The Most Important Gift this Holiday

by Lila Lazarus

If your holidays are filled with joy and merriment from now through New Year’s…well, good for you. You probably don’t need to read this article. But if you’re like the rest of us, trying to do a million things for a million other people, feeling totally overwhelmed, a bit on edge, with a little lump in the throat, read on. LilaLazarus_ColumnArt

The glowing lights, bells ringing, and holiday music can remind us of childhood. Scenes of happy families enjoying the holiday can evoke memories of those no longer with us or relationships gone awry. Whatever pain we hold inside us can get magnified this time of year. Out of nowhere we’re longing for days gone by. And the next thing you know, we’re having an extra eggnog and eating another five Christmas cookies. Now we’re really miserable.

So, it’s crucial to take a moment from the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, decorating and non-stop festivities to check in with ourselves. Be totally present. Notice the lights, the sounds and all the smells of the season. After that, follow these five ways to make your holiday healthier, more meaningful and a little more jolly. 

Think of Someone Else – The best thing to do when you’re feeling blue is do something for someone else. It’s an immediate mood-booster. Be a Secret Santa. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Give others joy and you’ll feel it, too.

Cut Back – If the amount you’re spending on gifts is stressing you out, set a tighter budget. If the holiday calendar is just too full, maybe you can pass on some of your obligations. Yes, it’s important to connect with friends and family, but we need to take care of ourselves first, or we are of no good to anyone. (See next paragraph.)

Self-Care, Self-Care, Self-Care – This part is so crucial, I can’t say it enough. Self-care can make or break your holiday. At this time of giving, give to YOU. Get to bed early, and make sure you get enough sleep. Make an exercise plan for the next few weeks. It’s not likely that you’ll lose weight this time of year, but you don’t have to put on any, either.

Get Outside – Go for a walk no matter what the temperature. At least once a day, get off the sofa and walk out the front door. Keep moving. It’s great for your body but vital for your mental state. We spend 90 percent of our day sitting indoors. No wonder we’re blue.   In fact, now would be a perfect time to go for a walk.  I’ll see you outside.

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