Ram Dass really hits the nail on the head with this quote. The Holidays can be one of the most stressful, depressing and challenging times of the year for a lot of people (myself included). It’s easy to feel the massive cultural conditioning at play: spend more money on gifts, take time to visit with family you may or may not want to see and indulge in all kinds of unhealthy, traditional Holiday foods. Without the right tools in place to keep yourself balanced, you can lose your cool pretty quickly. Next thing you know, you’re starting the New Year feeling like a giant pile of crap. Call me crazy, but I don’t think you have to be doomed to the post-Holidays blues!
I’ve survived countless Holidays and successfully managed my stress, sanity, emotional balance and overall well-being throughout the Winter. And I’m going to share with you how I’ve done it, year after year.
Behold! My super-easy-doable Top 10 Healthy Holiday Survival Tips:
Think about gifts in a different way
It’s easy to feel massively pressured to spend a lot of money on presents for family and friends. There are gifts that don’t require a fat bankroll… but come from the heart instead. Writing someone a beautiful, framed poem, painting them a picture, offering to cook them a delicious meal, or supporting them with a new project – these are all money-free gifts that show someone you deeply care for and appreciate them.
Be prepared with portable foods
Schedules can get even more hectic during the Holidays. Shopping with huge crowds, crazy traffic, wacky weather and intense work projects to close out the year are all major time killers. Instead of getting stuck being “hangry” while you’re in the midst of the chaos – pack some portable foods in your car like fresh fruit, granola bars or a protein shake.
Choose healthy comfort food recipes for gatherings
Nobody wants seaweed salads, wheatgrass shots and noni fruit coladas in December. Nobody. So, instead of alienating your friends and family with weird “hippie foods” they’ve never seen before, stick with things like roasted brussels sprouts, gluten-free mac n’ cheese, chestnut squash dip or a dairy-free eggless nog. You know, things they’ll recognize right away and actually want to try.
Remember to move your body
Wintertime, in general, creates a hibernation mode in a lot of people. All you want to do is curl up on the coach under 5 blankets with a warm chowder in hand. But trust me, if you don’t exercise on the daily, it’s going to be that much harder to start the New Year with a bang. Make time for 45 minutes of exercise each day – whether it’s body weight resistance training, yoga, stretching, jump rope, TRX, snowshoeing – whatever your pleasure, stick with it daily and you’ll be ahead of the inevitable January fitness craze.
Get started on the New Year early
Every December, I reflect on my accomplishments, challenges and lessons from the year. And I use them as a guide – as fuel – for charting the course for the New Year. Spend time contemplating your aims and goals, then use them to create an action plan for the coming year. Think big, dream big and keep your eye of the prize here. It’s your time to envision the life you want to create and how you’re going to manifest it.
Stay mentally balanced
Anxiety can creep in before you know it. With temperatures dropping and more people staying inside, the Holidays can create feelings of isolation and separation. Mentally, it’s important to stay positive and alert. Using natural supplements such as gingko biloba, mucuna pruriens (an Ayurvedic herb), algae-based omega 3-fatty acids and B-vitamin complex can help boost your mood and keep your brain happy. Remember that your brain is comprised of over 80% fat, so eating healthy, plant-based fats will not only provide extra energy, but also feed your glorious gray matter.
Get your daily dose of Vitamin D
Overcast skies. Gray days. Forecast calls for 9 inches of the white, powdery stuff. Not exactly the environment to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. If you live in a frozen, snowy locale, it’s even more critical that you get healthy doses of D during the Holidays. The lack of sunshine on your skin makes this challenging, but not impossible. I’m a big fan of Living Libations transdermal Vitamin D cream, which is a fantastic, all-natural topical cream that you can use daily. Check out their products here (they’re a lifesaver for my Midwestern and Canadian friends in the Winter): Living Libations Natural Body Care
Start a daily gratitude journal
While I was battling clinical depression, I started a daily gratitude journal that I would write in every night before bed. The Holidays can be full of expectations and hurt feelings (especially when people feel entitled to certain gifts or attention). Buy a blank writing journal and, every night, pick one person/thing/situation that you’re grateful for and write 10 specific reasons WHY you’re grateful for that thing. It’s amazing how powerful and heart-centering this practice can be.
Forgive someone in your life
This one may not be so easy – I’m just letting you know in advance. Especially when it comes to family or friends who have hurt us, let us down or who haven’t apologized for something hurtful they’ve done. But the greatest gift you can give yourself is to learn to let go of the hatred, anger, pain and feelings of retribution you feel towards someone in your life. These toxic emotions can create massive stress in your body and lower your immune system. Find a way to meditate on compassion, forgiveness and letting go of your grievances with loved ones this Holiday season.
Get clear on your needs vs. wants
It’s really easy to get caught up in the “what’s in it for me” trip during the Holidays. Understandably so, given the constant push in the media to “buy, buy, buy” new things. I like to be a bit contrarian during this season of shopping and ask “what do I really need?” Often, what I need to do is donate clothing, sell things I don’t use or give my time to friends in need. And the strange thing is… I actually get more joy from giving than I do receiving these days. Focus on how you can get out of a materialistic mindset and shift into a generosity consciousness.
Now, if you are already reeling from feeling stressed out, anxious or depressed this season, I have something that may help you. I just made my livestream workshop recording for “Out of the Darkness: How to Conquer Depression and Reclaim Your Spark” available in both video and audio formats. This 2 1/2 hour workshop addresses many life strategies and tips on how to navigate feelings of depression, anger, judgement, pain and overwhelm. You can also pre-order my new ebook which covers the same subject matter in more detail: http://www.jasonwrobel.com/shop/courses/
I believe in you. You can do this. When you commit to a solid game plan to make it through the Holidays with clarity, energy, health, joy and compassion toward yourself and your loved ones – the love and positive energy you create will be nothing short of amazing!