The holidays are often a busy flurry of activities, family, events, tasks, and meals. Maybe this is something that we really enjoy (hustle and bustle has a certain charm, at times), or maybe we’d prefer more time for quiet time contemplation, reading, relaxing, and slowing down.
I personally would like the right balance of both – a few days of hub bub, nestled among a few days of no-obligation quiet where I can have my stack of my books, my tea, my pen and journal, my cats snoozing, and it’s just time for me to putter. Read for a bit? Sure. Walk for a bit? Sure. Journal for a bit? Sure. My favourite. Let the mind fruitfully decompress.
To help make your holidays a little more joyful, healthful, relaxing, and delicious, consider my few ideas below. As promised, it’s four holiday recipes, three healthful tips, and a classic reset for your busy mind (sing that to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas – it works!).
Here’s to Happy Holidays!
- Take 5 minutes every day to breath and re-set your mind: I really enjoy this brief five-minute meditation/mind re-set/breathing exercise by Welzen. It works. At least, it works for me. It combines deep breathing with a guided meditation and I find when I open my eyes at the end, I’ve created a little calm space in the day.
- Bake amazing recipes with whole-food ingredients. I love holiday baking and I also think it’s an opportunity to show people how delicious festive treats can be while still using real foods and interesting, clean ingredients. Nobody wins if the holidays just become a time of mindless consumption. When that happens, we mostly just feel like crap. So, here’s what I’ll be baking (all free of dairy, gluten, eggs, and grains):
- Christmas Fudge with cashew butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, and melted unsweetened dark chocolate. I spotted this recipe in the Against All Grain Celebrations cookbook and I found it available online here.
- Perfect Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies! I made these last week and was totally, totally impressed. They were chewy and delicious, and if you’re looking for some cookies for your office party, I think these would be brilliant. I tested the vegan version using a chia egg and they were perfect, just like the title promised.
- Salted Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups. Rich dark chocolate with almond butter (or your choice!) in the middle. Fun to make and a real crowd-pleaser, if I do say so myself, because most people love this particular combination.
- Homemade Dark Chocolate Bark with Goji Berries and Pumpkin Seeds. If you want to take it up a notch, make your own chocolate with raw cocoa powder and raw cocoa butter. Holy impressive, Batman. Plus, the goji berries? Superfood delight.
- Consider supplementing for stress. Driving around, visiting with family, spending more money than usual, pressure-filled gifts – all of these contribute to subtle (or not-so-subtle) stress for the body. A few good supplement options to consider for stress: omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins, magnesium (excellent for sleeping!), and possibly an adaptogen like rhodiola, holy basil, or ashwaghanda. Also, boosting your intake of antioxidants around this time is never a bad idea either. Turmeric, dark chocolate, goji berries, kale, sweet potatoes – think naturally-vibrant foods and you’ll find good antioxidant sources.
- Take three deep breaths before eating. If there’s one thing I could work on, it’s this: taking a few deep breaths before a meal, pausing and looking around, and actively cultivating a sense of gratitude for the food I’m eating. It isn’t that I’m not grateful, of course, but it’s easy to get caught up in judging food, thinking about what is next on our to-do list after the food is done, worrying while eating, etc, and forgetting about the experience right in front of you.
- Have a good book at your side. Life is better with a good book! It’s a built-in time for relaxation, inspiration, and maybe gentle self-improvement. The holidays are (hopefully) a time to fit in some tea and reading. A few interesting options I’m planning to peruse (don’t worry – I have a stack of fiction too):
- Super Woman Rx by Dr. Taz Bhatia
- Unconventional Medicine by Dr. Chris Kresser
- Unleash the Power of the Female Brain by Dr. Daniel Amen
And a BONUS tip!
BE KIND TO YOURSELF! Busy, stressful times are the EASIEST times to fall back into speaking harshly to yourself, and perhaps doing some comparing (of your home, your body, your lifestyle, your mood) to other people, and just generally feeling less than. Be on the look out for the judgmental and unkind voice that might creep in around this time. Get all Cindy Lou Who and say, forget you, mean Grinch voice! And then go ahead and give yourself the best gift ever: compassion, kindness, acceptance, non-judgement, and self-love.
© Emily Joldersma, R.H.N. Eat Well, Live Vibrantly