From Surviving to Thriving During the Holidays

Hay House Radio Episode Recap

  • Episode Name: “From Surviving to Thriving During the Holidays”
  • Live Broadcast: November 13th, 2018 at 12:00 pm Pacific Time
Episode Replays: Tuesdays at 9:00 pm Pacific Time / 12:00 am Eastern Time, Saturdays at 2:00 pm Pacific Time / 5:00 pm Eastern Time, Sundays at 4:00 pm Pacific Time / 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Episode Summary Re-cap

Even though the holidays are supposed to be a time of love and joy, many people feel stressed and depressed. Whether it’s family challenges, cold weather, sugary foods, lack of sleep, or too many responsibilities, the holidays can be trying times. This year, let’s focus on solutions for making the holidays a time of self-care, renewal, and fun! We’ll cover my top 7 strategies to maintain your health and sanity during the holidays and make it a time to stay grounded in your healthy habits and thrive!

If You Think You’re Enlightened, Spend Time with Family

Spiritual luminary, Ram Dass once said,

“If you think you are so enlightened, go and spend a week with your parents.”

Well, if there’s ever a perfect time to see how enlightened we are, it’s during the holidays. Parties, travel, lack of sleep, shopping malls, staying with family, too much sugary food and libations, broken expectations, and often, piles of stress. Or sometimes, you may find yourself on the opposite end of the spectrum, isolated and lonely. The holidays can be amazing and also, a perfect storm of stress and challenges.

How to Thrive During the Holidays

I remember the early days of recovering my health. I was still fresh with new habits and vulnerable to relapsing into all the old, bad behaviors of my past. The holidays terrified me. In the past, I’d make promises to myself about how “good” I’d be at sticking to my healthy food and self-care, but by the time I got to my parents’ home – full of cakes, pies, cookies and goodies – I’d cave in. “Just this week,” I’d tell myself. But you know the story…weeks turned into months. Finally, after a lot of shame and self-blame for not having the willpower, I’d pick myself back up and start over again.

The year I truly recovered, I decided to do things differently. No more stress, fear, shame or self-blame. No more broken promises to myself. Instead, I was going to be armed with strategies to not just survive (with my commitments to myself intact), but to thrive! I mean, we all deserve to enjoy the love and celebration of the holidays, don’t we? Here are some tips to do this!

Holiday Thriving Tip #1 – Prep, Clear, Plan and Budget

As part of my recovery, I studied successful people. It’s not that there was something extra special about them, I learned. It’s that they had strategies, systems. They made plans. They set expectations. This tip not only helped me thrive during the holidays, it’s helped hundreds of clients I’ve worked with over the years!

Prep – Identify Your Ideal Vision For The Holidays

Let’s face it, most of us just show up for parties and family gatherings and go with the flow when we get there. Then afterward, we may go over lists of disappointments. Not anymore. This time, you’re going to identify what YOU want for your holiday season. Grab a pen, your mobile device or whatever you use to take notes. Sit down and visualize your ideal holiday season experience. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you get stuck:

  • How do I want this holiday season to be?
  • How do I want to feel?
  • What kind of time do I want to take for myself?
  • What pace would feel good for me (e.g., number of parties to attend, shopping to do, cooking, cleaning, decorating, travel)?
  • What do I need, ideally, to feel balanced?
  • Who do I want to be this season (or, how would it look if I were at my best)?

Write down what your ideal holiday would look like, then visualize it. The best business people and Olympic athletes use this technique because your body believes what your mind thinks. You are essentially playing a movie in your mind, sort of like a dress rehearsal, so you’ll know even more intimately how you want to be.

This vision is not about how other people behave or about exactly what happens and how it happens. It’s about how you will feel and what you’ll do to take care of yourself. It’s about the boundaries you want to set for yourself and what it feels like to be balanced. It puts you into the driver’s seat about the choices you’ll be making.

Clear – Do A Heart Chakra Meditation To Clear Out Family Challenges

We all have that one (maybe more!) family member who is tricky to spend time with. Perhaps this person is controlling, judgmental, or difficult in general. My client, Janey, came to me during the holidays worried that her trip home was going to be yet another disaster. “My father always judges me. No matter what I say, he tells me I’m wrong, challenges my decisions, and basically treats me like I’m 12. I can’t talk to him. We argue every time and I spend the whole trip feeling belittled.” I had Janey do this heart chakra meditation and by the time we met after her trip, she was astounded. “We got along! He actually listened to me!” I’ve had so many clients (and myself!) experience the same thing that this is one of my favorite tips. It’s called the heart chakra clearing meditation.

