Here are my 5 Steps to Happy Holidays:
1. Stay with your exercise routine: Or at least do not quit altogether. If you usually exercise four times a week, at the very least, exercise twice a week during the holidays. This will actually give you more energy to accomplish all the extra work, like buying and wrapping presents, decorating, giving and attending holiday parties, and probably cooking more.
I really did not have time to go to my yoga class, but after I went, I was so much more at peace in body and mind, so all the additional items on my to do list were more enjoyable. When your heart is pumping, you deliver more nutrients and oxygen to your brain! The result will be a stress-free holiday.
2. Take your vitamin D: As many of you probably know, I am a strong advocate of Vitamin D and have written four blog posts about it. As winter is upon us, we do not have 40% of our skin exposed to sunshine 20 minutes every day. Vitamin D supports a healthy immune system and uplifted mood. Vitamin D affects 200 genes, helps diabetes, heart, prevents some cancers, and helps improve your moods.
3. Give to others: To help keep everything in perspective, reach out and help those less fortunate than yourself. Some possible choices are to give a gift that keeps on giving to Kiva. You are actually investing in a micro loan of $25 that will “help someone to fish for a lifetime,” instead of just “giving them a fish for a day.” Once they pay the loan back, it can be borrowed by another entrepreneur.
Another possibility for giving back is to donate to the rebuilding of Monterosso and Vernazza, Italy, two of the beautiful Cinque Terre villages where I teach my Italy Retreats each September. Any, and I do mean, any small amount will be appreciated. 100% of your donations will go directly to rebuilding these two towns that were devastated by mudslides and floods. Travel expert, Rick Steves, said that Vernazza had the most idyllic piazza(town square) in Europe. I agree. However, all that is changed. The people of Vernazza were forced to evacuate on October 25.
I am feeling quite overwhelmed with my “to do” list this season because I leave in three days, to visit extended family 12 hours away. So, the last thing I wanted to add was a community service project. Not now, some other time, yes. But, some friends and I decided to volunteer at a local organization that provides clothing and toys for 200 families. In the fulfillment of that, the items on my “to do list” somehow became more enjoyable and gratifying. This leads me to my fourth step for having happy holidays.
4. Practice the art of gratitude. If you’ve read some of my other articles, you know I encourage you to have a journal by your bed, so that each day you can jot down what you are grateful for. Writing it down is more powerful than thinking it, but if you can only stop and reflect on what you’re grateful for, then go for it.
5. Eat healthy foods. I would include this in any list for feeling happier. Last weekend, I actually went to four holiday parties. I only ate dessert at one of them, even though I love sweets. Of course, I’m eating holiday sweets, but much smaller amounts than usual. Try eating more fruit instead. The extra desserts can weaken your immune system, add pounds to your belly, and bring you down. I managed to bake only one batch of cookies. Even though they are the thin and delicious Florentine Lace, I have resisted eating many of them.
I hope this helps! May your holiday season bring you laughter, warmth, and peace in your heart. If it does not come to you, bring it to another.
Wishing you an enriched life!
What do you do to create Happy Holidays? What are your 5 Steps to Happy Holidays?
You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided author credit is included.