Whole Life Magazine

December 2017 / January 2018

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Page 13 of 35

healthy living H oliday months can be rife with expectations that we are supposed to feel and be a certain way. These might include pressure to give the perfect gifts, host an impeccable holiday party, or be immersed in multiple gatherings of loving friends and family. But what if we don't feel "jolly" and joyful? What if we don't have family or friends to celebrate a usual holiday tradition, or even if we do, we fi nd family dynamics stressful or unpredictable? Holiday stress and overwhelm can lead us to overeat at times to the point of discomfort in our bodies, or leave us feeling lonely, sad, or anxious. The following tips can help transform your holiday experience. Let Go of Expectations. Rather than focusing on sweetening your holiday times with what you feel you should do, let go of personal and cultural expectations and make this a celebratory time with your unique stamp. Wipe your palette clean and paint exactly what you'd like to see on it and what is meaningful to you. Consider im- portant family traditions or gatherings that you'd like to honor and keep, while creating new ones. Connect to Your Values. In this darker time of year, the concept of bringing in light can be found in many cul- tural and religious traditions. Refl ect upon what light means for you. What brings warmth to your spirit? How do you re- charge? Is it attending gatherings with family or friends? Or is this a time to go inside, refl ect, journal, meditate, and set your intentions for the new year? Maybe it's a time to get cre- ative. You might focus on generosity, giving to others, volun- teering to help with a food bank, or delivering holiday meals. Refl ect on your own unique recipe of activities for this time of year; consider the ingredients you want to fi ll your life with and the impact you wish to have on others. Take Time to Recharge. It's easy to succumb to feel- ing like you must have lots of plans, perhaps saying yes to everything, yet ultimately feeling overwhelmed. Our bod- ies most thrive on periods of activity and rest. Make sure to schedule some relaxing activities and down time to simply be. Conversely if you don't have a lot on your plate, you can feel sad or anxious. This might be a time to recharge in other ways. Seek out new personal connections through communi- ty events, reconnect with old friends, volunteer to help those in need, or offer spiritual nourishment to others through car- oling or creating your own meaningful rituals. Savor Your Moments. Sweeten your holidays with the gift of being present. Savor and marinate in all the little special moments, rather than letting them pass right by. Actively create your moments the way you'd like them to be. Happiness researchers tell us it's the sum of the lit- tle moments that lead to happiness, not the big life events or vacations. Notice with all your senses the delicious smells of holiday foods, the warmth and laughter shared with friends and family, the still- ness of a walk in nature. Try savoring your food in this way. You might enjoy more, but eat less, over the holidays! Nourish from the Inside Out. Elicit gratitude for those little moments. Call upon what you are grateful for when you wake up each morning. Practice offering kindness to yourself and others. Connect to the wellspring of love and kindness inside of you. The holiday spirit can be found within. You don't have to chase it outside or succumb to someone else's idea of what this time of year should look like! Enjoy painting your new holiday canvas from the inside out and the outside in. Andrea Lieberstein, MPH, RDN, RYT is the bestselling author of Well Nourished: Mindful Practices to Heal Your Relationship with Food, Feed Your Whole Self, and End Overeating. She is a mind- fulness-based dietitian who leads retreats and trainings interna- tionally. Visit www.yourwellnourishedlife.com 5 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress By Andrea Lieberstein SWEETEN YOUR HOLIDAYS WITH DEEPER NOURISHMENT NEXT ISSUE February / March "HEART TO HEART" Living and Loving in LA Ad Space Reservation: 1/19 Ad Artwork Due: 1/24 On the Street: 2/1 310.425.3056 sales@wholelifemagazine.com 14 wholelifetimes.com

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