Sit or lie down in a comfortable location. Breathe deeply in and out. Breath in the energy of love and feel it surrounding your whole body. See the person or people you are having challenges with. See them breathing love into their bodies. Now, see all the energy concentrating around your hearts, so that only your hears and energy exist in your picture of your mind. See yourselves communicating from this place, where your hearts see, feel, and know one another’s greatest good. See it being easy to communicate, where words aren’t even necessary because it’s all energy filled with love. See everyone understanding one another with love. Feel what it feels like to be bathed in unconditional love and understanding. Allow your heart chakras to join together, trusting that true communication has taken place. Trusting that this energy will do all the work for you when you’re with your family.

Plan – Get Out Your Calendar And Make A Schedule

This is the practical part of tip #1 and it’s a great way to ensure you follow through on the commitments you’ve made to yourself. There’s only so much time in the calendar during the holidays and yet, so many of us try to pack in more than is humanly possible! As you put your appointments, parties, and “to do’s” right on your calendar (yes, even your to do’s need a time slot so you can be realistic!), notice what your days look like.

Now notice how it feels as you look at what’s on your plate for that time period. Do you feel excited and energized or tired and stressed? If you don’t see enough white space or opportunities for rest and self-care, start removing things from your calendar. This includes the days you’re with family. If they like to pack in activities to the hilt and you like more rest, build that rest in and be prepared to set a boundary around your self-care time!

The key here is to find out what you want to take off your plate. Maybe you’re saying no to certain activities or parties, delegating more tasks at home and work, or deleting the commitment altogether. Make yourself number one here – because a happy, healthy you means you’re bringing your best self to the table with others.

Hold true to your schedule as if you’d made a promise to a paying client. This schedule is a boundary and it’s a great opportunity to practice healthy boundaries!

Budget – Create A Spending Plan For The Holidays

Many people get stressed about finances during and after the holidays due to over-spending. This year, make a budget based on what you can afford. You can also get creative about gift-giving. My client, Terry, had 10 siblings and many nieces and nephews, which made gift-giving expensive and overwhelming. One year, she initiated a discussion with her family about each choosing a name from a hat and giving a gift to one other person. She was surprised at how relieved everyone was and how well-received her idea was. Terry’s family has been doing this for 6 years now and it’s become one of their favorite traditions.

My client, Susan, started making gifts. One year, she created herbal teas from bulk herbs and spices she purchased at a savings and make beautiful handmade labels. Another year, she made homemade cookies and put them on beautiful antique plates purchased at a bargain. Last year, she made candles for everyone with handpicked crystals inside. She’s been thrilled about how her gifts have been cherished by her family and how much money she’s saved.

Rebecca, another client of mine, started a tradition in her family of regifting books they’d read and loved. Each family member picked a favorite book from their own collection to give to another family member. Since they all love reading, this has created a sense of joy and connection for all of them.

Holiday Thriving Tip #2 – Create a Self-Care Routine (Yes, Especially During The Holidays!)

I bet you learned some things in tip #1 with your ideal holiday vision and your ideal calendar, right? Time for yourself is critical! Every client I’ve had over the years who stays balanced with self-care during the holidays reports back to me that they’re not sure if things went so well because they were different or if it was because their family was different. The thing is, as you shift your energy, it shifts the energy around you!

Self-care is how you stay balanced so that you feel healthier, happier and calmer. What helps you feel your best? Make a list and add this to those white spaces (empty spaces) in your calendar from tip #1. Some popular options I’ve heard from my clients have been: rest, meditation, yoga, exercise, time with dear friends, baths, sitting by the fire, reading books, and listening to soft music while meditating.

It’s also important to practice self-care when you’re traveling or spending time with family – whether they are at your house or you’re at theirs. If you need alone time, take it! My client, Stacy, was always the “perfect host,” and never took time to herself when family visited. In our session, we planned a self-care routine where she’d go out for a walk alone or take time in the middle of the day to meditate or exercise. She was afraid her family would think she was abandoning them, but she found out that the time away was helpful for everyone!

Here’s my favorite stress-busting mineral bath for a deeply healing self-care routine. This is wonderful if you’re energetically sensitive and pick things up from others in malls or wherever you go.

Holiday Thriving Tip #3 – Create Nourishment, Happiness, And Resilience
Rituals, Ceremony, And Gratitude

The Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) have a Midwinter ceremony as a way to honor the change in seasons and express gratitude. During this time, dreams are shared and acknowledged, ceremonies are held to support and honor the healing of all people. This includes any problems, traumas, or challenges that happened during the last year. Thanksgiving prayers are recited to express gratitude for all of life and the natural world. These ceremonies have been a tremendous support to their happiness and resilience.

Stay Present For Quality Time

Inevitably, someone will get angry or upset when family is together for the holidays. Most likely, the stress has built so much that they are giving in to that spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle calls the “pain body.” When they yell, it activates the pain body in those around them. Tolle says this is why most people start fighting because everyone is taken over. He suggests that instead, you focus on staying present when someone else starts getting mad and yelling. Drop our attention into your body and just feel into the energy of your inner body. Instead of jumping to defense, listen without judgment. See if you can stay present and balanced so that the pain body doesn’t take you over.

