Holiday Health Tips and Embracing the Rest of 2019
Happy Thanksgiving week! Do you believe that you can actually THRIVE through the holiday season? I'm telling you right now, you CAN! I understand all too well the struggle many people go through during this time, so I want to give you some tips to empower you to take ownership of your body and your thoughts so you can be present and create memories with your loved ones, instead of being consumed by the 'shoulds' and 'shouldn'ts'. It is always the right time to make a change - you CAN make a start on your 2020 health goals NOW.
There are 5 weeks left of 2019, and while it feels like I literally just blinked and the year's gone, there is still time to make a change. We don't have to wait for January 1st! 5 weeks is a decent amount of time to implement some new positive habits to get you on the front foot for your 2020 journey! Imagine actually starting your year off feeling the best you have in a while...imagine the tone that'll set for the rest of your year!
The holidays can be really overwhelming and stressful and a lot of emotions come up. I want to encourage you to be intentional, to be consistent, to embrace what's truly meaningful to you....approach to the holidays by focusing more on your motives, intentions, and mindset, instead of getting stuck in these strict rules we tend to set ourselves.
Here they are - my tips for living healthy during the holiday season and embracing these last 5 weeks of 2019...
1. Use Affirmations And Do The Inner Work
When our souls are filled up with truth, it overflows into other aspects of our life. But when we starve our spirits, we often choose differently or we go off the path that we have been given.
What you give power to has power over you. If you give power to the food at the table, food will have power back over you. Give power to intentionality and being present and conversations with the human beings that you're with. Give power to the one who created you, the one who really has power over your life and who is actually in control.
When you choose what you give your power to, you won't be overcome by the food or the drama or whatever your struggle is in this season. You'll be able to set the tone for yourself and create meaningful experiences. In the difficult times, knowing and accepting that you are being led by the Holy Spirit will bring peace into those scenarios and situations that we sometimes can't feel without Him.
For me specifically, I get up early in the morning, dive into the Word first thing, pray and journal. Even on a holiday. Actually, especially on a holiday. Inner work requires constant communication with God and remembering that He is in control and I am not. When we forget or don't prioritize our time with Christ and express our gratitude, our feelings can lead us astray. During the holiday season, the stress and anxiety and all of the emotions that arise can end up guiding what we put on our plates (or sneak!). We end up feeling sluggish and guilty and like we've ruined whatever progress we've made during the year.
Here are some verses from the Bible that might be great affirmations for you:
Psalm 103:1-5 - "God has filled my life with good things. I can trust him to satisfy me"
Because Thanksgiving and Christmas come around once a year, we feel like we need to eat as much as possible to make the most of it. But no matter how much we eat, it's not going to satisfy us. The more you eat, the more miserable you'll probably feel. Only He can satisfy us. God has filled our lives with good things. We can trust him to satisfy us.
Psalm 18:1 - "The Lord is my rock and refuge. He will be a safe place for me today"
If you are going into this holiday season where you're bouncing around from all these different places and family dynamics, and some of it feels really hard and not peaceful at all, it can be difficult to feel joy in those times. But just remembering that the Lord is your rock and your refuge, and not those places or people, can be so reassuring. You have Him wherever you go, whatever the season looks like.
2 Corinthians 9:8 - "I am equipped for every good deed and lavish with every grace"
There is nothing that you can do or say that makes you unequipped for what God has actually called you to. So just lean into that truth.
2. Journal And Don't Underestimate The Power Of It
I'm so glad that I eventually became open to journaling. There are seasons where structured journaling works best for me and there are seasons where free writing works better. There's no right or wrong and that's the beauty. Some days I actually don't feel like journaling and other days I do. What I can confidently say is that when I DO journal, it impacts my life in some mighty ways! When I've finished a journal, I love to go back and read my entries. It moves me SO much.
My method is nothing fancy. I just show up and write. Sometimes it's conversations and prayers to God. Sometimes it's business ideas. Prayer requests, praises, gratitude, affirmations, all the things that you can think of. All in one place. I use the same journal for my morning routine, for Church, and everything in between because then everything from that season is altogether. It represents everything I'm going through. I don't want to segment all the different parts of my life.
Journal some of the stuff going on for you, especially during the holiday season and really let yourself just feel and let go of things you've been pressing down or keeping in. You can answer questions like "what do the holidays mean for me this year?", "what emotions are coming up in the holidays, how have I handled these emotions in the past, and how did it make me feel?". When you can see how you've handled things in the past, you can choose to do it differently. That's where true change comes from.
Another question you could journal on throughout the next couple of weeks is "how do I want to feel through the holidays this year?". "Do I know how I really want to feel?" If you know how you want to feel and why you want to feel that way, then you're more likely to take action to actually have that experience because you have the clarity.
