Going home for the holidays can be quite an adventure.
Some people fly home, while others drive across town. Some people open their home to family and friends, while others drive from one home to another, making sure all relatives are properly visited. Then there are those who choose to stay where they are, cozy and warm, snuggled together, eating popcorn and watching holiday movies.
There is also another home we are always invited to visit. It is the sacred “home” within ourselves. It is our core, the essence of who we are. Traveling to this place takes courage, patience, trust and love. And though there is never much traffic, we can easily get lost.
This trip home may begin by sitting quietly and simply being still, or we may be forced onto this journey when we experience great trauma or pain. We catch a glimpse of light out of the corner of our eye, and we must make a choice. Do we turn away or do we continue this search for ourselves?
If you’re wondering how to know when you’ve found this place, a dear friend sent me a quote that answers this question.
“You have looked at so many doors with longing, wondering if your life lay on the other side. Home is always by another road, and you will know it, not by the light that waits for you, but by the star that blazes inside of you, telling you that where you are is holy and you are welcome here.”
The holidays are in full swing and there’s a whole lot of hugging going on! Warm and loving ones from my mom that make it hard to let go. A big hug from my brother, as we have always been close. Quick hugs from my sister. The embraces with my husband because it’s been a good day, a bad day or you just need a hug to feel better about life. The “I’m always there for you” hugs from your close friends. And the “I haven’t seen you in forever” hugs from the friends you see now and again.
But what about unwanted and unwelcome hugs from family or acquaintances you are not very fond of? An experience last Christmas with a family member left me feeling very angry. After asking him not to hug me, he took me from surprise and hugged me from behind in a very obnoxious way. I was so stunned! It made me feel uncomfortable and disrespected. I was caught off guard. Why did he think this behavior was acceptable? It left me stressed about every future gathering that he would be present at.
How do you get through to someone who doesn’t respect your wishes? How do you set boundaries in these situations?
The circumstance came up again not so long ago. I happened to have a large box in my hands and the front door was handy. So, with my back to the door and the box in hand, I was able to set up a perimeter he wouldn’t be able to get around. (If I could have put up an electric fence, I would have!) When he came to me for a hug, I held onto the box and didn’t move. He threw up his hands in frustration and walked away!
I felt so relieved and, even more, I had a feeling of being empowered rather than being uncomfortable.
Now, I know I can’t spend my life carrying a large box around with me, but perhaps I can use my imagination and feel one in my hands to set a boundary in the future, if needed. The electric fence is optional, however!
Written by Mary Battista, Prairie Health Companion
The holiday season is once again upon us and for many of us that means challenging situations they may throw us off our game. Not only will there be lots of indulgent drinking and eating, but we start to get sleep deprived from staying out late or staying up late just getting everything accomplished. This only makes things worse as lack of sleep can make us feel tired, therefore craving energy in the form of sugar/caffeine, and the body’s hormones that regulate satiety get thrown off leading to increased snacking and indulging during the day. On top of all of this is the stress that comes with unrealistic expectations and overwhelm! What’s a healthy person to do?!
A few simple strategies can keep you on track and feeling in charge of your health and happiness.
- Begin with the end in mind. Visualize the outcome and how good you will feel when you stick to your healthy choices and guidelines. Imagine how good your clothes will feel the next day when you put them on. Mentally walk through the event making choices exactly as you want them to be. See yourself saying, “no thanks” and still having a great time! Practice this is your mind several times before you go. This is a key step!
- Decide on guidelines for alcoholic beverages and treats when you go to a party or holiday event. By setting guidelines you will pace yourself differently. Use water to stay hydrated and to pace yourself alternating water in between sips of wine. Keep treats small and eat them slowly and mindfully.
- Don’t go to holiday events ravenous! Have something healthy before you go so you are satisfied but not totally full. A cup of soup, some veggies/hummus, a piece of whole grain toast with hummus or nut butter, a cup of yogurt or a small salad. If you are too hungry, you may have difficulty controlling portions especially at buffets which are very tantalizing.
- Look over the holiday buffet before making your choices and use a small plate. Look for fresh fruits, veggies, shrimp, hummus, salsas, chicken, turkey etc over high-fat/high-salt appetizers and entrees. Foods with fiber fill you up with fewer calories.
- Stick to your exercise/sleep routine to help manage stress and overwhelm. Exercise is a great stress buster so be sure to schedule it in your busy day which might mean starting your day with it. Perhaps you could squeeze a walk in over your lunch hour? The more you diffuse stress during the day, the better you will be as the day progresses. If you don’t get to bed at a reasonable time, you aren’t going to get up to exercise, so be sure to pre-determine your bed time and stick to it!
By thinking through how you want the holiday season to go, you can anticipate triggers and have skills ready to head them off. The main strategy is to plan your work by thinking it through and having guidelines that you are committed to. As my Dad would say,”Plan your work, then work your plan”.
