A Guide to Healthy, Peaceful Holiday Season

Everyone wants to have “happy holidays” but for many that is quite the task.  Here are some thoughts on how to make this a healthy and peaceful holiday! 

Gift-giving

The holiday season is a time to offer the people who support us all year long with tokens to tell them how much we appreciate them.  I know that for so many of us, figuring out what to buy can be overwhelming.  People today have so much.  It’s difficult to know what they might need or want.  We also want to watch our money and make sure we are spending wisely and that the gift-giving of the holidays don’t drain our bank account.  I find it simpler to pick one gift that you can make and give everyone the same gift.  You can make soap, make beeswax candles, infused olive oil, natural deodorant, or an ornament.  You could gift some of your (used) favorite books with a little inscription, make smudge sticks, make some samosas, pies, cookies, or handmade chocolates.  The ideas are endless and not expensive at all.  Giving is not about how much you spend but the thought and effort of recognizing those who support you and your family.

Family diners and parties

We only have so much time and energy.  That is often even more apparent in pregnancy.  It is important that you enjoy your time with your family and friends.  If your gut is telling you to stay put, please consider it strongly.  Learning your limits and learning to say “no thank you” is a very important lesson in life.  The holidays will be much more enjoyable if you do not overextend yourself.  Take time to chill, read some books, take time to go for walks with your loved ones, cook some great meals, do some yoga, call friends you’ve been meaning to connect with.

Travel

If you are travelling during the holidays and are pregnant be sure to take frequent breaks to stretch your legs.  If you are driving or flying, it is important to get up from time-to-time, walk around, bend over, stretch your calves, rotate your ankles, squeeze and release your leg muscles to help with circulation.  Plan your drive with a couple of extra hours so that you are not rushing or stressed.  Be sure to be safe while travelling.

Staying healthy

Holiday treats and lots of people will fill your holiday season.  Both can challenge your immune system.  Here are some thoughts on how you can stay healthy:

  • Be sure to wash your hands as often as you can.  Scrub those hands when you are washing with soap, be vigorous.  You can also carry some hand sanitizer for those occasions where you do not have access to water and soap.
  • Sugar is known to reduce the ability of your immune system to keep you healthy.  Eating sugary treats is fine but just make sure that you eat lots of healthy veggies, raw or cooked.  They will help you stay healthy.  Don’t forget that fruits also contain a lot of sugars.  They are healthier than refined sugars for sure but your body does not know the difference between grapes and nanaimo bars.  It just sees sugar and that makes your immune system have to work harder.
  • Drink plenty of water, Kombucha, bone broth or herbal teas.  Stay well hydrated to stay healthy.
  • Go for walks regularly.  Bundle up if needed.  Time outside helps us stay strong and be well.

Mental Health

Try your best to be positive and to spend your time with friends and family wisely.  This is a time to appreciate the “good” in people.  To really focus on the fact that everyone is just doing their best.  We are not all going to get along all the time but you can remain well and peaceful regardless of what is going on around you.  Just stay away from negative conversations.  Don’t indulge in gossip.

Encourage people to play games or do activities where everyone who wants to can participate and have some fun.  Maybe go sliding, skating or walk through the forest.  Find some simple board games that everyone can play.  Maybe charades, indoor bowling, chair basket-ball (putting a small ball into a basket while remaining in your chair).  There are so many ideas out there.  With a few minutes of research you can come up with fun ideas to keep things moving and positive.

We never know how long we have with the people in our lives.  This is a good time of year to really focus on appreciating people in your life and making some really good memories.  No one wants to be miserable during the holidays but it is often a time of great stress for many.  Figuring out ways to introduce new traditions to shake things up and keep things positive is worth a try.

In the end…

At the end of the day, or the holiday season, all you can do is control how you and your family experience this season.  Seek out meaningful experiences.  Start new traditions.  Do what feels good to you.  All of this is much easier to do when you are healthy.  Remember to breathe deeply, stay calm and focus on peace.  Everything else will come and go as it does.  We cannot control much of what happens but we can control what we participate in and how we choose to live through the holidays.  They come every year at the same time.  We might as well make it fun and remember what it’s all about.