How to Best Care for Yourself and Others Over the Holidays

While holidays can be jam-packed with fun festivities, parties, gifts, and wining and dining, they can also bring sadness. Some of us may have recently lost or be separated from a loved one. Others may struggle financially. Some may struggle with the temptation and guilty feelings of over indulging. There are countless reasons people might struggle this time of year, and for those of us blessed with family, friends, and resources, it’s important to remember not everyone is so fortunate. Since the season of thanks and giving is upon us, let’s remember to take good care of ourselves, especially so we can take good care of those around us.

Self-care

This holiday season, make it your goal and priority to manage your stress and your energy first. Start by getting plenty of sleep and drinking water, and set aside time to care for yourself no matter how brief. Here are some ideas:

  • Say 10 things you are grateful for before you get out of bed or 10n things in your day you are grateful for at nighttime
  • Meditate or practice deep breathing
  • Journal
  • Take a candle lit bath
  • Take an evening stroll and gaze up at the stars
  • Read a book

For many people, taking the time to count blessings rather than focusing on what’s missing is a great way to ward off the blues. You needn’t ignore sadness, anger or frustration though; make sure you acknowledge those feelings so you can move on! For example, if you journal, write down what’s bothering you, put the journal away and start your day afresh. Most importantly, be patient and treat yourself with the compassion you so readily offer others.

Food and Nutrition

The holidays are also prime time for issues with food to arise, leaving many people feeling depressed and guilty about their choices! This holiday, make it a goal to lower your chance of feeling depressed and guilty.

If you’re dreading overindulging in all the rich, sugary holiday treats at parties, have a plan in place to manage those temptations.

  • Try having a healthy snack before you head out
  • Practice mindful nibbling—eat slowly and savor the bites you’re taking. Research suggests that it’s really the first few bites that are the most satisfying anyway.
  • Don’t deny yourself a special indulgence, enjoy it in moderation.
  • Stand away from the food and engage socially with others–if your mouth is engaged in speaking with others, it’s a little more difficult to mindlessly munch.

What about those who have food related issues?  For example, if you have a list of food sensitivities, this does not mean you must avoid all pot lucks and dinner parties.  Just plan ahead. Bring your own signature dish you know you will enjoy, and maybe you’ll be sharing something new with your friends and family. Make sure it’s a combination of protein, fresh herbs, and ultimately, a big dose of “Wow Factor.” By preparing your own dish, you are taking care of yourself and hopefully giving yourself a better opportunity to truly appreciate the purpose of the party: to share laughter and friendship over the holidays.

If you are feeling inspired to bring your own, nutritious dish to the next holiday gathering, this one is always a big hit:

Prosciutto Wrapped Pears

Prosciutto Wrapped PearsIngredients

1 package of *Prosciutto

2 Organic Ripened Pears (Bosc, Red Anjou, or Bartlett)

Handful of Organic Arugula

1 Lemon, cut into wedges

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Drizzling

Directions

Place the arugula in a bowl. Quarter the pear lengthwise and remove the core. Cut into quarters and then in half again. Dress the pear with the juice of 1/2 lemon and EVOO. Place a few leaves of dressed greens on each slice of prosciutto with a slice of pear and roll up into a tight bundle.

*Why Prosciutto?  Prosciutto is dictated by legal standards to be made with the same ingredients and strict guidelines: a piece of quality raw ham, sea salt, time (at least one year), and air. This is all. This aged meat is not smoked nor is it made with nitrates. And therefore, this ham delicacy is different from other processed meats. In fact, Prosciutto isn’t really a processed meat.