Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Holidays...

When things in our family get a little tense, which (let's be honest) is common around the holidays, we walk around the house singing "happy holidays" with only minimal traces of sarcasm .. It's become a bit of an inside joke at this point, but it serves as a good reminder for what we really are all trying to get out of the season.

The holidays can come with a lot of pressure, there are gifts to buy and wrap, cookies to make, stocking to stuff,  cards to send out (and I'm not even in charge of my own household!). I thought class and clinic were bad enough, but I'm almost to the point where I would prefer to be back at school already! (Okay that might be a BIT of an exaggeration).

The point is there is a lot of work that goes into creating holiday magic, and it's worth it to take a time out for yourself. The following are my top 5 tips for having a fit and fabulous holiday season.

One: Water

You may find yourself feeling a little more sluggish throughout the coming days, and I'd bet my Christmas socks that dehydration is the culprit. Between dry winter skin, overindulgence in holiday "spirits" and the never ending trays of Christmas cookies, your body is probably more than a little dried out. As soon as you feel the tiredness hit pull out a big glass of H2O and drink it down. If you're feeling crazy have two :) I promise it will help get you back on your feet in no time.

Two: Yoga

If you've never been here before this will be new to you, but everyone else here knows how much I love my daily (okay fine multi-weekly) yoga sessions. I left you the link to one of my favorite video classes above, and I swear by it when I'm having a bad day. Whether my head is spinning, my body is aching, or I just haven't had enough sleep 5 minutes of Sun Salutations followed by the video above leaves me feeling recharged and ready to take on whatever may come my way.

Three: Mindful eating

Food-centric holidays are always hard for those of us with food allergies, even the most well meaning relatives can accidentally contaminate us at a party (and let's be honest given the choice no one really prefers a plate of gluten free cookies). The beauty of food allergies and intolerances however, is that they force mindful eating on us whether we like it or not. When you're surveying the appetizers for errant cracker crumbs you become aware of the beautiful colors and smells of the vegetable platter and the Reuben dip.   When you only get one or two cookies at a party you take the time to appreciate the texture and flavor of those individual cookies.

I challenge those of you who are not forced into a state of mindfullness when eating to take a moment to bring it upon yourself this holiday season. So often we walk away from the holiday table stuffed to exhaustion, but with only minimal recognition of what we just ate. A moment of reflection can help you reconsider those holiday treats you love to gorge yourself on (I'm looking at you Aunt Mary's toffee!) and force you to savor and enjoy a single piece instead of an entire batch.

Four: Family

Sometimes the pressure to make everything "perfect" ends up causing us to be short and cranky with those we should be appreciating the most. The key here is to take the focus off perfection (as I'm often tempted to remind my mom no one actually lives in those beautiful magazine rooms) and put it back on your family and friends. The holidays are a time to reconnect with those we've lost touch with, share a moment with those we cherish most and just be in the moment embracing our lives for all that they are worth.

As we were so cruelly reminded last weekend life can be tragically cut short in briefest of moments, so before you lose your temper with those you love most, stop and consider maybe giving them a hug instead (it's always the right choice).

Five: Fun

Believe it or not the holidays are supposed to be a fun time. Yes, maybe you put on a pound or two in cookies before Christmas eve. Or maybe your bank account is looking a little slim before you have a chance to get everyone a gift. Maybe your family is spread out and can't all be together for the holidays...

Not one of those should stop you from embracing the season to it's fullest potential. Weight can be watched by indulging mindfully. Handmade gifts can be just as heartfelt (and cute) as the ones you get at the store. Between webcams, Skype, Ipads and facetime there is no excuse to not be able to see your family and friends for at least a quick hello (worst comes to worst you could actually CALL them too...).

So sit by the tree with some hot chocolate (Bailey's is totally optional). Put on your coziest Christmas socks and your loudest Christmas sweater. Wrap all your presents like they came from the fanciest of stores. Play in the snow, kiss your loved ones under the mistletoe and sing carols at the top of your lungs. If you can't do it now when can you?

Happy Holidays, from my crazy wonderful family to yours :)

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