The Wellness Mindset: 3 Areas of Wellness to Focus on this Holiday Season

The holidays are meant to be a time of rest, relaxation, hibernation, gratitude, and togetherness. Unfortunately, modern society and commercialism have changed the meaning of our traditions. We no longer slow down to reflect and celebrate with the ones with love. Instead, we work ourselves even harder to afford the material gifts we feel so pressured to buy, and we celebrate by overindulging in foods that only increase our stress.

To combat the holiday blues and get back to the real meaning of the season, here are three different areas of wellness to start focusing on, with healthy tips and solutions to bring with you into the new year.

Mental wellness and combating anxiety

As the end of the year approaches our mental health is usually the first in terms of overall wellness to become unbalanced. Between the holiday stress, seasonal depression, and self-reflection, it can be difficult to find the joy we once felt as children during this time of year.

If you have not yet started a self-care routine, now is the perfect time to develop one! Start by penciling in the time to yourself and say no to anything that tries to get in the way of that. Even if only for 15 minutes a day, take a moment to step away from whatever is keeping you busy. Take a walk in the cold, brisk air and focus on your senses. What does it feel like to be cold? What do you hear? What do you see? Focus on your breath and repeat positive mantras before returning to what you were previously doing. Doing this allows you to enjoy being in the here and now, replacing your negative emotions with gratitude for the present.

If this time of year induces feelings of anxiety and depression, you’re not alone. Click here to read the post: Charlie Brown’s Guide to Holiday Depression.

Physical wellness and nutrition

Much of our end-of-year stress and anxiety can be controlled by giving a little extra attention to our physical wellness. Living a more active lifestyle can help keep some of that stress at bay. Try starting each day by completing a quick guided yoga session on YouTube, take a walking break in the middle of your workday, and get in a cardio or weight lifting session before you head home for dinner. Of course, not many of us can realistically fit this into our schedules every single day, but even implementing three to five days of exercise per week reaps significant physical and mental benefits. Not only will you begin to feel less bloated and more toned, but working out will give you more energy and can help clear your mind of negative thoughts.

Nutrition comes hand in hand with physical activity when trying to control stay healthy and stress-free. Some may even argue that if you had to choose between diet and exercise, you should choose diet. There are so many factors that keep us from eating healthily throughout the year– busy schedules make it tempting to grab take out on the way home and working at an office makes it easy to take one of those donuts up for grabs in the kitchen. The holidays only intensify those urges and increases opportunities to consume foods that make us feel bloated, sluggish, and depressed. Reports suggest that the average person gains between seven to ten pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year, setting you back when entering the new year and putting you at risk for weight-related diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

If comfort food is causing you to gain weight, consider joining a guided weight loss program that allows for flexibility in moderation so you don’t have to feel like you’re completely missing out on holiday celebrations. Check out this page dedicated to healthy and easy-to-make meals. Try bringing a few of these dishes to your next holiday party so you don’t have to feel like unhealthy options are your only choice!

Resolutions and goal setting

How many times have you made resolutions in December, but completely forgot about them by January or February? Chances are, you’ve set goals that are either too big or too broad. This year, try sticking to one thing– and get specific! Instead of setting out to “lose weight” this year, it helps to first focus on the bad health habits you currently have that need to be changed. Instead, focus on making it a goal to cut out processed foods, meal prep every Sunday, or quit smoking so workouts become easier and not so dreadful. From there, come up with your next step towards weight loss by writing out a measurable and achievable goal, for example, getting in a half-hour workout three times per week. Once you’ve mastered that, increase your goal to four days and so on. Setting smaller, more attainable goals and reevaluating as you go is much more effective than simply deciding on January 1st that you want to lose fifty pounds this year.

For more information on goal setting read this post on how to write a S.M.A.R.T. goal.

Closing Thoughts

The holidays can be a stressful time of year for many, but with a little effort, the holidays can provide us with a great opportunity to evaluate our current mindset and habits, and can set us up for our happiest, healthiest year yet!


Dear readers: This article was submitted by a wonderful guest author. I’d like to send out a great big thank you for the insightful and informative article that was shared with my readers.


Writing SMART Goals (with 3 free planning forms)

I am under the weather today, in fact for the past week. I haven’t left the house in over a week. If things don’t get better over the weekend, I’ll have to go to the doctor.

So, I decided  to repost a blog in place of my usual Fit by 50 blog. This one is perfect, since I am currently working on my fitness goals. I’m currently in the process of re-evaluating my goals, and will update you next week. Meanwhile, here’s a “how-to” on writing your own S.M.A.R.T. goals!


HERE’S THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

We all have dreams, but how often do we turn those dreams into goals and make them a reality?

