5 Unconventional Ways to Stay Connected to Your Body Through the Holiday Season

Posted on Nov 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

5 Unconventional Ways to Stay Connected to Your Body Through the Holiday Season

With the holidays trotting toward us, I’ve been thinking about gatherings and food — and to be honest — sugar. I was reading an article that is unfortunately not worth noting, but it did get my wheels spinning about a particular phenomenon: weight gain over the holiday season.

The article’s very simple graph showed that half of the obesity problem occurred from the holiday season. Now, I don’t know how accurate that is, but I want to take some time to set myself up for success at this dark time of the year. How about you?

golden christmas ballsA client mentioned to me the other day that he is not going to “indulge” anymore. That piqued my attention. I am from the school of moderation, which is a very rigid program, in my opinion. I am in favor of the occasional treat! Indulgence can be held in a variety of ways, but when indulgence sets the tone, as it does over these winter months, that’s when all moderation seems to be lost. I do think that indulgence and pleasing the senses is a very important part of being a human, especially during the holiday season. That being said, I like to illuminate these dark and hidden habits that end up running my choices by being intentional and going into this season with a plan for pleasure but not pain.

1. Maintain a Daily Practicesunset with moon
I just fired back up my daily practice. My practice consists of a grounding practice and then a meditation for 10 minutes. This helps me reset my intention(s) for the day as well as empty out my mind daily. I find that this strengthens my connection to my body and brings intention to each morning, instead of going mindlessly through the day. This gives me the time to calm myself and feel each part of my body. I then feel more connected and more able to make good choices throughout the day. A daily practice also aids in many, many other things — try it and see what you find.

images2. Avoid Overuse of Substances
I say “substances” and I mainly mean coffee and alcohol. Both of these beverages lead us down a path of disconnect (from our body’s truest needs) and then further down the path to bad choices, if overused.

Coffee affects our blood sugar by decreasing our insulin sensitivity, so it causes us to not be as efficient at burning fat. Also, it is also an appetite suppressant, if we overindulge we tend to get super hungry later when we arrive at our “caffeine crash.” This is not good for the adrenals, because the caffeine crash is just reaching the point of overexpenditure, meaning we have already spent the energy that we are supposed to have rationed for that time of the day. My teacher wisely said “Coffee is the credit card of energy.” So, I find that when I am having a coffee crash combined with a sugar crash, I tend to make the wrong choice of how to nourish myself.

Caffeine releases adrenaline, giving us a buzz, or once we have the habit of coffee, it just seems to neutralize or normalize our energy level. Our bodies are built to use adrenaline to have the superhuman powers we need to escape a predator. We induce this response with coffee and then sit behind the wheel of a car with our superhuman powers nearly bending the wheel to then arrive at our work desk.

In full disclosure, I indulge in coffee once in a while. My favorite is to drink coffee before a hike! Alcohol is similar in that we are not as aware of how to treat ourselves and alcohol encourages unconscious decision-making. French fries at midnight, need I say more?
3. Prepare for Daily Food Consumption
In the theme of being conscious about food choices, it’s great to have a daily plan. I like to make sure I have snacks or meals available so I don’t end up eating that cookie sample at the grocery store…every time. Hard-boiled eggs, nuts, fruit, and cured meats are easy ways to get a little snack if your next meal is not available and waiting for you. It may save you from unwanted pastry snacking when the samples are pouring out left and right. By all means I am not instructing you to avoid all samples. I just choose moderation, because I would eat the cookie samples for every single meal if I didn’t have a plan.

4. Hydrationmoon lit snow
A lot of thirst masks itself as a sugar craving. Why, you ask? I’m not completely sure, but it’s a dirty little trick of our human form that can be avoided if we are truly tapped in. Staying hydrated is important for every single function of your body. It is, in my opinion, the most important thing we can do for our wellness! The rule of thumb that I have learned is to drink half of your body weight in ounces. In the winter months we often have to remind ourselves to drink water because when it is cold, we don’t always feel as thirsty. A good tip from holistic health counselor Cally Fruscello at Seed to Health is to drink a quart of warm lemon water first thing in the morning. I could write 35 pages on the importance of water, but give it a whirl and see how much better you feel and how much more connected you feel to your body.

images-15. Self Care
I think self-care is so important. In this dark time of year, we don’t have as much solar energy and we are left with ourselves, in the dark. This is extremely comforting to some people, but to others it feels a bit uneasy. I encourage you to seek out self care in the form of tea dates with friends, massage appointments, acupuncture, of course, a soak in the bathtub or hot tub, and light lots of candles to keep your spirit warm and bright.

Happy Winter Season, everyone. May you stay warm, bright and WELL!

red and gold