Oh boy!  The holidays are coming fast; Rosh Hashanah, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwansa, New Years’ Day – all reasons to celebrate with family and friends.  Many holidays have traditional foods and rituals.  These can be warm and comforting in the midst of busy and stress filled lives. 

Celebrations often mean that we will be interacting more with loved ones. This month we are focusing on healthy habits; how to take care of yourself while letting yourself celebrate and have fun.  Healthy habits are different for each person so here are few ideas to help you stay happy and healthy throughout the year.

  1. Get moving! Moderate exercise – 20 min walk each day – helps improve mood, relieve stress, aids in fitness and can be fun especially if you walk with a friend or loved one.
  • Sleep well. This can be easier said than done but there are some healthy habits that could aid you in getting a good night’s sleep. A) No caffeine after 5pm B) minimize or eliminate alcohol (alcohol will disrupt sleep later in the sleep cycle) C) Only let yourself sleep in bed – no reading in bed. Read in another room sitting up. Sleep experts say that retraining your mind to expect to sleep when you go to bed helps. D) Avoid using computers or tablets before going to bed.  The light from these devices actually stimulates the brain and keeps it awake.  This is especially true for children. E) One hour before you want/need to be in bed turn the t.v. off and meditate or just sit quietly for at least 15 minutes or perhaps play soft soothing music. This quiets your mind and gives your body an opportunity to relax. F) If you are feeling troubled or stressed write in a journal to get your thoughts out of your head and into a format that you can just set aside so that you sleep better.
  • Eat Well – There are so many recommendations for what healthy eating is; Intermittent Fasting, Low-Carb, High Carb, count calories, avoid sugar, avoid processed foods etc.  The list is extensive.  The most important thing is to find an eating plan that works easily for you and is sustainable. 
  • Socialize – As the old song goes “everybody needs somebody sometime.”  It is inherent in humans to seek out connection with others.  Extroverted people love being with people and doing things together.  For people who fall more on the introverted end of the spectrum being with people can actually be draining so they choose a few people to connect with rather than needing to be the life of the party.  Figure out what it is you need and then make those connections happen.
  • Don’t bottle it up. – Stuffing your feelings, avoiding conflict, being indirect in your communication only create more unhealthy habits and higher levels of stress.  Blasting at everyone isn’t healthy either.  Effective coping requires introspection to first know what we feel and then assess what it is we need.  Too many times we say yes when we need to say no.  Express your thoughts and feelings using “I” Statements, reflective listening and truly being present to all sides of an issue.  Find a safe person to talk over what is going on that might be increasing the intensity of your feelings. 
  • Be grateful – Take a moment to look around you and see all the ways you can be grateful.  Think about the family and friends who you know have your back. Think about the love and support you have around you.  Think of all the little ways life has of sending you abundance, grace and light and be thankful.  Have an attitude of gratitude and it will be returned to you tenfold.

We hope that you will find your way to healthy habits that help you feel better in mind, body and spirit.  Sometimes we need a little extra help, that’s what we are here for.  Call and set up an appointment if you are struggling with finding your healthy habits. We want to help you be the change you seek.

Mary Ruth Cross, MS, MFT, NCC, RPT-S

CEO/Owner Treehouse Family Counseling Services, PC