Creating Happy and Healthy Holidays 2015

Repeated by popular demand… 

As the year comes to a close, many of us have the opportunity to celebrate the holiday season with friends and family. It can be a time of connecting, sharing, and enjoying the gifts of life.

Well, it’s the season again! And how the year has flown by with its ups and downs, life experiences beginning and ending, children evolving, beauty, tears, and soul! And now we open ourselves to the joys of this season, to being alive and sharing that life with those we love.

Over time I have appreciated simple tips that can help me remember how to stay on course with my health priorities during this busy and fun time of year.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Simplify and downsize your holiday expectations, do that which is meaningful and avoid a sense of obligation as the reason to do anything.
  • Spend time at events and do activities with people you REALLY enjoy.
  • Set healthy boundaries; graciously say “Thanks, but my plate is already full.”
  • Keep up your daily exercise (even just walking). It’s great for managing stress, burning up extra calories, and helping to digest foods that you may not be used to eating.
  • Set aside a daily 5-minute minimum time to quiet your
  • mind. And remember, it may take more than that if you feel stressed.
  • Eat a good breakfast and small meals and snacks regularly during the day, especially on the day of a party, including right before you go – particularly protein! It helps avoid overindulging on things that are not very healthy.
  • Be the person who takes healthy foods to parties – roasted vegetables, flax crackers and hummus, fresh fruit, Kale chips – and fill your plate with those first.
  • Limit alcohol intake – substitute pomegranate juice and sparkling water. Always consume alcohol with food, a meal, or at least some cheese.
  • Eat a healthy protein (nuts, cheese, a slice of turkey, an egg) when you eat carbohydrates (sugar, breads & baked goods, pastas, alcohol).
  • Choose foods you really like to eat and take time to savor them – remember, it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you are full.
  • Be mindful while you eat, and share the pleasant experience and abundance with others.
  • Plan events into your schedule that feed your soul: Take a walk around the lake, sit with a loved one by the fire, enjoy the holiday lights, do a special holiday activity/tradition with the young children, listen to your favorite songs of the season, play holiday music with friends…

Giving creates positive effects in our minds and bodies that opens our hearts to others and the world.

Our time, attention, smiles of understanding and support, a hug, and other simple things we all can give – these can often be the greatest gifts when given from a heart of love.

May your season be blessed with the gifts of giving and receiving from your own heart of love!

Jane Kennedy, CFNP, MN, MPH

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