A Harvard study showed that 83% of the US population do not have goals. (8) Of the people who do have goals, only 3 out of every 100 people write them down. (8) Did you know that 80% of the people who write down their goals, actually achieve them? (7)

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 GOALS! This is what successful people say is the key to success…

  • Have clear goals
  • Have a vision of where you are going
  • Think big-shoot for the top
  • Work hard-success takes work
  • Do your best-anything worth having is worth doing right.

Here’s a video which highlights how successful people think…

If the key to success in anything, whether it’s your education, job, or health, is a clear  vision of what you want, with proper goals … how, then, do we write a proper, clearly worded goal?

In my opinion, the best way, and the way I use is the S.M.A.R.T. technique. This is a technique taught in colleges and corporations throughout the world.

A proper goal must be S.M.A.R.T.:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relavent

Time-bound

  • S- specific- Be very clear and specific about what it is you want.
    • What do you want to accomplish?
    • Who will help you reach this goal?
  • M – measurable
    • How will the goal be measured?
    • How will I know when it’s accomplished?
  • A – attainable
    • How will the goal be accomplished?
    • What is the plan of action?
    • What steps need to be taken?
  • R – relavent
    • Why do you want to accomplish this goal?
    • Does the goal work in your life at this time?
    • Do I have the necessary resources to accomplish this goal?
    • Is this goal in line with my long term plans?
  • T – time-bound
    • How long will the goal take to complete?
    • What is the due date to accomplish this goal?
    • At what times of day will I work on the goal?

Cute Ways to Announce Your Big Wedding

Let’s look at an example. Saying I want to “get healthy” is far to general. HOW do you want to get healthy? Quit eating sugar? Quit smoking? Quit drinking? Lose weight?

Let’s pick lose weight, since this is a common goal among most people.

Here it is plugged into the S.M.A.R.T. technique.

  • SPECIFIC I will lose weight, with my husband as my accountability buddy.
  • MEASURABLEI will lose 10 pounds, and track this by weighing once a week.
  • ATTAINABLEI will lose weight by logging all meals, walking 10,000 steps a day, weight training twice a week and eating 1300 calories a day.
  • RELEVANTI am doing this in order to lower my blood pressure,  improve my blood sugar and increase my daily energy levels.
  • TIME-BOUNDI will lose 2 pounds per week and reach my goal in five weeks. My goal will begin on June 1, 2017 and end on July 6, 2017. 

HERE’S THE ENTIRE THING 

WRITTEN 2 DIFFERENT WAYS

  •  In order to lower my blood pressure, improve my blood sugar and increase daily energy levels, I will lose 10 pounds, – 2 pounds a week for 5 weeks, beginning on June 1, 2017 and ending on July 6, 2017, by weighing once a week, logging all meals, eating 1300 calories a day, walking 10,000 steps a day,  and weight training twice a week, with the help of my husband as my accountability buddy. 
  • In order to lower my blood pressure, improve my blood sugar and increase daily energy levels, I will lose 10 pounds, – 2 pounds a week for 5 weeks, beginning on June 1, 2017 and ending on July 6, 2017. This goal will be accomplished by:
    • weighing once a week
    • using my husband as my accountability buddy
    • logging all meals
    • eating 1300 calories a day
    • walking 10,000 steps a day
    • weight training twice a week

So, there you have it. I encourage you to write out your own goals using one of the forms below. After you have written your goal, put it on your fridge and bathroom mirror as a daily reminder. Remember, this works for any goal, in any aspect of your life.  Is it time to make your dreams come true?

Below are 3 different forms,

in order to help you

plan your own S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Pick the one that works best for you.

The first two are more general, simple forms:

smart-goals-template

PRINT your own S.M.A.R.T. goal template (4)

smart-goals-template-02

PRINT your own S.M.A.R.T. goals planning form

The third one is more specific,

including an action plan,

possible obstacles

and a network of support.

PRINT your own S.M.A.R.T. goals worksheet (5)

Your dreams are only your dreams until you write them down...Then they are goals!.png

Sources

  1. https://www.smartsheet.com/blog/essential-guide-writing-smart-goals
  2. http://www.hr.virginia.edu/uploads/documents/media/Writing_SMART_Goals.pdf
  3. http://trio.ucsd.edu/_files/staff_forms/SMART%20goal%20setting%20sheet
  4. http://www.timvandevall.com/wp-content/uploads/smart-goals-template.pdf
  5. http://templatelab.com/smart-goals/
  6. https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/science-says-92-percent-of-people-dont-achieve-goals-heres-how-the-other-8-perce.html
  7. http://www.ecowellnessnews.net/wp-content/uploads/Write-down-Goals.pdf
  8. http://www.goalband.co.uk/goal-achievement-facts.html