What follows is the text of my first ever radio blog. Courtesy of Nadine Davis and her empowering work with Life's Uncertain Journey, I will be sharing monthly on BlogTalkRadio. Join her every week and me, the first Tuesday of the month.
Thank you, Nadine, for inviting me to be on your show—this is a new world to me! I am excited to share something very appropriate for this time of year: tips to navigate the holidays with a calm mind and happy belly.
My first tip is to get clear about what your goals are for the holidays in terms of your health. Get really clear. I’m talking about mindfulness. I’m talking about prayer. There is so much busyness around us during this season, really from the end of October into January, that it is easy to get swept up by the excitement and carried away by all the distractions. Come back to your center. Get clear about what your goals are for the holidays in terms of your health. When we pass into the New Year, what do you want your holidays to have been like? Do you have articulated goals or intentions? If you haven’t, take a few minutes in prayer and meditation, or spend a few minutes journaling. How do you want to feel during the rest of this season? What will make you feel good to look back on? Are there things you are avoiding—a particular relationship, health matter, or financial situation, for instance, that may come out as eating and drinking more than you really want to? I know, for me, if I’m anxious or avoiding, I tend to overeat…I want to stuff the feelings down. So I know I must ground myself with mediation and prayer. I read a great quote once that every day we would do well to begin with 30 minutes of prayer and meditation, but on extra busy days, we should do twice that. Oh my. Extra prayer when I’m extra busy?! That is a tall order. The point is something we have all experienced: when we take the time to settle into our souls, our lives work more smoothly.
So, Mindfulness, check.
When get clear about our goals no matter how crazy things may be around us we can be the quiet in the midst of the storm. We can make sane choices when it comes to spending money and eating food so that we can enjoy what we really want to focus on at our gatherings and parties: connecting with other people. This is what really feeds us, isn’t it? It isn’t really the food or the stuff. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I know for me, I can get super nervous in a new situation and it’s easy to look to the food to calm myself—or at least make me look occupied if I haven’t got anyone to talk to. How do we get around that?
Here are some of my tricks and a few I’ve picked up around town:
1) Don’t go to a party hungry.
2) Take at least one deep, calming breath before you eat anything at the gathering. Welcome the food or drink into your body as the gift it really is. A gift for the temple that your body really is.
3) Drink your solids and chew your liquids. That is to say, savor each morsel and mouthful.
4) If you don’t really like it, don’t eat it. The children starving in Ethiopia that I heard about when I was a kid, yes, we need to care for those in need, but the food on my plate is not going to help them.
5) Practice really seeing those around you. Look past their outer appearance to who they really are and engage with them in this new, more intentional, way. Connect with folks from a spiritual perspective, instead of a physical one.
6) Stay hydrated with pure water! As the weather gets colder we forget to drink even though the air tends to be drier. Drink half your body weight in ounces. I often warm mine up a bit in the microwave—not hot, like tea, but warm enough to take the chill off. Herbal teas are also hydrating.
7) Keep moving! Walking in the fresh air is rejuvenating and a good way to unwind from festivities. It is also a good way to nurture your soul if you are feeling lonely. Whatever your exercise regimen is, keep it up to the best of your ability.
By following these tips we are letting our bodies know that we care for them. And by caring for our bodies we are letting our Higher Power know that we appreciate this temple we’ve been entrusted with.
I leave you with a quote from The Restart Program: Whatever I eat, I choose it consciously, I enjoy it thoroughly, and I let it go.
Even if we make what we would consider a “bad” decision about our food, drink, or our lack of mindfulness, we are not bad people. We make mistakes, that is one of the joys of being human. Just because I have an extra brownie and feel guilty—or sugar overloaded—does not mean I have to finish off the plate. I am here, as Helen-the-Nutritional-Therapist, to give you a hug and say, Hey, no guilt, no guilt. Enjoy each bite and then, let it go. If you find
you are wanting more and more, reach out to a friend or pause a moment for a prayer and connect with your true Source. What can fill you up better than that?