Written by Barb Greenberg, founder – Rediscovering U
For those of us divorcing, divorced, at the end of a longterm relationship, or who find ourselves alone for whatever reason, Valentine’s Day seems dedicated to celebrating everything we have lost.
To participate in this holiday, we need a partner, preferably one who is loving and generous, and that is exactly what we are grieving. A hand to hold. A shoulder to cry on.
Someone who loves us when we haven’t showered and our hair is sticking straight up, when our breath is bad and we have spinach in our teeth, when we make a wrong decision, or can’t make a decision, when we lose our job, lose the race, lose our car keys, or lose our mind.…and sometimes lose it all in one day.
We may ache for another partner to come along with reservations for an intimate candlelight dinner, bringing red roses, chocolate, and sparkling jewelry.
Or we may be thrilled if someone simply appears at our door with a pint of hot fudge ripple ice cream and a soup spoon and entertains us by cleaning the house and doing all the laundry.
And for those of us who have felt painfully alone during their past relationship, expecting anything from a partner seems a wasted effort.
Although we never expected to be alone, it doesn’t mean we can’t buy ourselves flowers and chocolate, go out to dinner with a good friend, and forget about the clean house and the dirty laundry, and make our own hot fudge sundae.
Admittedly, roses, chocolate, ice cream, and jewelry are great fun to receive, but we can’t let them fool us.
The true gifts of a Valentine are Love, Respect, Kindness, Compassion, Joy, shared daily in the small details of our lives.
These gifts are not just for others to offer us. We must provide them for ourselves, and our Inner Valentine is waiting to help us do just that.
Connecting with our Inner Valentine is easy. All we have to do is read the words stamped on each pink heart-shaped Valentine candy! And if the sentiments on these candies are too far removed from our current reality, let them be a sweet reminder of what our future holds.
- When we say “Be Mine!” we are usually looking to someone else, but have we ever looked in the mirror and spoken those words to ourselves? How would that feel? What would that mean?
- It means we would not desert ourselves or give ourselves away in order to “keep the peace” or be loved.
- Be Mine! When we reclaim our Self, we can be all we are meant to be.
- Embrace ourselves with compassion and kindness, with good friends and gratitude.
- Embrace ourselves with faith and trust.
- Embrace ourselves with gifs of comfort; soak in a bubble bath, listen to lovely music.
- Being hard on ourself does not make us strong. It is being gentle with ourself that builds a deep, sustaining strength.
YOU ARE AWESOME
- If no one is telling us how fabulous we are, it’s time to tell ourself!
- Write an affirmation and put it on the bathroom mirror, sing in the shower, connect with people who believe in us and respect us.
- We have more power that we know including the power to speak our truth and recreate our life.
- These and other heart shaped messages we discover are reminders from our Inner Valentine.
- She will help us be discerning, so when a new potential partner appears, we will know if that person is a true Valentine or if it’s only flowers & chocolate they can offer.
- She will help us deepen our understanding of our true Self.
- She will remind us to let our own sweet heart be our guide.
Written by Carla A. Killian, NETA Certified, Mobile Personal Training for Women, www.FitGirlTraining.com
Celebrating major holidays while healing from major life-events such as divorce cause many women to internalize feels of loss, anger, and resentment. In turn, we become our own worst enemy. In a struggle for emotional comfort during times of pain and discomfort, we may make poor food choices, feel too exhausted to exercise, and simply shut-down.
As difficult as it may sound, viewing divorce as a positive, life-changing event helps women regain the power and drive to transform an unhappy lifestyle and become a self-confident, exuberant person. The answer lies within each of us, and this change happens when we start paying more attention to caring for our body.
As I’m sure you’ve heard before, eating healthy foods, chock-full of leafy greens, colorful vegetables, clean proteins, and fruit is a great first step toward breathing more energy into each day. The next step is to spend more time doing activities you enjoy, such as taking a 10-15 minute walk most days of the week, stretching in the morning or before bed, or finding a class that makes you want to move.
What you may have not heard before is to focus on movements that do not cause pain or discomfort. The “no pain, no gain” concept is a thing of the past for most women suffering from sore knees, joints, shoulders, and hips. Keeping exercises low-impact ensures less wear-and-tear on your joints and a more enjoyable experience. Weight-bearing cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, is great for promoting a strong, healthy heart.
Strength training is another important component to help regulate metabolism, hormones, and build stronger bones. Performing 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps of each exercise produces lean, sculpted muscles. If it has been a while since you’ve lifted weights, a great option is to locate a personal trainer to create a personalized workout plan. Any reputable personal trainer should be able to easily provide this service at no additional cost to you.
Transforming your mind and physical body takes care and compassion, but well worth the effort as you confidently begin striding into a room with your head held high!