3. Increase Your Prayer To Increase Your Faith
Invite God into this time if you think you might struggle. Lay these burdens down at the cross, daily. For the rest of the year, lay your burdens down at the cross. It's a daily decision to lay whatever is going on, down.
I've tried to fight the holidays on my own, year after year, and it only led me to end up struggling more. I wasn't ever bringing my issues to God in prayer and letting his Spirit take over. Now when I come to the Lord in prayer with these things, it is so crazy how He shifts my focus. Conversation with God really just reiterates that we are not alone and that there is nothing too big or too small to share with Him. He wants us to thrive in the holidays. He wants us to experience joy. He wants us to be intentional and to come out of 2019 feeling absolutely incredible. I really believe that.
4. The Tangible, Practical Things You Can Do To Help You Thrive
a) Slow down. I don't just mean when you eat either. In general, it's always a good idea to remember to slow down. Especially at this time of the year, it's go, go, go! Everyone is so overwhelmed. There's a lot of pressure. Slow down. Breathe. If you don't get something done, it's not the end of the world. The holidays are about gratitude, being thankful and coming together in fellowship. Remember that. And remember you can say 'no' to things.
b) Tell yourself you are stronger than your emotions and fears. When you are struggling with food or your body, and you're surrounded by treats at work and all the indulgence that's put in front of us during the last weeks of the year, simply tell yourself "I'm stronger than these feelings and these fears" - it will help you make better decisions. If you just keep feeding your brain with fear, it's going to show through your actions.
c) Fill your plate with the good stuff first. Focus on putting the most nourishing foods on your plate first and then just put a little bit of everything else. This way, you'll end up feeling better after the meal...physically and mentally!
d) Remind yourself that memories will last longer than the food in your belly. So, you're sitting there with people you love, but all you're focused on is fighting with yourself..."Should I go get more? Should I go get a second round? Should I get more sweets? I love those things." It's totally OK to go get more food, but just remember, if you're fighting it and it's fighting you back and you can't get these thoughts out of your head, you're not being present. Simply reminding yourself that the memories right there in that moment will last so much longer than that food does in your belly, can help get you out of your head.
e) Take leftovers to people. You don't have to have all this food lying around your house after an event. The temptation can be too much, I get it! You can take any extra food to people who need it, gift it to neighbors, or make plates up for people to take home.
f) Commit to your health before you commit to pleasing people. This goes for anyone from your colleagues to your Grandma. What is your priority? Make it known. We all like to please people, especially close friends and family, but your health HAS TO come first. Without your health, you don't have a lot to offer these people anyway. You're allowed to say 'no'. And if it hurts their feelings, then you can have a conversation with them where you simply tell them how you'll feel if you say 'yes' and what it means to you to say 'no' in this situation. Help them see the bigger picture.
g) Don't try to compensate around holiday meals. Just get back to balanced, nourishing meals that make you feel great as soon as you can. I know so many people who are either starving themselves until the Thanksgiving meal or the next day they're trying to compensate by working out extra long or restricting what they eat. Or both. These are things that I used to do. I know it all too well. But doing this doesn't help you at all, because you're making it harder for yourself to get back on track; you're prolonging what is abnormal. Just get back to your normal routine and eating habits the next day and you'll be good to go.
h) Drink lots and lots and lots of water. This helps with bloating. It helps with digestion. It helps with satiation. It helps with hunger cues. And it helps with inflammation in the body, which there is a lot more of when you're eating high sugar, high processed food.
i) Move your body. Go for a 30-minute walk with someone, get everyone outside to play a game, stretch in the living room, do a quick early morning workout before the days starts (this is what I love to do). You can look up workouts on YouTube or Instagram. I have plenty of free workout options there for you!
Near the end of the year when everything's chaotic, we can often neglect our bodies. I hear people say that the season is just too crazy and too busy that they haven't had time to workout. The truth is, they have been able to. It's just not important enough to them in this season to make it a priority. I'm not saying it's not more difficult and workouts may be harder to get in, but sometimes you just have to get creative. It'll help you so much mentally, physically, and it'll even help your digestion. Stepping away to move your body will release endorphins which will have flow-on effects. I always say that when you move a muscle, something else changes.
Just do the best you can this season. Make the next best decision, and then the next and before you know it, you'll be in a flow.
If you really want to get a leg-up on your health journey, you have until the end of Thanksgiving Day to join the Freedom Method Mentorship Waitlist! The Freedom Method Mentorship is the only way to work with me for health coaching in 2020 - it opens to the waitlist only, on Black Friday! If you join from the waitlist, you'll also get a full FREE month of mentorship for ALL of December. Join now: https://chasingfreedom.lpages.co/waitlist-for-freedom-method-mentorship/.
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If you liked this post, check out episode 75 of my podcast - The Chasing Freedom Show. You can find it on Spotify, iTunes, or SoundCloud. If you love the episode, screenshot and share it with me on social media @trainertanner #chasingfreedom.