The holiday season has just passed once again. It’s that once a year, two week long event that is identified by its hallmarks of family, food, and cold weather. It’s a fun and important time to slow down and acknowledge the positive forces of friends, family, and community. Yet there can be an unmistakable pressure blooming in the mind during this time. I want to talk a little bit about that and give a few tips for maintaining wellness during the holidays, and recovering afterwards if you didn’t do so well.
First, a few words about “wellness,” what it is, and what it is not. Wellness is more than merely not being sick. It means being aware of the areas of one’s life that directly affect both physical and mental health and being proactive in cultivating healthy practices in those areas. So practicing wellness is not just being aware that you have high cholesterol, for example. It’s consciously dealing with that reality in every choice you make throughout the day. As your read through these tips, take stock of what you did during this time and how you felt, and where you are right now, two weeks on.
1. Step Away from the iPad
Or the iPhone, or the office. It can be difficult to pull yourself away from work tasks and office routines even for a couple days when the time actually comes. Don’t check your email. Avoid checking your devices not just because no one expects you to (you’re not at work, remember) but because your attention is best served elsewhere. Whatever you’ve got in your inbox will be there when your family event is over. Relax as much as you can and keep all work-related activities between the ears.
Were you more connected to your device or your friends and family over the holidays? Did you check your phone at dinner? Excuse yourself to take a business call?
2. Avoid Excess
The holidays are a time for exceptions and excess. Because the normal work week gets disrupted, friends and family come in to town, there are plenty of parties and “good cheer.” Life is much the same, but the joys and the sorrows are amplified. We eat and drink more. Somehow we are more keenly aware of the delicacy of life and death, the wondrous give and take of relationships. Don’t take these disruptions in your routine as a free pass to excess. As the commercials say, enjoy responsibly and keep yourself in shape for number three.
I hope you were responsible over the holidays. If not, what excuse did you make for your behavior? How do you view it now?
It’s a cliche, but the holidays provide a real opportunity for reflection. In reality, when surrounded by family and friends, some of whom we may not see very often, it’s hard not to reflect on life. I want you to make those reflections count. Avoiding unnecessary distractions like technology and work, as well as keeping your consumption in check, should help you keep a clear head during this time.
So how did you do over this holiday season? Did you feel a sense of balance? Did you feel closer to or more distant from those around you? How can you change your behavior to improve your overall experience? Let me know in the comments or connect with me on Twitter @DoubledareCoach.