According to Tolle, when one person holds the space of presence, it deflates the pain body in others and everyone is able to communicate better. I’ve tried this in my own life and it works! And it’s worked for so many of my clients over the years that is seems like magic. The trick is, don’t get all spiritually superior or tell the person to stay present like you are. Simply speak from the energy of presence without judgment and see what happens. My clients have told me that this allows them to have truly quality time with their family.

Use Light To Boost Mood

If you get depressed during the holiday season, consider a Happy Light to boost mood. You sit in front of it for 30 minutes and the extra light signals your good mood brain chemicals. Other light ideas that I love are: sit in front of a fire, use fairy lights all over your house, and light candles. Full spectrum light bulbs in your lamps and overhead lights are also incredibly helpful for boosting mood.

Upgrade Your Nourishment

I have a medical doctor who practices nutrition and functional medicine. Every time I see him and we talk about healthy food, he says,

“You can’t do anything without fuel. Fuel is power.”

And he’s right! There’s a tremendous amount of research piling up about the gut-brain connection to the point where science is now going first to the gut for the root cause of depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.

Food was the first thing that ruined all my best intentions during the holidays before I finally recovered. What I learned is that when all that delicious, amazing looking food was right in front of me, I felt deprived if I couldn’t eat it. I saw everyone else enjoying it and felt like the oddball, the person who wasn’t normal. So the year I recovered, I decided I was going to bring my own food. It had to be beautiful (good looking) and delicious (my favorite home-run recipes). I showed up with my own food or if I was hosting, I’d make a variety of foods to meet people’s needs. Sometimes, I’d make my own recipes so everything was healthy (and no one knew it was “healthy” or different!). Other times, I’d ask guests to bring their favorite dishes, so everyone was happy.

What I learned over the years is that people loved my food! It’s how I started writing recipes – because I’d constantly be asked for them. My family and friends would see what I was eating and want to taste it. They were actually jealous about my healthy food! Over the years, many of my family members began eating better because of those holiday foods I made. They realized they felt better and wanted to keep it going after the holidays. Below, I’m sharing my favorite recipes with you, so that you have some options. They are all designed to eliminate cravings, strengthen your willpower (by balancing your blood sugar), and deeply nourish mind and body.

Make sure to share the cooking responsibility with family and friends!

Thanksgiving Menu and Recipes from Loving Yourself to Great Health with Paleo and Vegan Options

Vegan Chocolate Pecan Pie

Vegan Pumpkin No-Egg Nog

Healthy Cocktail Recipes

Pumpkin Cookies with Vanilla Cardamom Frosting

Paleo Carrot Cake

Use Healing Herbs And Spices

The herbs and spices in your cupboard are some of the most antioxidant and nutrient-packed foods in our food system today! Many studies have been done on their medicinal value. Both Loving Yourself to Great Health and The Bone Broth Secret are packed with tips on using medicinal spices. Here are some ideas:

Herbs and Spices for Heart Health

Medicinal Spices

Mood-Boosting Lemongrass

Use Healing Supplements To Reduce Stress And Aid Digestion

Here are some of my favorites:

Supplements to support your stomach acid and digestion

Minerals To Reduce Stress And Boost Energy

My favorite wide-based liquid mineral supplement is Anderson’s Sea MD. Minerals are the spark plugs of your cells, controlling every important enzymatic function. They feed your adrenals (anyone with adrenal fatigue?) and help them produce energy. Minerals support your digestion and anchor your energy if you’re highly sensitive. They also calm your nervous system, boost energy, reduce the feeling of stress and support deeper sleep. They are your holiday helper! To learn more, read: More Energy, Less Stress: Balancing Your Minerals

Berberine For candida And SIBO

Berberine is an all natural anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial that is a constituent of several plants, such as goldenseal. It has a positive effect on many systems in the body. It was once used as a natural candida remedy and is now being used successfully with SIBO (also for anti-inflammatory, lowering triglycerides and weight loss). Experts are recommending 3 capsules of Thorne Berberine per day…however, go slowly. Start with one capsule and see how you do. Then build from there once you are sure you are tolerating it.

Join Me in My Kitchen for Gut-Healing Foods and Broths!

This non-profit video class is part of The Wellness Project by Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation.

In this Gut-Healing Broths and Foods online video replay class and cooking demonstration, we are going to cover:

  • The Basics of Gut Health
  • Little-Known Gut-Health Issues and Solutions
  • Demonstrations: How to Make Gut-Healing Bone Broth and Energizing Veggie Broth
  • Gut Health and Methylation

This is a 3-hour video replay with cooking demonstrations. Registration is on a sliding scale, starting at free and you’ll receive on-demand access to the video recording.

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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!