Overwhelmed and Stressed??? by Kristin SchuchmannNov 18th, 2009 | By Sharon Graham | Category: Wellness Coaching Guest Posts
Tips for Maintaining Wellness During the Holidays
This is a guest post by Kristin Schuchmann of http://CharisChildbirth.org
I am reminded of the Christmas song lyrics, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” But, so many people do not really experience the desired wonder and peace of the holiday season because they are overwhelmed! Christmas parties, traveling, desserts, cold weather, family traditions, shopping, visits from friends and family, and the stressful list goes on and on. How can a person fit their wellness goals into that equation?
It’s no wonder people become depressed and sick during the holidays. When will there be time for exercise? How can one keep the stress at a healthy level? Is it even possible to eat well over the holidays? Where is the sunshine we need so desperately? Will we be able to afford buying presents this year without going into debt? Can anyone keep up the hectic pace of the holidays with their good health intact?
With a solid commitment to wellness and some creativity, the holidays can be both happy and healthy. The following are some things to remember when coaching people who are struggling with how to maintain their wellness throughout the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.
- Keep it simple. In our home, we do like to decorate and enjoy traditions; but we have chosen to keep it simple and fun, rather than going overboard and creating stress. If something feels overwhelming for any member of the family, we don’t do it. Stress assaults the immune system and it is just not worth compromising a family member’s ability to fight sickness.
- Learn to decline invitations to events you have neither the time nor energy to attend. For us, this means choosing not to attend my husband’s office party this December. We are only attending parties with our closest, most intimate friends. Too many things to do means not enough rest and added stress, both of which will lead us further from our wellness goals rather than toward them.
- Offer to prepare healthy recipes to take to events so that there is an alternative to the unhealthy holiday treats that are sure to be in abundance at holiday parties. Some simple options would be a fruit platter, a mixture of raw nuts and seeds with dried cranberries, a raw vegetable plate with homemade dip such as hummus, or a beautiful red and green salad. I have found that the healthy food I bring ends up being a big hit with everyone else and I have contributed to their wellness success in addition to my own.
- Take advantage of sunny days. Most of the northern hemisphere is cold during the holidays. The lower temperatures drive people indoors and away from the sunshine. Even down here in southwest Florida, we still have to make a conscious effort to spend time outdoors during the cooler months. (Floridians think it is cold when it gets below 70 degrees.) Make it a point to keep your blinds and curtains open so that as much sunshine as possible will enter your home. Go for a brisk walk in the sunshine during the warmest part of the day whenever possible. Sunshine is extremely important for our immune system and our overall outlook on life.
- Be reasonable about gift-giving. I absolutely love giving gifts. The problem for us is that we do not have the money to buy the kind of gifts I would like to give to everyone. Each year, we look at our budget and decide how much we are able to spend on gifts, for whom we will be purchasing gifts, and then make up a realistic gift list before we ever go out shopping. This makes shopping less stressful. When we have time, we like to make something special for our friends and family. This year, we collected pretty shells on the beach all year long and are making beautiful Christmas ornaments out of our shells. Financial struggles are major stressors during the holidays. It helps to make it a point to live within our means and focus on the heart of love behind the giving rather than the monetary value of the gift. After all, that is what is most important anyway.
- Don’t try to live up to others’ expectations (or what we perceive those expectations to be). It is so important to be true to our own values and resist living to meet the perceived expectations of other people. Living life as we are meant to live it is refreshing and fulfilling. Anything else leaves us with stress and regrets.
- Slow down and enjoy those you love. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of times spent with family and friends during the holidays. They aren’t memories of gifts received or of elaborate events, but rather of being together with people who love me. We did a lot of laughing and talking while listening to Christmas music and sipping hot apple cider by the fire. These days, the pace of life is so much more hectic than when I was a child and it seems that each year brings the possibility of even more stress than the year before. Todd and I work to resist the urge to move at that fast pace and choose to slow down and simply enjoy having fun, intimate time with those we love. According to the Bible, laughter is good for the body– and that fits in with everyone’s wellness goals!
- Remember the reason we celebrate to begin with! It is all about Jesus Christ. Presents, trees, parties, and lights are just ways we celebrate. Too often we spend so much time and energy on how we celebrate that we forget why we are celebrating. How very sad our Father God must be when we lose sight of His Son during the holidays. As we purpose to keep Christ at the center of it all, Christmas becomes simply wonderful!
With these things in mind, we can ask the right questions to guide our clients toward decisions that will help them truly experience this holiday season as “the most wonderful time of the year”.
Here’s to a happy, healthy holiday season!
In addition to being a coach, consultant, motivational & pro-life speaker, childbirth educator, and doula, Kristin Schuchmann is the founder and executive director of Charis Childbirth, an international school for birth professionals. She and her family live in southwest Florida where they pastor New Life Church of North Port.