The following article is being reproduced with permission of its author, Kate Towell. Kate is a holistic wellness counselor who supports individuals to create the balanced, vibrant life they imagine.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
As we begin to drift into the holiday season I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I admit there were times in my life when the practice of gratitude was not easy. Especially as a kid. I was stumped by gratitude. I remember those uncomfortable moments at Thanksgiving dinner, sitting at a long table full of food and surrounded by friends and family and I had no idea how to be in gratitude. These days I have no difficulty with gratitude. Gratitude and I are the closest of friends. We hold hands, skip along, dancing in the streets without any reservations, giving thanks freely.
There is so much to be grateful for and stand in appreciation of. Just like the cornucopia that symbolizes the season, our lives are full of abundance. This year one thing that comes back to me over and over again is the potential and beauty that lies in each of us. Each day is a new day and with it I'm grateful for all of the possibilities it brings.
As grateful each of us are for the blessings of our lives, the truth of the holiday season is that for many of us all the celebrations, good cheer and family time can be accompanied by added stress, feelings of heaviness and exhaustion. Here are a few tips on how to have a richer more vibrant holiday experience.
7 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season
- Hydrate - Often in the rush of the holidays we forget the simplest of things, like drinking water. Begin your day with 8 - 16 ounces of warm water (lemon optional). Then keep sipping water throughout the day. Learn to love your water bottle. Keep it with you and staying hydrated becomes oh so easy.
- Schedule Your Exercise - Exercise is a great way to de-stress and create time for yourself. Don’t let a busy holiday season schedule throw your exercise routine off. This is the time to create some structure around your workouts. If you miss a class no worries but shoot for at least 4 days/week.
- Just Say No - You probably aren't aware how much extra food you consume just from people offering it to you. If you are not hungry politely decline.
- Set the Table with Small Plates - It helps everyone to exercise portion control—consciously or not, you’ll send cues to yourself and your guests to avoid overindulging.
- Choose Balance - You can’t be everywhere at once. Give yourself permission to decline some invitations so that you can truly enjoy the ones you do accept.
- Update Your Recipes - It’s easy to make small, healthful changes to traditional family dishes: Switch to less processed ingredients wherever possible, and add whole grains instead of refined ones. Serve all meals with some greens. Keeping foods simple is an easy way to keep a healthy lifestyle—and makes prep work easier on you too.
- Rest Well - Sleep is one of the three pillars of health in Ayurveda. Wind down your day 1/2 hour before bed. Turn down the lights, turn off the TV and stop the list making. Drink some herbal tea and read a little. Getting enough sleep is essential for your mental and physical health.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and be in Gratitude.