Tag Archives: holidays

Christmas Traditions

I love Christmas.  I love the meaning of Christmas.  I love Christmas music.  OK, well SOME Christmas music.  And I love traditions.  

A few I grew up with on Christmas Eve;

Hang stockings on the mantel, put cookies & milk out and open one gift.

Which always ended up being pajamas to wear that night.  Years later I learned it was so our Christmas morning pictures were of me & my sister in pretty PJ’s rather than our old time favorites.

I carried these traditions on with my son and added a few of my own;  

Scavenger Hunt.  His big prize was always at the end of a Scavenger Hunt. I’d start with an object, let’s say an apple.  He’d have to put the apple where it belongs.  When he got to the fruit bin, there would be, let’s say, a tube of toothpaste.  When he brought that to the bathroom there’d be a bag of chips or something out of character.  He’d put that away and find yet another item that didn’t belong there until at the end….. was his BIG gift from momma.

Homemade Ornaments.  We’d string together popcorn, cranberries & marshmallows and make ‘bird seed & peanut butter pine cones’ for the birds.  We made macaroni angels, puzzle piece wreaths & button snowmen ornaments.

12 Days of Christmas Gifts (my favorite) No not 9 ladies dancing and 5 golden rings.

I would give him gifts for the 12 days and he’d sing the song after opening each gift.  

The song might go something like this:

On the 12th day of Christmas, my mother gave to me

12 lunchables

11 dollar bills

10 pairs of socks

9 packs of gum

8 yogurt squeezes

7 go-pack snacks

6 english muffins

5 books for bedtime

4 boxer briefs

3 tonka cars

2 pepperoni sticks

and an ornament for the Christmas tree

 

I hope your Christmas is full of happiness & joy!

xoxo

Your God girl

Tracy

How to Have a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season

Oh the holiday season that is upon us! This most wonderful (yet busy) time of year is filled with food, festivities, gathering, decorating, shopping, and traveling. If you are anything like me, the sights, smells, and music all make this time of year so nostalgic and magical. But along with all of the magic comes the inevitable stress, overeating, last minute shopping, planning/hosting parties, and full calendars for the entirety of the month of December it feels like. 

Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK, which is crazy! But there is a 5 week period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s that we need to plan and prepare for. We all want to enjoy the holiday season and all of the fun and joy it brings, but we also want to do our best to maintain our healthy lifestyle that we’ve worked so hard for. And 6 weeks of festivities and parties and eating can sure do a number to our waistlines and all the hard work we’ve put in. 

The goal of today’s post is to help you feel confident going into this season and ready to take head on the temptations, reduce the stress, and simply enjoy! We’re going to talk about three of the most common “problems” people face this time and year when it comes to maintaining health and wellness and a few tips on how to maintain health given these potential barriers. I think everyone can agree that some of the biggest struggles in staying fit and healthy this time of year revolve around our time, food and drink, and overall stress

TIME

This time of year always seems to fly by. There are never enough hours in a day to get all of the items checked off our list it seems. In order for this season to not become overwhelming and no longer joy-full, we need to make a PLAN to maximize our time and priorities. 

If one of your priorities this holiday season is to continue to exercise and move your body, make a plan for it. Our bodies need just as much exercise during the holiday season as any other time of year. Plan your workouts/movement around travel or plan to move while you travel. Pack a pair of running shoes and some resistance bands. Even walking for just 30 minutes a day will keep you feeling good and keep you active and well. 

Here are some common “problems” or barriers around exercise that arise for people during this time of year and some solutions.

PROBLEM: There isn’t a gym at the hotel or grandma’s house (or wherever you are staying).

SOLUTION:  Body weight exercises are a great way to exercise when you have no equipment. Body weight exercises help to improve balance, coordination, core strength, and flexibility. Stair climbing, walking outside, lunges up and down the driveway, squats while you brush your teeth. 

Travel Tips- Pack those running sneakers and easy to carry equipment like a workout DVD or a jump rope. Those things easily can fit in your carry on or check on luggage. 

