10 TIPS to help you THRIVE this Holiday Season.
It's that time of year once again... the holiday season. Here in the US of A, it all begins with Thanksgiving - football season, an abundance of food, a time designated to being with family and friends, and perhaps too many Zoom calls.
The Thanksgiving I'm addressing in this article is from the standpoint of being a national holiday in the US. It started as a celebration of the harvest season, preceded by a fast, and was a time to reflect on all the other blessings of the past year.
(Sadly, that was not the experience of Indigenous Peoples in America recognizing Thanksgiving as a day of mourning. The history behind this holiday goes much deeper than most know. However, I am not qualified to address that, but I am learning more about it.)
So whether you are traveling or staying local this Thanksgiving, many activities and festivities will revolve around food, family, connection, and more food.
Turkey, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and more seasonal starchy vegetables and desserts are usually the foundation of many tables around the country.
I have found that following the healthier eating guidelines from Ayurveda (the 5000-year-old body wisdom tradition and science) that I apply daily and coach my clients into is incredibly helpful in navigating the holiday season of overeating, overindulging, and often stagnation.
Creating your rituals around supporting yourself and perhaps your family is KEY to navigating the holiday season with ease and grace. For example, in the tradition of overstuffing yourself and landing on the sofa in a food coma, one that feels good and aligns with your desire to be healthy and feel great the next day? If not, what tradition/belief are you still perpetuating and why? Does it align with your values or lifestyle? Do you fast before the big celebration as the Pilgrims did? If not, it may be time to reevaluate and redefine the “hows and whys” of this American national holiday.
In terms of the social aspects of many seasonal and social celebrations, the holidays are fun, festive, connective, and cozy for many people. But, for others, not so much. Often, big family gatherings and certain relationships, expectations, and "B.S rules" can be less than merry and bright, creating stress, challenges, and fear.
The holidays can bring up a lot of emotions, push buttons, and leave people feeling as though they have to act "out of integrity" with who they are and how they want to feel. You do You is my motto.😉
HERE ARE 10 TIPS TO HELP YOU THRIVE NOT JUST SURVIVE, DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON.
1. Plan on enjoying your Thanksgiving meal earlier in the day. Eating earlier allows time for digestion to operate optimally. Your digestive fire peaks earlier in the afternoon and slows down after 2 p.m. Hence the food coma after eating a late, heavy meal.
2. Eat breakfast on Thanksgiving morning to avoid showing up to the table “starving” and ready to eat an entire turkey.
3. Thanksgiving dinner in my house includes plenty of roasted, fresh, and seasonal vegetables. Offer plenty of vegetable-based options, not of the mushy, overcooked, nutrition-less variety. Help yourself to more vegetable dishes first and leave less space on your plate for less healthy options.
4. If you’re choosing to indulge, do it consciously. Beware of all additional foods entering your mouth before and after the main meal. Enjoy the foods that you indulge in. Sometimes, only a bite or two can satisfy the urge.
5. If drinking alcohol - drink wisely and WITH food. Caution: alcohol on an empty stomach can lead to political conversations - just say'in.
6. Stop eating at least 3 hours before bed for ideal digestion and avoid restless sleep, heartburn, and feeling like a bready dinner roll in the morning.
7. Focus on GRATITUDE while enjoying the meal and the company. Studies prove that gratitude opens the doors to new relationships, improves physical and psychological health, enhances empathy, improves self-esteem, and more.
8. Slow down. Enjoy your food. Savor the flavors. Chew and swallow. Pause. Breathe. Repeat.
9. Get up and MOVE. If you’re eating earlier, there’s still time to go out for a walk or at least stay upright, which aids digestion (let gravity help move food down and out). Excusing yourself to head out for a walk may be a great reason to exit an uncomfortable conversation with a relative prying into “why on earth you are not married yet”. Even better, it allows you to burn off that extra piece of pumpkin pie so you can sleep better.
10. Enjoy DIGESTIVE TEA after your meal. Do this and sleep better, plus wake up feeling lighter and brighter.
11. Just like the Pilgrims did, fasting or eating light the next day is a great way to get “back on track.” Give your body and digestion a break, and stick to simple foods like soups, salads, and green smoothies. Then, send your guests off with the leftovers to avoid the temptation to do it all again. Plus, leftovers aren’t great as the food loses its life force or energy the longer it sits around.
Did you know lobster, seal, and swans were on the Pilgrim's menu? We broke that rule pretty fast right? Lobster, I'm good with, but seal and swans?
What other holiday rules OR brules (bulls*** rules) are you ready to ditch? What traditions would you like to create for yourself and your family that align with your visions and values for your health, body, family, and what YOU want the upcoming holiday season to feel like? After that, it truly is a blank canvas.
I'd LOVE to hear how YOU DO the holiday season. What new and improved traditions have you and your family created that establish a holiday season more aligned with your goals and how you want to experience this time of the year?