cummings

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Learn to Say No – When you practice saying no, you to start to understand how healthy, healing, and powerful it can be. One no at a time will build confidence and help you continue. You are the least authentic when you don’t want to do something, but you say yes anyway. Saying no will help you slow down because you will be spending your time doing the things that you want to do. Be real, not rude. You can say no in a loving way.

Setting Boundaries–Figure out how to set your boundary. When you recognize that you are stressed or overwhelmed by a situation or person, you will need to write down how you want to set the boundary. Know yourself well enough to recognize and acknowledge your feelings when someone crosses your boundaries. Maybe you need to figure out how to tell the person involved, or maybe you know the person will not receive the information. I call these silent boundaries. This type of boundary works too. Stay grounded, whether you speak it or not. Do not feel guilty and take care of yourself. You will slowly learn that each time you follow through with a boundary, you will have more confidence to do this for yourself more often.

Healthy Eating– With all the food offered around the holidays, eating “healthy” can be difficult. If you are going to choose something, make it the best quality of food you can. Is it real, fresh, organic, and homemade? Choose the best. No fake or fast food. Remember to keep it simple and light. Have food around your home that is healthy. Try and stay away from the munchies at a party. Bring your healthy food to every party and family gathering. Be known for bringing super yummy, healthy holiday fare. People do appreciate it.

Plan Ahead– Whether you are eating at home, traveling, eating out, or going to holiday parties, it is important to plan. Set your intentions ahead of time by looking up a menu or taking coolers when you travel by car. Schedule your weeks out far enough in advance that you are not overwhelmed. Are you over scheduled this week? If you are, then do not do a few things. Plan ahead for downtime in December.

Keep it Simple– For the entire month of December, try to have simplicity as your main word every day. When you plan, set boundaries, sleep well, slow down, eat healthy, say no, and are mindful, you will be living simply. Negotiate what parties and family gatherings you can attend. Don’t feel obligated to give everyone gifts. Remember to take time for yourself. My favorite is to delegate some things. You don’t have to do everything. Be in Gratitude and love.

Do you need additional support for the holidays? Brandy is hosting a six week Healthy Holidays support group. Ground yourself and find support in the shared Facebook group with others who are seeking the same guidance. At the end of the six weeks, set your New Year intentions together in a virtual video event. Click HERE to learn more.

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