A Gift for Yourself
The holiday season is in full swing around here! Gifts are being bought. Our house is glittered out. The UPS man is a frequent visitor. My sweet tooth is getting sweeter. And the kids have watched about all the Christmas shows that are available.
I, like many of you, often find myself being a little more lenient with things as the holidays get closer. We all stay up later. The sweets are more abundant, and my credit card number is memorized. I purchase and eat food that I normally would never consider. The kid's extended amount of screen time is something I don't dare admit. And I have a tendency to want to try or buy all the latest and greatest, because 'tis the season, right? Or, I tell myself, I'll get back on track next month.
The holiday season is certainly meant to be enjoyed, but overindulging leaves you feeling frustrated, sick, guilty, or just plain unsatisfied. These are some keys I intend to focus on, to be sure I truly do get the most out of this wonderful time of year.
Get your sleep! Did you know sleep is one of the biggest factors that contributes to your health. It's true. Getting a good solid 7-8 hours of sleep each night can do wonders for your energy levels, immune system, weight loss/gain, exercise performance/recovery, and mood. These are all good reasons to turn out those lights a little earlier and hit your pillow.
For my family, we find especially on the weekends that we're excited to hang out with friends, play games, relax, and enjoy ourselves. Sleep often takes the back seat, and we're left feeling groggy and tired as Monday rolls around and we're back to our normal schedule. It's something we need to continue working on!
By eating real, I mean, eat real food--more fruits and vegetables, more meats and dairy. Do your best to avoid processed foods and excess sugar. Now, I'm not saying to eliminate it all together, because of course there are those seasonal treats you can't go without. I'm saying be more mindful of what your body needs, and often it's that artificial stuff that leaves us feeling bloated, full, and just plain miserable.
One of the best bits of advice I've heard regarding this is if you know you have plans for the evening (a party, dinner out, or making cookies), do your best to fill up your day prior with as much clean eating and protein as you can. Especially because most dinner spreads and desserts will be higher in fat and carbohydrates (which is also good for your body, just in moderation!).
This could mean setting boundaries around what activities and parties you choose to commit to, or setting limits on your spending so you don't go into debt this holiday season. It could even be telling yourself you can have one cookie rather than the whole batch. (Okay that one's mainly for me!) Having a limit that you set for yourself gives you more control over your circumstances. And when you are in control, you make better choices.
I'm also going to make the point that, given this crazy time of life--as in a global pandemic looming about us--now more than ever, say no. If there's something going on that you're not quite comfortable with, for heaven's sake, follow your mommy intuition and do what's best for your family! I'm talking about those extended family gatherings and the traditional gingerbread house-making contests. If you feel like you'd be best off not attending, you're probably right, and setting that boundary beforehand makes it easier when the occasion arises.
If you slip up, go over on your gift allowance, or maybe the cookie dough never makes it into cookies. It's okay! That's right, you heard me, it's totally fine! One little detour off the road doesn't mean the whole journey is a lost cause, which tends to be the mentality. Of course, it's easier to quit than to keep pursuing a healthy goal, but easier isn't always better, and certainly isn't living up to your best self.
Stand up, dust yourself off, and recommit to the next meal, the next shopping trip, the next night. We all find ourselves in situations we aren't proud of. That's part of being human and finding fulfillment in our human experience. But as I like to tell my kids when they've done something neither of us are overly proud of, you can stay where you are and keep digressing or just man-up and keep on working!
Keep on working. It's always worth it. Your compassion for yourself is always worth it.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years--let's be honest, it's the time of year we all look forward to the most! So don't let your fear of staying out too late or eating a tad too much ruin the moment. Life is to be enjoyed, so enjoy the heck out of it!
So mamas, as you're out and about running your errands and feeding your family, take some time for yourself. Make sure you're treating yourself with the care and love you deserve. Especially during this holiday season!