Holiday Healthiness, A Key Ingredient For Holiday Happiness!
Many people call this “the most wonderful time of the year,” but for many, it can be a time of sadness. From Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) to memories of a loved one who is no longer with us, grief can block us from feeling or being grateful and often leads to severe anxiety throughout the holidays.
The truth is, I didn’t think I was anxious during the holidays until I had a revelation that I was overeating, using food to comfort some not-so-comfortable feelings that I didn’t know how to deal with on the inside. I'm human, and I come from a real family with real issues... loved ones who have passed that are dearly missed at the Thanksgiving table, a sister-in-law who won’t bring her kids around, ever (I'm just dying to spoil these little cuties)... you follow me right?
Holiday anxiety affects our health and causes weight gain. This is especially true of us women. We are the caretakers, nurturers, and put ourselves behind our chores. There are some specific reasons experts believe the holiday season increases stress.
If the holiday stress affects you, you are not alone, and there is hope. I pray that these simple, successful tips bring you Peace, Joy, and produce that lovin' feelin' again so you can experience the joys of this holiday season, regardless of your circumstances. But first, keep in mind that you've gotta feel it to heal it.
Seventy-five to ninety percent of all doctor's visits are from stress-related issues. Bad backs, heart disease, stomach/gastric issues, heart disease, stroke, respiratory issues... all the way down to cancer, yet no one seems to want to talk about the “elephant in the room” or address the reason that are underneath most of our health complaints. Sometimes it’s the health issues themselves that cause stress. Regardless of the reason for your struggling, there is more hope than you think!
We can’t deny our feelings; they are God-given. But, we don’t have to allow them to dictate how we act or feel. That means not numbing ourselves with food, alcohol, or shopping, Anything we do, if we do it too much, can block our ability to feel, masking what’s deep inside and driving our health issues and anxiety. This is a sign that we need to listen to and address what’s underneath.
Here are some of the most common causes of the holiday stress that fuels anxiety, along with the most effective method to help you identify what’s eating at you. It's called the HALT Method, which stands for hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. I stop, pause, and do HALT before I begin eating to help process the emotions that can drive overeating (or for some, over-consuming drinking alcohol). Ask yourself, are you...
- Hungry? We are yearning for what we think is physical hunger, but if we are overweight, we really need to be honest with ourselves by taking a daily faithful and fearless personal moral inventory, asking God to reveal what you need to be aware of.
- Angry? Are you angry at someone and have not forgiven them yet? Or maybe you’re angry at God? Be honest and pray on it.
- Lonely? You can be lonely, even in a crowded room, especially if you’re spending time with toxic people. Often they are your family (we all know we don’t get to choose who we're related to). Sometimes it’s because we don’t have a spouse or significant other. Focus on the fact that God is always with you and you're never alone. He holds your hand and even carries you when the burdens are too big to bear. This is a game changer if you practice it. Meditate on Him cradling you in his warm, soft arms
- Tired? Between extra financial burdens, grieving the loss of a loved one, unrealistic expectations, stressful family members, and end-of-the-year work stress, the fatigue is almost always emotional versus physical. Take time to be still and leave the room if you have to for quiet to figure out what you're really feeling and worrying you. Put a name to it. Call it out!
TEN HEALTHY, HEALING HOLIDAY SUCCESS STEPS
You've got to name it and clearly define the source of your stress. It’s impossible to move past an issue if you can’t first identify it or name it. Admit you're powerless over the situation and your emotions that can make your life unmanageable.
Accept what you can’t change and change what you can, believing that God is greater and will restore you. He has you covered.
Make the most important decision in your life and turn your life over to the care of God.
The best way to get to the bottom of what’s going on and get out of it fast is to seek Him through power prayer, meditating on what God thinks about you. His opinion is all that matters. Praying and fasting (this can mean not overeating or drinking to numb yourself) improves your contact with God and helps you to be conscious, so you are clear on what He wants from you.
