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Taking Care Of Yourself During The Holidays

Taking Care Of Yourself During The Holidays
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BY KITT WALSH

Although I abdicated making Thanksgiving to my eldest son and his wife years ago, this year l still made two pumpkin pies and one carrot cake, washed and ironed all the linens, dusted and vacuumed the entire house for guests and decorated the whole place before I sat down for breakfast.

So who am I to talk about taking care of oneself during the holidays?

Well, tonight I have a date with myself to take a bubble bath, made reservations to take my granddaughter to one of my favorite Christmas locations of all–George Washington’s Mt. Vernon–all decked out for the holidays, and arranged hitting a swanky hotel for my annual High Tea (and champagne) outing with my girlfriends over the holiday. I also do all my shopping online—avoiding the mania of the mall. As you see, I schedule time to do things I enjoy—not things I should do—and make sure, in this season of giving, to give myself a good time.

What else can you and I do to make sure we not only survive, but thrive this holiday season?

Enjoy abundance: I hope you didn’t diet over Thanksgiving, but indulged in that second helping of mashed potatoes and said “yes” to the whipped cream on your dessert. And don’t fret about the calories. Doctors will tell you that, over the age of 50, a little more padding helps protect your bones.

Be grateful you have enough to actually have too much. Share your abundance with others (a homeless shelter, a food pantry, the Red Cross, someone who can’t be with or has no family.)

Talk a long walk: Preferably with someone you love, even if that someone is canine. Fill your lungs with the cold air and smell winter coming. If you live in the South, enjoy the sun. Leave the TV behind in the stuffy house and have a good conversation (if only with yourself) as you stride along. Stretch your muscles, but the gym can wait. Don’t try to shove in a trip there and feel guilty when you don’t have the time.

Get enough rest: Easier said than done, I know. Fit in a nap whenever you can, even if it’s only a power nap before a party. We are old enough to organize and plan things well now, so get everything done early and get to bed on time. Hit the snooze button for a few minutes in the morning during the holidays whenever you can.

Buy an electric blanket: I used to think only old ladies used them and—voila! I’m now an old lady. On a cold night, the preheat setting makes sliding between the sheets pure heaven (and it helps your overworked bones and joints feel better, too.) Buy a body pillow for between your knees to help your hips while you sleep and if you have ready cash, splurge on a memory foam mattress.

Meditate or pray (or both): Start the day with 15 minutes alone by yourself. No TV, no newspaper, no coffee—just a window, a comfortable pillow or yoga mat on the floor and time to set your attitude by making a mental gratitude list. As it’s said: It’s hard to be hateful and grateful at the same time.

Give up caffeine: Try herb tea instead and see if your nerves don’t get less jangled. Put a drop of lavender essential oil on your pillowcase and your pre-bedtime washcloth. This ancient aromatherapy practically guarantees restful sleep.

Forgive everybody: Make it a holiday resolution to realize that everyone is stressed, rushed, overworked, and dealing with tensions like family, finances, travel and traffic and just forgive them all ahead of time. Don’t snap back if someone snaps at you. Don’t let your buttons get pushed by anybody—even your family. Realize when God made time, He made plenty of it and remember to breathe.

Control Your Expectations: I used to build dream holidays in my head and be disappointed when things didn’t go the way I had envisioned. That’s just premeditated disappointment. Now I enjoy my family and friends as they are, not as I expect they should be. They are enough, more than enough, and I am lucky to have them in my life, Let them know you love and appreciate them this holiday season and greet this time with wonder. Who knows what will happen next?

I’m looking forward to good things happening to me and mine this holiday season. I wish the same for you and yours.

 

 

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Kitt Walsh owns a web content company, Behind Blogs (http://www.behindblogs.com), is a regular contributor to CNN Money, a public speaker on Social Media, a book editor and ghostwriter, and freelances as a feature writer, editor and marketing consultant for magazines, newspapers and private clients around the world.