By Wendy Brand
Once again, the holidays are upon us. Where did the year go? If you’re like many people this year, your year has gone by quicker than most. Was it the unseasonably warm, early spring, the hotter than normal temperatures, or just the fact that we are busier than we’ve ever been, in spite of technology (which was meant to simplify our lives)?
Now that the holidays are here, we’ll likely have less and less opportunity to just sit back, relax, and take a load off of our aching feet, not to mention less time to exercise, prepare healthy food choices, and, unless you haven’t added anything else to your proverbial plate this year, you are among many who bit off more than they could chew...again.
“So, is there hope for me yet,” you ask? The answer is a resounding, yes! There is always hope, my friend. There are some simple steps to follow to ensure healthy habits during the holidays. Just as with any challenge, you have to know your opponent if you want to come out the winner. You’ll need to know what obstacles may stand in your way and how you can conquer them. These obstacles include time, money, food, exercise, and stress. (If you’re one that doesn’t have these challenges, just do a friend a favor and pass this along to them...and keep up the good work! I’m sure you’re an inspiration to those around you.)
So, let’s start with time. Time management is a multibillion dollar industry. Folks have struggled with it since its inception. In fact, the holidays are usually when calendars, new year planners, and systems of time management are bought and given as gifts, either to others, or for ourselves. Try this on for size: look at your current calendar and prioritize it. Decide if everything in it is absolutely mandatory, or is there something(s) you could delegate or pass on, at least for the time being. As much as we’d like to think that we’re indispensable at work, home or other places, there is usually someone who would be willing (and sometimes wants to) fill in for you. But, if you don’t ask for help, you will NOT receive it, so humble yourself and ask.
The second opponent is money—the almighty dollar. There are several opportunities to save financially. One is to put a cap on gift giving, you know...a budget! That’s one of the hardest things to hear when we want to give so much and bless others. But it doesn’t always take money to be a blessing or give a gift. I know for my family, gift giving is difficult for our parents because they’ve been around and know what they want and need, and they usually get it. So we make homemade gifts such as photo collages, scrap books (which can now be done quickly online and are a big deal right now), or video pictures on a flash drive, along with a digital picture frame. Or how about a CD loaded with family memories of past and present loved ones. I don’t know, call me sentimental, but I would love any of these. The point is, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on gift giving to feel good about what you’ve given. Many will be very happy, simply because you are there.
Now, on to one of our biggest opponents (for many at least), food! I think it should stand for Filling Our Overindulgent Desires. You may not know this, but Michigan is now ranked as the fifth fattest state in our nation, according to an article from TIME magazine online, August 15, 2012, with Mississippi being number one and Missouri number ten (maybe it’s an “M” thing!). Food does much for us. It nourishes our body, it gives us comfort when we have emotional needs not being met, it provides jobs for hundreds of thousands, and it can either bring us health, or make us deathly ill. Talk about powerful! But the question is, do you control your food choices, or do they control you? Read closely now, it is possible to pass on seconds, and on desserts. Did you know that desserts is “stressed” spelled backwards? That’s a clue! We’ve got to eat to live, not live to eat. Manage this, and you’ll be surprised how many other areas of your life will finally fall into place. Food only has the control over you that you give it.
On to exercise. We all know this opponent, but when you control your time, money, and food better, this will also fall in to its rightful place in your life. Exercise is vital, especially during the holidays. It gives you energy and exercise is the pump we need to clean out our lymphatic system (our garbage dump) because it doesn’t have a pump of its own. Exercise also helps build muscle, which can boost your metabolism and burn fat up to 24 hours a day! Yes, even while you’re sleeping! Now, hang on, don’t run to the nearest gym just yet, we’ve got one more to go...stress.
We’ve walked through some simple steps to balance our time, food, money, and exercise...but did you know that even if ALL of those are in check, but stress isn’t dealt with, you may be busy rocking, but you won’t get far. Stress contributes to all major diseases and disorders. Stress is inevitable, but how we respond to it will determine how we spend our time, our money, how we eat and whether we choose to exercise; it determines our outcome in life, day by day.
Okay, to wrap it all up in a pretty red package with a big, beautiful bow, here are the basics: Know your opponents, what they’re made of, and then, what YOU’RE made of. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on the goal. Remember, you DO have control over that cookie, not vice versa!
These simple steps can lead not only to a simpler holiday, but a healthier winter, spring, summer and fall.
Give yourself the gift that keeps giving and enjoy. Happy Holidays!
