We all know how the holidays can disrupt or derail the best efforts to pray often, eat well & move more (aka exercise). Sending cards, decorating, extra cooking or baking, time with family, friends, co-workers, spending time volunteering, shopping, cleaning….You get the picture.
It all takes time. For many of us, that means our own self care takes a back burner.
All those holiday get-togethers are usually laden with foods that don’t serve our bodies well and those all day family celebrations don’t leave a lot of time to move your body. There can also be a lot of tension, differing views, hard feelings as well as sadness & grief, especially if you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one.
It can be stay on track and make sure you are doing what you need to recharge so you can keep giving of your best, healthiest self.
Here are my top 10 ways to ensure I do pray, eat & move during the holidays.
Infuse God into Everything
Choose to see God and give thanks to him for the people in your life. Remember why you are doing all these things. To celebrate and give thanks for God’s blessings, especially the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ! This precious gift God gave us in Emmanuel – God is with us. When you infuse God into everything you do, keep him #1 in your life, everything else seems to fall into place.
Free 21 Day Advent Calendar Challenge
In less than 15 minutes a day you can calm your body, mind & spirit to really connect with God & prepare your heart for Jesus. Each day you’ll receive an email with a link to a short (5-7 minute) scripture-based guided mediation with a journaling prompt and scripture verse to help you keep God at the forefront of your thoughts throughout the day. Click here to learn more!
By taking less than a minute every evening to jot down 3 things I was thankful for or brought me joy throughout the day helps fill my bucket with Fruits of the Holy Spirit. It helps me to keep the focus on him and fall asleep in his peace instead of all the things that maybe didn’t go so well that day and I tend to ruminate on as I try to fall asleep.
This is another evening practice that helps me fall asleep (and stay asleep). Writing down a loose schedule or To-Do List of sorts gets all that stuff out of my head so it’s not floating around up there saying, “Julie! Don’t forget to ___________!” over & over & over again. I get more done when I jot it down, because I don’t forget as much. It allows me to make time to move my body, too. Something that seems to take a back burner when life gets busy. I also like to review it at the end of the day, celebrate those successes and give thanks to God for all I did accomplish.
Real, Whole Food
We all know what kinds of foods & beverages are served at those holiday parties. Choose foods that are as close to natural as possible – not doused in cream of whatever soup. Offer to bring something like green beans with bacon & onions or almond slivers instead of green bean casserole. You could bring a relish tray, meat & cheese tray or fruit tray to ensure you can fill up on foods that will allow you to eat well. You can also choose to drink more plain water or citrus-infused water. Your body will thank you later!
There are SOOOO many good foods out there. Many of them associated with this time of year. If you really want to eat party potatoes, pecan pie or Christmas candy – do it! But do it mindfully. Take a smaller portion & savor every bite. Thanking God for all the goodness in it and the hands that made it. When it’s no longer enjoyable, set it down and focus on the people you’re spending time with. Or if you’re by yourself, focus on the people & other blessings in your life instead of the food.
Hauling boxes out of storage, decorating, vacuuming, sweeping, preparing guest rooms, dusting and all the things are amazing ways to move your body! You can also get some good prayer time in as you think about why you’re doing this – to celebrate Christ’s birth and connect with family & friends.
Some health experts say sitting is the new smoking. Just standing more is an excellent way to move your body. I find there’s a lot of opportunity to stand at social events and other family get togethers. Helping get the food out, cleaning up, doing the dishes, just standing as you talk to others.
Family Game or Walk
Not all get-togethers lend themselves to this, but family noon meals are an excellent opportunity to get outside and go for a walk, start a game of soccer, basketball or tag-football. Even if it’s cold & snowy out, a quick walk around the block will invigorate you. You might be surprised at who will join you if you ask and you might just start a new family tradition!
Let Go & Let God
Many of us fall into the Super Woman Trap. Thinking we have to do it all, make it all perfect, do it ourselves or we’re not good enough. There are only so many hours in the day. Do what’s most important and let the rest go.
If you don’t get greeting cards out this year, your family & friends will still love you. If you don’t make that special candy, others might be disappointed they don’t get to eat it, but they will still love you. Give them the recipe so they can make it themselves. If you don’t get all the decorations up, that doesn’t mean your celebrations are any less joyful.
When things get to be too overwhelming (something that can easily happen this time of year), turn it all over to God. Offer up your frustrations, your angst, your overwhelm, your disappointment, your grief, thinking everything has to be perfect. Ask him what he wants you to do. He’ll guide you to do those important things and give you peace about the things that just aren’t as important as you once thought they were.
If you’re struggling to quiet your mind, connect with God and prepare your heart during Advent, check out my Free 21 day Advent Calendar Challenge. The scripture-based mediations are short, but just enough to allow you to focus on God & really prepare your heart for Jesus this Advent.
We start Sunday, November 28th (the 1st Sunday of Advent) and I’d love to have you join us. If you know someone else who may like it, feel free to share it with them!
I’d love to learn what do you do to make sure you pray often, eat well & move more during this time of year? Let me know in the comments! So we can all