PROBLEM: There simply isn’t time to workout, Meghan! Shopping, decorating, cooking, running around…there is no time left for working out. 

SOLUTION: Use a Tabata Timer to do a quick HIIT routine. 

You can download a Tabata timer app on your phone. It’s simple- you do 8 rounds of exercise in 4 minutes. You can choose to do one exercise or two and alternate back and forth. You will complete 20 seconds of all out work followed by a 10 second rest for 8 rounds for a total of 4 minutes. Do a couple of tabata’s and I promise you will be sweating and your heart rate will be elevated…and you’ll feel so good afterwards! Exercises like squats, jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups, tricep dips, mountain climbers, and jumping rope are perfect to do with the Tabata timer. 

Second- plan your workouts! Because this season can be so hectic, it may be a good idea to institute early morning workouts for these few weeks. Getting a good morning sweat in will also help you to maintain those healthy habits and choices the rest of the day! If you can’t do 30 minutes to an hour at one go, split up your workout into 10 minute bouts throughout the day. 

PROBLEM: You’re family and friends don’t understand why you want to exercise. 

SOLUTION: Stick to YOUR goals! Don’t let others detract you from your plan and your wellness goals. Stay firm. Maybe invite them along. It’s a good way to de-stress and can be a fun family activity. 

Another family fun activity is to sign up and hit the road for your local Turkey Trot, which is typically a 5K race that you can run/walk. It’s a great way to get in some movement before you put on your stretch pants for your big dinner! 

FOOD AND DRINK

Cookies. Egg Nog. Casseroles. There is always plenty…and plenty of temptation. How can you overcome these temptations around all of the yummy foods and drinks this season?!

 

    Eat a pre-party snack. One trick I tell my clients if they are going to a party or out to a dinner where they know they could splurge and over-eat is to eat an apple before going! Apples are full of fiber and will help fill you up a bit before you even go to dinner, therefore you will consume fewer calories. This will help you to not overeat the bad stuff and keep your appetite in check. 

     Choose your beverages wisely. The holiday season inevitably comes with lots of alcohol consumption between the eggnog, wine, fancy cocktails, and social drinking. Drinking alcohol is consuming empty calories because it won’t curb those hunger pangs. Alcohol doesn’t provide satiety. It’s best to avoid mixed drinks that have a lot of sugar. The number of calories isn’t the issue per say, but rather the number of grams of sugar in these fancy holiday drinks. For example, 1 cup of eggnog typically contains 30-50 grams of sugar depending on the brand. Let’s remember that the daily recommended sugar intake is 25 grams for women and 37.5 grams for men according to the American Heart Association.

Eat your protein first. When we eat our main protein source first, we help to curb our hunger and keep our blood sugar in check. Eating protein can help to keep your insulin levels lower. Eating protein before a party or first thing at the party will help you to control your cravings for the other high calorie foods. 

Drink plenty of water. Drinking water helps to fill your stomach so that you feel fuller and won’t cave to those cravings as much. Try to drink a bottle of water en route to your party or drink several glasses throughout the party. 

Pick your cheat or “treat” meals and fully enjoy it. We all need a cheat meal! That is key to any sustainable life changes and finding balance. We can’t deprive ourselves all of the time, otherwise we will go off the deep end eventually and lose all progress. Each day during the holiday season, we are tempted with treats- whether leftover at home or sitting in the lobby at our office. We could easily consume cookies and pie everyday between Thanksgiving and New Year, which is 37 days by the way for 2020. Let’s say you are consuming an extra 300 calories per day of sweets and goodies, which is equal to about 2 cookies or a piece of cake or pie. This adds up to just over 11,000 calories which equals 3 pounds of fat! The average already overweight person gains about 5 pounds during the holiday season according to NY Times. A survey by Fitness Magazine and Jenny Craig in 2013 found that 47% of women gain 4-5 lbs during the holiday season. So what is the key? My suggestion is to enjoy those holiday parties and get together’s, which typically happen on the weekend, but that will require sacrifice throughout the week. Leave the cookies in the jar at the office and say no to any treats at home or that your kids bring back from school. Eating a reduced-calorie diet, higher-protein diet five days per week and enjoying a couple of holiday parties or get-togethers each week can easily result in maintenance of body weight through the holidays. 