Even as adults we all need time outs. I for one look forward to them after a long day of meetings, sitting all day writing, running errands to keep our household running (semi-)smoothly, or after traveling, whether for business or pleasure. In any case, I think time outs ROCK!
In today's world of, "I'd love to but... (fill it in with any reason why you're too busy, there are oodles of them!)", I often hear people say how they wish they had more time, time to visit, time to just sit and relax, time to watch a movie, time to eat a normal meal at an actual dining room table! Ahhh! Well here's the good news...we ALL have 24 hours in a day, and YOU control it. Although I must admit that even that seems like too little time in a day when I've got so many projects, clients, home to-do lists, and the like. Since we all have the same amount of time in a day, why is it that some can find time to do practically everything on their daily list and still have time to relax or hang out with friends? Why can some run multiple businesses, manage dozens of employees, enjoy healthy family meals around the table, and NOT seem like they're stressed out!!?!! It's because they've learned (perhaps the hard way) that making time for those people and things that matter most to them in life is a MUST. Granted, there are likely to not be too many in that category...but there SHOULD (and CAN) be. It's truly about prioritizing. I'm still working on this one but I'm getting better every day, because I work at it, and I'm intentional about it. In fact, I even schedule it. It, meaning time to do the things most important to me and my family.
Over the past two decades I've come to realize more and more each day just how precious life is and that we are not promised tomorrow. Having gone to far too many funerals of young and old family members and friends, I've realized how precious of a gift each moment is and that I must stop taking it for granted. I never want to look back with regret for not taking care of myself, my family, my clients, and my friends, to the best of my ability and with still leaving time to breathe, to relax and take a time out.
I would only guess that you feel this way also, at least sometimes. If not, you've probably done a great job at managing your schedule. Job well done! You can be proud of yourself. Perhaps now you could share your secret with the rest of us who are still working on it. We'd love to hear how you've found balance in your life.
Here are several ways that I've found work for me when seeking balance in my time and life:
1. I'm forever grateful. My gratitude list is too long to list here, but it includes my faith, my family, my friends, my health, my career, and the time I still have...until, and I schedule it.
2. I've learned to appreciate those around me more and to say so. Sometimes I can take for granted all that I am blessed with in this short life. And since I began sharing my appreciation with my husband for all that he is and does, and with our daughters for how wonderful they are and how very proud of them we are, I've received so much more appreciation in return. Funny how that works, I give and then it comes back to me. That law of sewing and reaping works! :D I've been known to send a card of appreciation to my hubby at work, or to a family member or friend who's always been by my side through thick and thin, or to someone who just really needs a bit of encouragement. And sometimes it's a simple hug. I recently had a friend share with me that she appreciates that I hug her when she's coming in and going out, and that sometimes it's the only hug she gets. It about broke my heart! So give loads of hugs and remember to put your smile on, even when you don't feel like it. You could change someone's life.
3. Managing my emotions has been a challenge, but a very rewarding task to undertake. Our emotions can control us or we can control them. I hope you'll trust me when I say that the latter is much more beneficial for you and everyone around you. ;-)
4. I focus on what I want and move in that direction with my time and resources. I have clearly stated goals and a vision board (or two or three) to aid me in doing so I am very intentional about what I listen to, read, watch, and surround myself with during each day.
5. I get up early to be sure I have time to do the important health related things that keep me energized and going strong, including prayer, personal development, exercise, and going over my schedule. I want to say that I've found this to one of the most important ones, but they're ALL important. :-)
Those are just some of the positive and productive things you can do with your time. There are many options with our daily schedules and routines. Of course it varies for all of us.
You might be thinking, "yeah, that's nice for you, you don't have (to.....!) like I do," and you're right. We all have different paths we've chosen, yes, I said chosen, to walk through and each path leads somewhere different and potentially special...if we're living on purpose. If you are among the multitudes of individuals who has yet to find their purpose, I encourage you to find a mentor, a coach, a friend, or someone who can show you the way to your purpose. It's there, you might just have to look closer. You are a gifted and talented person in your very own way. There is no one else like you on Earth. You are unique and you are special.
My hope for each of you is that you'll give yourself those occasional time outs, and enjoy this journey through life.
Get Happy, Get Healthy!
Health Coach Wendy
I am blessed to be married now for over 30 years! We have two daughters, and I have been in the natural health profession for well over a decade. I've studied health since struggling with health challenges from the age of 13. My passion is to help individuals, families, organizations, and others find balance in life and gain vibrant health.