Mary’s Rules For A Healthy Holiday
- Get Enough Rest: I often run myself down during the holiday just by moving all the time–shopping, wrapping, cooking, and being a perfectionist, expecting everything to run smoothly and create a super-duper memorable holiday for everyone who shares it with me.
- Ask For Help: Before I became really sick with a chronic illness, I never asked for help. I realize that I thought it easier to do things myself because everything would be done the way I wanted it, no questions asked. Once again, perfectionism.Avoid perfectionism and ask for help. People genuinely want to help.
- Start Early: Whether you are having a large crowd for the holiday or just your immediate family, my advice is to start early. Starting early allows you time to rest, focus and enjoy the season. Sometimes we rush through life in such a frenzy to get things done and reach a goal that we miss the journey along the way.
- Remember The Reason For The Season: Stay focused on the reason you celebrate. Doing so will put all the other details into perspective.
- Simple Is Better: Avoid cluttering up your house with too much stuff. We receive so much visual stimulation from television, department stores, and magazines during the holiday that there is an unspoken expectation that our homes should look the same. Garlands, wreaths, candles, trees, lights and tons of holiday trinkets. Simple is always better. When we simplify, we create more opportunity to enjoy simple gifts…family, friends, contemplation, thankfulness and wonder.
- Be Nice To Your Budget: Commercialism tells us that we need to go out and buy, buy, buy. This is not the reason for the season, this does not promote simplicity, and does not help with a tight budget. I find the most meaningful gifts are those that were given from the heart, and took some time to create or think about. Sometimes the gift of just being together with people you love is more than enough.
- Potluck For Gatherings: Whether you are expecting a large crowd or 2-3 people, ask everyone to bring a dish to pass. This is part of the giving and sharing process and makes people feel needed and useful.
- Develop A Holiday Self-Care Routine: Stay on track with exercise–if you do not exercise, the holiday’s are a good time to start, even if you only do it 15 minutes or park your car far away in the parking lot of the mall and walk briskly into the store.
We all have “danger” foods–those which we know are our weakness, those which we know cause us a flare up of some sort or that we eat too much of and end up feeling sick….say “NO” to danger foods.
Do not over indulge. Leave the table once you are full. If you’re worried about getting a second helping of pie, slice yourself a piece and put it away for later.
Make sure that you schedule quiet time/down time for yourself. Use this time for personal renewal. You will have much more energy to share with others when you feel rested and renewed.
Sometimes I think it is strange that while so much has changed in our society, women often still carry an internal social norm that we are responsible for making everything perfect during the holiday–cooking, cleaning, decorating, baking, shopping, etc. Carrying the weight of creating perfect scenarios to bring people joy and happiness often comes at the cost of our own health and well-being. I realize that we do it because we love doing it, but faith helps us to have balance in all things. This season, remember the simple gifts of love, laughter and togetherness are the most important. By practicing balance in all things, you will stay healthy and happy for your family.
Being sick for a long time made me take a closer look at the things that are important to me and also reach out for help, which in turn makes people feel needed and valued. I hope you will do the same.