  1. Try new recipes or try replacing ingredients in your favorite recipes with healthier ingredients.Try replacing the not so great ingredients with healthier options. It can be pretty simple to clean up your favorite recipes. Some of my favorite swaps include swapping oil for Greek yogurt in breads, applesauce instead of butter or margarine, whole wheat flour instead of bleached white all-purpose flour, veganaise instead of mayonnaise, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, honey or maple syrup instead of pure cane sugar. 
  2. Eat mindfully. Eating mindfully might be a new concept for you. Eating mindfully is simply being more aware of your eating experience. Paying closer attention, notice your thoughts, feelings, sensations of the food. Oftentimes we eat so mindlessly and just put whatever in our mouths and don’t think anything at all about the sensation, taste, texture, etc. Give your body 15-20 minutes to recognize if it is full or not before going back for seconds. 

STRESS

Over the years, this joyful time of year has transpired into a stressful, chaotic time of year for many. The holiday season shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be stress-filled. By using these 5 tips, hopefully you can reclaim your sanity and the season and say good riddance to the stress that every other year has brought you. 

 

  1. Be Realistic. Oftentimes we enter the holiday season with expectation in mind as to how things will go with certain family members, what food we will eat, what fun we will have, etc. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. Try to keep those expectations in check so that you don’t come away feeling disappointed and upset and so that you can be fully present and enjoy the time with family. 
  2. Plan Ahead. Planning ahead does take forethought and time but in doing so, it will greatly reduce your stress you feel later on once the crunch time comes. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup. Also, plan ahead with your budget! Our budget can easily fly out the window this time of year and then create immense stress come January. Think ahead, talk with your spouse or other family members and come up with a plan for your budget so you aren’t overspending and having to pay the repercussions of that later. Maybe instead of gifting to everyone this year, you can start a family gift exchange, or make homemade gifts for friends and co-workers. 
  3. Set Aside Differences. Everytime families come together, there will be differences in opinion, tradition, sometimes values, etc. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  4. Take a Breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. Some options may include: Taking a walk at night and stargazing .Listening to soothing music. Getting a massage. Reading a book.
  5. Learn to Say ‘No’. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time. Learning to say no is very powerful and freeing. Learning to say No then allows us the freedom to say yes to the things that really matter!

“The more you live in the extremes of all or none, good or bad, the more likely that’s going to get you into difficulty,” says Gary Foster, chief scientific officer for Weight Watchers International. “The key is that this is a lifestyle. When it’s an on-or-off diet or a boot camp mentality, that’s a short-term behavior. It’s destined not to work out very well.”

We don’t have to live in an all-or-nothing state of mind around the holidays. Starving to over-indulging. Feelings of deprivation to feelings of guilt. 

 Give yourself permission to enjoy but in reasonable portions and reasonable frequencies- not all the time and not the whole cheesecake. The goal is to strike a balance.  

I hope these tips will help lead you into a life-giving, balanced, and enjoyable holiday season.  If you need other accountability, book a health coaching session with me by emailing me at hello@homebodysoul.com. I offer a FREE 30-minute health coaching consult call if you’d like to set a plan in place for your holiday season.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

Please Pass The Eggnog

Please pass the eggnog.

Holiday party season is in full swing. Which means I get grilled. You get grilled. There is not a single person at a holiday party,gathering or function who is safe except maybe someone’s Grammy. As she should be as she is a big part of why we are all gathered and typically in my experience brings the best baked goods.

Please pass the eggnog.

Sadly that’s not what this blog is about.

It’s about that uncomfortable questioning that comes each holiday season.

It makes me so uncomfortable my eczema flares up. This year I was hoping my flare was because of my new tattoo, but I’ve been going to the same guy for five years with no issues. Also, said ink is nowhere near my flare up location.

