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A Fresh Approach to Thriving at Home and at Work During the Holidays

A Fresh Approach to Thriving at Home and at Work During the Holidays

Guest Blog

As accomplished, professional women, we are well aware of the immense pressure and stress that comes with balancing work, family, and personal well-being. As we enter the fourth quarter of the business cycle and the end of the calendar year, that pressure is amplified because now we’re juggling the demands of our professional and personal lives while simultaneously preparing for the holiday season.

Society has conditioned women to believe that success requires sacrifice. We often sacrifice essential needs such as sleep, exercise, and healthy eating in order to meet work deadlines, coordinate family holiday plans with the spouse, help the oldest complete college applications, get the middle one to soccer practice, and find a tutor for the youngest who is struggling with new math. It’s a lot, and we end up feeling exhausted and unable to enjoy the rewards of our hard work fully. 

I speak from personal experience. And you understand, yes?

Three Strategies to Support Your Well-Being

Here's some exciting news: You can have it all this holiday season without sacrificing your well-being or joy. I also speak from personal experience. To do it, you need a fresh approach encompassing three crucial life aspects - your mind, body, and nutrition. 

If you want to thrive, then it is imperative for you to prioritize three strategies that will support your mental health, physical well-being, and nutrition during this time of year. Maintain optimal performance through the end of the year with your breath, movement, and sustenance.

Deep Breathing Twice a Day

Yes, you’re breathing all the time, but it’s on auto-pilot. Thankfully so, but breathing on autopilot when you’re stressed isn’t serving you. Taking intentional deep breaths instead can restore balance and enhance your well-being. 

Deep breathing exercises help activate the body's relaxation response, which reduces stress hormones and promotes a sense of calmness. When consciously focusing on the breath, oxygen flow to the brain increases, which improves mental clarity, concentration, and decision-making abilities. Pausing to practice intentional breathing techniques boosts natural energy with increased oxygen intake and enhanced circulation throughout the body. 

Follow the four simple steps below at least twice a day and anytime you want a mental refresh:

  1. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. When you take a deep breath in, you should feel the hand on your abdomen rising higher than the one on your chest.
    *It is only necessary to use your hands while you are training your breathing. Once you feel comfortable, you can place them in any relaxed position.
  2. Take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of five.
  3. Slowly blow out your breath through your mouth for a count of five.
  4. Repeat for a total of 6 cycles, 1 full minute.

Here at GAIN, we coach clients to incorporate mindful breathing practices into daily routines to help them navigate challenges with greater resiliency while fostering a sense of inner peace.

Intentional Pursuit of Activities

Learning to embrace the intentional pursuit of activities will help revitalize your mind and body. What do we mean by intentional pursuit? For some people, it’s learning to say no. It’s easy to overcommit during the holidays, especially if you’re running a business, juggling family commitments, and attending holiday parties. Learning to say no as a way to protect your well-being - your sanity - at this time of year may be beneficial. 

Intentional pursuit may also involve immersing yourself in mindfulness, meditation, journaling, or other centering self-care practices that help alleviate stress. Dedicating time to move your body - walking, running, yoga, rowing, dancing, anything that gets you moving - will help to amplify energy levels. If finding an hour to work out feels impossible right now, then a ten-minute walk after lunch can work wonders, and so can 10 to 20 wall push-ups and wall squats between your daily conference calls.

It's crucial to recognize that self-care is not a selfish act; instead, it is an investment in your capacity to excel. By examining your schedule and what’s on your plate, we can identify moments where self-care can be seamlessly integrated as well as recognize where you may be overcommitted, so you can pull back. Embark on a journey of self-nurturing and care with these simple changes.

Mindful Nutrition

The holiday season often presents an array of tempting indulgences that can easily disrupt even the most disciplined eating routines. However, by adopting a mindful approach to nutrition, you can uphold peak performance during this period, while also supporting your broader health objectives. And occasionally indulge.

Use these three proactive measures to help you enjoy the treats of the season without wrecking your eating routine.

  1. Plan and prepare nourishing meals in advance to avoid relying on unhealthy options like takeout during busy work days or family gatherings.
  1. Before heading into the breakroom and to holiday functions teaming with high-calorie, low-nutrition options, drink water. Drink 8 to 16 ounces of water before you start nibbling. First, you are helping yourself stay hydrated, and second, since you feel full, you are less likely to go overboard with the cheesecake, charcuterie boards, and cookies that are plentiful this time of year. 
  1. Remember, you’re not a bear getting ready to hibernate for the winter, so you don’t need to eat like one. Shift your mindset. Before a gathering, think about all your favorite holiday indulgences, and then tell yourself the following: I can have family favorites more than one day a year. I don’t need to eat any more than feels comfortable for me. My stomach is so small, and it doesn’t take much for me to feel full.

Embrace the Importance of Self-Care

By focusing on your breath, being intentional with your activities, and leveraging mindful nutrition with purpose this holiday season, you’re embracing the importance of self-care as a necessity rather than a luxury. When you practice, you’ll build consistency. And with that consistency, you will witness a positive transformation in your ability to thrive amid the demands of this season.

Wishing you a joyful holiday filled with equilibrium, accomplishment, and well-being! If you're ready to embark on a journey toward thriving in the new year with a custom-designed plan unique to your needs and goals, then let’s connect.

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