I don’t know if it’s coming off the crazy election period or if the extended Texas summer (we hit upper 80’s on Wednesday!) has us stupored by holidays zooming in from around the corner. But rather than let stress/pressures knock us down why not fight to find the reason of the season – joy, peace & goodwill toward men – in the midst.
I’m grabbing a moatblog idea floated last year and putting it back into practice. Want to join me in Hydrating for the Holidays? Let’s take a cue from seasoned athletes and start hydrating today in preparation for tomorrow’s race. Because who wants to be caught parched with tanks running low when faced with invitations (or lack of thereof!), gifting, packaging, decorating, Christmas-carding & all the comparing/measuring up that comes along for the ride.
Beyond water/juice, there are a few things we can do to fill our tanks TODAY so the reason for the season won’t get lost in the mix and the mad dash to Christmas won’t grinch-stealing our attention.
So – over the next several days, I’ll share a few hydrating tips plus some practical water-station stops.
Here’s to a joy-filled 2016 holiday season! Because maybe the real holiday comes when we focus less on getting, more on giving; less on doing, more on being; less on self, more on others.
#1 Pump-Up the Gratitude
According to NSMI (Sports-medicine experts) warm-up/stretching is of essential importance to fitness. The warm–up should gently prepare the body for exercises by gradually increasing the heart rate and circulation; this will loosen the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles. Stretching the muscles prepares them for physical activity and prevents injuries.
I’m all for preventing injury – not only in traffic, busy malls and the like, but also injuries of the heart. Thankfulness is the warmup to do just that. It gets our hearts beating for and our eyes focused on something other than ourselves.
Have you ever considered the fact that Thanksgiving comes BEFORE Christmas? What terrific opportunity to practice/warm-up so we’re fully functioning when all the holiday-crazies tempt us to believe that we’re lacking, falling behind, and in desperate need of things.
Buttressing the barrage of “what do you want”, “what did you get”, “where are you going”, “what are you wearing”‘s of the holidays with a steady foundation of gratitude for what we already have can smooth uncertain landscapes. Sure it might sound cheesy, but it works.
- When walking into Costco and my eyes are bombarded by all the latest & greatest televisions, phones, coffee-makers, even cars (!) – start ticking off the great things we already have. So what if we still use an iPhone 4. It’s a phone with a screen! It wasn’t long ago that I fought my way through trying to text on a flip phone. (My sweet father-in-law still does: 4-4 “H”, 4-4-4 “I” => Hi )
- When our budget is a bit low thanks to major oral issues that ran rampant through our house during the month of October – 8 impacted wisdom teeth, 2 baby-teeth abscesses, and an implant that still is on hold (sounds like a depressing 12-Days of Christmas :) Why not choose to be overwhelmed by gratitude for the wonderful dentists & oral surgeons. Instead of being overwhelmed or feeling like a victim of crummy circumstance, be thankful we live in a day and age where medical technology makes these things a lot more comfortable than in days gone by. Count our blessings that an oral-abscess is treatable and not deadly like they used to be.
- When the words “Your rack and pinion steering need to be replaced” grab more from that limited, now non-existent budget, fight for thankful and rest in provision. That car has been wonderful for years. It has safely transported our crew to and from school hundreds (thousands!) of times. It has prompted countless thought-provoking conversations, endured hours of off key singing-along-with-the-radio, lived through 3 student drivers and so much more.
Gratitude dials down stress. It promotes a re-focus and infuses life-giving oxygen into almost any situation. After fighting to find it, words like “Go ahead and replace it” to a trusted mechanic float a lost more easily off the tongue.
Practicing gratitude isn’t always easy. So, here’s a water-station stop to help they hydration flow.
Water Station 1: Clutter Control
The simple, yet slightly time consuming, act of decluttering can not only make us physically feel better, but can almost instantly bombard us with the reality of ALL the stuff we already have – a complete counter-balance to the pressures of want.
Proven scientific benefits of decluttering include:
- Stress reduction
- Improved Focus
- A sense of accomplishment
- Improves Your Environment
- Boosts Your Mood
So take some time today to clean out a drawer or fill a couple of bags from your closet. Put in in your car and deliver it to a donation-truck. And remember, as Ethel Sexton, one of Dallas’ greatest garage-sale shoppers used to say: “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Just ask our youngest who, today, is wearing a handed-down polo-shirt. In fact most of his wardrobe is from a friend whose youngest has outgrown his clothes. Some favorites for which we are super thankful.
How does/can gratitude help you navigate holiday pressures?
Thanks for walking the road with me.