It was because I had a holiday work event with new people and I knew I would get questions about my plans for the holidays.

Which honestly is a perfectly acceptable thing to ask. It’s people’s reactions to my answers that can be tough.

At  this year’s gathering I was asked what I was doing for the holidays to which I said my family was visiting from the East Coast.

I then was asked if we spent time with my husband’s family.

No. I’m not married. Divorced.

Oh … you’re not married. Remarried?

No

Oh. Do you have a boyfriend.

Ummm… well kinda, it’s new so…

So just you and your daughter?

Well…

Oh that’s too bad.

Wait, wait, wait. First of all it’s not just me and my daughter. It’s her grandparents and aunt, uncles, cousins. AND even if it was just us, WHICH it has been many times we have traditions in place.

Like our gingerbread house that gets attacked by dinosaurs that we build every year no matter what. It gets attacked because frankly gingerbread houses are hard.

Cookie baking.

Hanging out in jammies all day on Christmas.

Going to a movie.

Pizza!

Yule log for breakfast!

My Christmas may not fit the mold but it’s mine and hers and even at what I thought was the hardest and worst she didn’t, and shame on me I shouldn’t have either because I had her.

At the end of the day as hard as it is to answer the questions and feel like it’s not perfect, remember and I believe Noelle sings a similar song on the regular… it’s about moments. It’s about time. It’s about each other.

I sometimes forget I have the best Christmas gift of all, she’s eleven, she’s almost taller than me and it does make me giggle that singing Jump Around at the top of my lungs embarrasses her a little.

In the meantime though, maybe pass me some eggnog with a little something extra in it.

Remember Mommas we got this and I got you.

Much love and Happy Holidays,

~~Caprise

Single Mom of the amazing Dbl G
Teacher
Sometime DJ
T-shirt collector
Henry Rollins Middle Aged Punk Prom Date

Find Gratitude During The Holidays

Happy holidays everyone!

This time of year can be stressful for many people.

Today I am grateful I am home with my family and not in the hospital. Yesterday I was in the hospital with pneumonia and a blood clot. Thankfully my body was breaking it down on its own, the doctors gave me some anticoagulant to help it along and gave me the green light late last night to go home.

Even our darkest moments can are usually are blessings in disguise, whether we see it or not just depends on our perspective

While I was in the hospital, I became very scared. It was a time of self reflection for me and I realized some reservations holding me back in my everyday life. The biggest scare of the year has helped me shed things I was unaware of and get back to being me. I am grateful to spend Christmas with my children, and that I am here another day. No more reservations or second guessing myself. I know who I am and what I need to do to keep moving forward, so that when the time comes ( albeit I hope not anytime soon) I can close my eyes with no regrets. Much love to you all!

Always be unapologetically true to yourself,

-Ali Heikke

Holiday Realness

I’m sitting writing something I wasn’t going to.

My sadness at being without G during the holidays.

It is the reality of being a single parent during the holidays. It’s a choice you make. It doesn’t make it any less hard.

On everybody.

Luckily we have gotten G to a place where she revels in multiple meals, knows Santa will find her and cherishes her different traditions.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not all lollipops and roses and my anxiety raises starting in October, because I know it means behind the scenes I have to start holiday negotiations and frankly it’s awful. It just is.

I try really hard to keep my chin up,but this year in particular I fell on my face. My chin dragged on the floor the minute I called her from my office to say goodbye. Knowing I wouldn’t see her for the next few days.

Truth bomb when she is here typically we are in the same room on our respective electronics, but she’s HERE.

It’s especially lonely when you’re alone. I don’t have anyone I go home to. OK, my golden doodle and while he is majestic…it’s not the same.

While at work I watched as the families are excited about plans with loved ones. Running errands at Target, families stuffing carts. At my favorite wine shop where I got two bottles of wine, couples making negotiations about how Thanksgiving is going to go.

So I wear a lot of waterproof mascara, try to stay away from social media and keep to myself.

Pro tip: maybe John Mayer’s song Stop this Train, while an absolutely beautiful song should be avoided. You may burst into tears. In you car. In the Target parking lot.

