Making Your Health a Priority this Holiday Season

As we continue our Home for the Holidays series, we have the lovely Jill Hoven with us today talking about creating a Holiday Wellness Plan. As we prepare for the holidays, one thing we might consider is thinking back to last year’s holiday season and pinpointing any areas we felt were lacking. Then, as Jill will show us below, we can begin to create positive habits that will enable us to have a healthier, more focused holiday season.

Thanks for joining us today, Jill!

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Habits: we all have them.  Our world is cyclical – our lives, the seasons and even our habits. Hindsight has identified emerging patterns each year and season in my life. Maybe like me, you head into new seasons full of excitement and energy, only to find yourself weeks later exhausted and edgy. Whether the season is marked by a calendar or change in life, behaviors, feelings and habits develop like a Polaroid picture, slowly coming into focus.

Autumn always surprises me. One minute I’m applying sunscreen and the next I’m reaching for my comforter and slippers. Thoughts turn to soups, sweaters and the holidays as leaves turn to crimson and gold. My holiday enthusiasm surges and my wellness energy wanes.

It’s a habit I’ve recognized far too often the last few years. The holidays consume me in joyful busyness, shopping, cooking, eating, and socializing. But January leaves me regretting my November and December choices. Not this year.

I’m determined to break my habit of putting wellness on the shelf over the holidays. I want to better manage my time, stress, health and precious moments with loved ones this year. It’s time for a Holiday Wellness Plan! Just as the holiday season begins earlier each year, so must our wellness plan. No one runs a marathon without a training plan and the same holds true for our wellness.

Now, let’s begin training!

According to Charles Duhigg author of The Power of Habit, habits are born with a cue, a routine and a reward. Our brain likes habits to increase its efficiency. It’s how we automatically brush our teeth without thinking.  But in order to sustain a habit, we need a craving. The habit is created by the cycle, but the craving keeps it perpetuated. Want to change or break a habit? Figure out the craving behind it.

With holiday eating, it’s often the sugary, fat-laden carb load we get with each bite of pie, cookie or holiday appetizer. We’ll dig into what triggers our cravings and habits later, but for now, let’s identify our personal holiday habits we wish to alter. Then, identify which healthy habits we can begin and sustain through the holidays and beyond.

Think about what you love about the holidays and your regrets each January. Write down your top three holiday habits you wish to change and also what three things you’d like to improve in your soul, mind and body wellness. Often there’s a correlation.

  • Do you indulge in too many holiday foods then lament the weight gain in January?
  • Do you spend time running around with a massive to-do list then regret not honoring the true meaning of the season?
  • Do you waste money or energy on things important to others and then miss quality time with loved ones?

Take a few moments before holiday busyness sets in to honestly reflect on the holiday and healthy habits you want to tackle. Then apply strategies to your specific habits and goals, making this your own custom Holiday Wellness Plan!

Habits aren’t all bad.  We can take control of unhealthy holiday habits and replace them with healthy habits lasting well past the holidays. Begin today to create your own Holiday Wellness Plan!

jill-hovenJill Hoven is nurse who writes faith-based encouragement on wellness. She is married to her best friend and is founder of MemoryMinders, providing memory wellness services to motivated adults. When not cheering her teens at their sporting events, she can be found golfing, cooking or by the water.  Her writing has been published by Proverbs 31 Ministries and can be found on her blog Follow His Footprints. Connect with her on: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Linkedin. 

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