We all know the saying “be the change,” but that’s easier said than done unless we ask God to remove any character defect we might have that’s stopping us from overcoming these issues. Ask Him to help you deal with the not-so-comfortable feelings that are affecting you, preventing you from shining your light and being the change you are asking for. Then, power pray about it.
It's important to know that worrying isn’t the solution to any of your problems. It is the problem. Today’s worry won't remove those uncomfortable feelings, but it can empty your body today of its strength and deplete you physically. Prayer, especially power prayer, does the exact opposite.
Feel it to heal it!
You've gotta give yourself some "head space." This means peace and quiet to allow yourself to grieve. If you're always on-the-go, ask God to show you what you may be running away from. The truth is, you can't run away from your problems; they need to be tackled head-on. Running will wear you out physically, financially, and spiritually. Allow yourself to grieve, if necessary. It's not fun, but it's necessary.
Let it be!
By allowing grief and emotions to surface, you can then give them to God. And once given over to Him... let it be!
Don't go it alone!
Surround yourself with the support of like-minded people. If you have loved ones available, reach out to them. If not, friends are a great support. Loneliness is a very real thing, all year long, not just the holidays. That’s where a church, small groups, pastors, and clubs can be the best source of support. Always remember you are never alone because God is with you!
Cleanse and detox (de-clutter) your self-imposed, hectic schedule!
If all you ever do is rush, rush, rush, choose to say “no” more often than not. Overly-busy schedules almost always increase holiday anxiety, leading to overeating, drinking, over-spending, and all sorts of issues that can be overcome simply by slowing down and creating some margin in your life... the time where you can hear God's voice.
Being over-scheduled and planning extra activities may bring joy to some, and stress to others. It’s important to know what works for you. If it’s too stressful for you, choose to keep it simple for a more restful, peaceful, much healthier and happier holiday season, rather than a busy one.
Identify the physiological reasons for wintertime depression!
The end of Fall leads us into the holiday season, which also means our body gets less sunlight. The weather is colder, so we are indoors more, leading to us getting sick more often. There are all kinds of hormonal changes that take place in our body. What can you do?
First, make sure you move your body every day! There is always something you can do, no matter what is ailing you. Walk! If you can't get outside, walk inside or in place. If you only have five minutes, do the FIT IN 5 workouts. They will help more than you think, physically and emotionally.
All movement, no matter how slow or what you do... it all counts. Movement increases blood flow, which increases the body’s ability to absorb the vitamins and minerals you take and need more this time of year. Here are the supplements you should be taking daily, especially this time of year.
Exercise: Yes, I'm listing it as medicine/supplement. It's the best medicine you’ll ever take.
Vitamin D3 Boost: Vitamin D is linked to mood and health, and LynFit Vitamin D3 Boost also added extra immune support to help offset colds and flu. It also aids in digestion and prevents new fat cells from forming, a must-have this holiday season.
Pure Omega 3: Research proves that none of us get enough omega-3 in our diet. Supplementing with LynFit Pure Omega 3 is the best way to protect the heart and overall health, from improving mood, metabolism, and helping ease aches and pains.
If you need more mood support, consider trying LynFit Daily Power Shot for the B vitamins and C0Q10 it contains, or Daily Wellness Drops to help ease your aches and pains while reducing stress. If appetite and cravings are a bother for you, LynFit 5-HTP Lean is just what you need.
If you're like me and need 'em all, that’s okay. They all go together very well, in fact, the more steps you take to combat the stress the better your odds are of feeling better fast.
Live a gratitude lifestyle!
Want a quick fix? Practicing gratitude is your solution to whatever problem you're facing. It also quickly helps decrease cortisol levels and stress instantly.
Play the gratitude game... every time you feel stressed or have a not-so-pleasant thought, replace it with something you're grateful for instead. As a chaplain, I've seen dying cancer patients who have the best gratitude attitudes I've ever seen. They lie there in pain, and they are grateful for the warm, soft bed. Be grateful you have a home to clean or laundry to do... even for those people who drive you nuts!
Start writing it down, so you don't forget when you have a bad day... a Gratitude Journal. This is great daily practice for mental health during the holidays and year round.
- Lisa Lynn