Here’s the thing, G needs time with her Dad and his family. It’s so important to have those traditions and I wouldn’t dream of taking that time away. But this is the same guy who lets her stay up late and thinks pizza is a food group. So I worry. I miss her. I get lonely. As much as people say the holidays are hard for people and be compassionate, when it’s in their face it isn’t as easy to deal with as they post on Facebook. Sadly those are things you find out as a single parent. Not everyone is here to hold your hand. Friendsgiving invites are few and far between.

I think it’s harder this year for me because she’s hitting an age where she needs me less. Which will DEFINITELY be a blog for another day.

I’m a pretty independent person but I’m human.

“I have a happy personality with a heavy soul. Sometimes it gets weird.”

However, I am lucky. I have some people I can reach out to. Which as a guarded girl I still struggle with. Here’s the thing being sad doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human. So last night I poured a glass of wine, and chatted with one of my favorite fellow single Moms. I set some boundaries for myself. I had a good cry.

I snuggled with my majestic doodle. I let myself be sad.

The holidays are hard. Remember not everything is easy and that’s ok. You don’t have to be tough all the time. But maybe remember to let people in. Breathe. Share. I know it’s hard.

Let people love you. Let people hold your hand. Find the people you can chat with at 1030 at night who let you swear like a pirate, cry and make silly promises.

Give yourself a moment.

You got this Mama.

I believe in you.

~~Caprise

Single Mom of the amazing Dbl G
Teacher
Sometime DJ
T-shirt collector
Henry Rollins Middle Aged Punk Prom Date

2018 Approaches Another Year To Put Behind Us

And here we go, the countdown into the Holiday Crazies and 2018…another year to put behind us and another year to create in front of us.  2017 was the end of a lot of things for me, mainly my corporate Executive Team position with Dreamstime.   Most of you know that after almost 15 years I stepped down to spend more time with my family and to do the work that I feel compelled to do in the world…it has been a time of transition and 7 months later there are still days when I feel complete and utter terror, however I also feel a sense of freedom and right choice.  I know without a doubt that I made the right decision and I look forward to starting the year fresh with my own company and not having to worry about what other people are doing.

I am starting to think about making a list of all the things that were accomplished in 2017 and all of the things that need to be left behind, behaviors, attitudes, conditions and in some cases people.  I am feeling like 2018 is going to be an amazing year filled with miracles that we don’t even expect.  Soon I will start talking to you guys about writing down goals for 2018, so start thinking about that—if you could accomplish ANYTHING in 2018 what would that be??

Also start thinking about what needs to be left behind you as we enter into this new season–and what in 2017 you are grateful for.  The more work we do on being complete and preparing for the new year that we want to manifest, the better things will be.  We will keep talking about this….

 

Noelle

 

Stress Of The Holiday Season

Quite frankly the last ten days or so have just sucked. I am not feeling it. By not feeling it, I am referring to much of anything. Just Blah-I don’t know if it’s the daylight savings time and the weather change or just the combination of a bunch of things. I have been trying to get out of my “funk” and have been failing at doing so. Yesterday my blog was to write about blessings, which I have many. So honestly, I need to get it together and get over the whining. I am sure you have all said this to yourself a few times and it’s way easier said/thought than done on occasions. I am having an occasion 🙂 Some personal stress, work stress, haven’t been feeling well, and the kids’ schedules are just so darn crazy that there never seems to be a slow down moment.  All of these things are certainly blessings and are nothing major that cannot be fixed. I am thankful to have all the things that are causing me stress.  And if I think back it seems the Holidays are ALWAYS like this for us. As we start to approach the Holidays, I can see it all unfolding again and setting up to be the same.  I cannot say that it’s all based on that as the next few weeks are my favorite time of the year! Today though, I feel like the season is contributing to how I feel.  Today I am wallowing in self pity and probably shouldn’t be leaving a blog 🙂 Today, I need your help!

I am curious as to some of the ideas and things you do to help tone down the stress of the Holiday season?

 

Love to All-Kim