By Claire Bacon, ACN, CNC
Can you believe it – the holidays are here! If you’re like most people, the holidays are about two things: family and food. OK, three things… parties, too! We’d like to remind you that practicing gratitude could be the key to make your holiday season the best one ever!
Although celebrating around the table is great, it can also lead to eating lots of extra carbohydrates you don’t need. Have you noticed that starting the day with a sweet or carb-heavy breakfast makes your cravings more intense the rest of the day? Food may be a way of showing love, but for many families, over-indulging in sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top may be doing more harm than good.
This year, challenge yourself and your family to focus on gratitude with intent. Instead of putting so much attention on the food, infuse your holiday season with other activities that shift the focus to quality time, great conversations and mindfulness. Keeping your healthy habits going will help you navigate the holidays with ease.
“The antidote to fear is gratitude. The antidote to anger is gratitude. You can’t feel fear or anger while feeling gratitude at the same time.”
– Tony Robbins
Top Ten Tips!
Following are our favorite easy ways to put practicing gratitude into your life this holiday season.
1. Keep a gratitude journal or family chalkboard
Take some time at the beginning or end of each day to think about three things for which you are grateful. Write them down so you really feel the positivity. You could get the family involved by sharing your thankful thoughts on a chalkboard, or pinning notes to a cork board. I promise, the action of writing down your thankfulness will open your heart to more happiness around you. And you can refer back to your writings anytime you feel blue.
2. 4:8 Your Thanksgiving Week
This is in reference to Philippians 4:8, which reads: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
Taking yourself through a 4:8 Week is like doing a mental cleanse. All you have to do is guard your heart and mind with full intention. You will allow nothing negative or violent on TV. Nothing disturbing in what you read or talk about. No resentful thoughts, no sentimental pity parties, and no harsh words to your spouse or children. Think about it – how many times a day do you see disturbing images? How often do you let something cause fear or negativity in your heart? Can you imagine the cumulative effect of all that on your mood? Maybe it’s time to look at what in your environment may be causing so much negativity – and make a change!
You may be surprised what a challenge it is to complete a 4:8 Week! If you love this concept, pick up a copy of The 4:8 Principle by Tommy Newberry – one of our favorites! (It’s just as good to read it the second or third time, too!)
3. Talk about the best part of your day (keep the negative news)
Of course you know, eating dinner together as a family has healthy benefits for parents and kids alike. And it’s a perfect time for practicing gratitude. Slow down the food consumption by having great conversations. Go around the table and let each person describe their favorite part of the day. Don’t rush. Instead, talk to each person about why that moment stood out. Dwell on the happiness. This is an especially great habit for introducing kids to gratitude, because it’s easy for them to understand. It’s a great reminder to pause and think of something really good, to carry you towards peaceful dreams that night.
4. Write a letter or send a card to someone you miss
During the holidays, we may not get to see all the special people we love. Take a moment to write a letter to someone telling them why they’re special to you. Say the nice things you might normally keep to yourself. When shopping, take a few extra minutes at the grocery store to browse through the card section. I bet you will see something that reminds you of someone special. They will LOVE getting a surprise card from you in the mail!
5. Perform a random act of kindness
Sometimes, it’s best to take charge and make something good happen. Have you ever been in the toll line or the drive thru, and found out that the person ahead just paid your way? What a great surprise! How would you feel if you were out shopping, and someone just handed you a gift card to use in that same store? Buying someone a coffee or any other random act of kindness will kickstart a cycle of gratitude that is sure to improve your mood and keep you smiling all day.
6. Go for a walk or hike in nature
Take time out for quiet moments of peacefulness and opportunities to observe the wildlife in your neighborhood. Instead of diving right into dessert when dinner is done, take everyone on a walk. Even if you just go a short distance around the block, taking a walk in the fresh air is great for your physical and mental health, and may spur more lively conversations.
7. Play a game
A little healthy competition is a great way to bond with the family. When was the last time you broke out your Cranium game, Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly? Who still has Battleship or Yahtzee? Take a trip down memory lane and create new happy memories with your long lost childhood games. It’s a lot more fun than anything on your phone!
8. Shop and cook wholesome foods together
No matter how well you plan ahead, holiday celebrations are sure to involve shopping at some point. Take this opportunity to talk to your loved ones about eating well to support your health. Speak with the farmers at your local Farmers’ Market, and look for organic and unusual foods. Then, cook together to show just how delicious a homemade, low-carb, nutrient dense lifestyle can be.
Have you ever tried a completely gluten-free or dairy-free holiday meal? It can be intimidating, but we came up with some great ideas for you! Download the recipes here.
9. Try out a DIY Craft
Together with your family, you can make lots of fun things:
- Make a photo collage
- Melt your own homemade soap or candles
- Create a wreath or a new holiday centerpiece for Mom’s table
- Paint your own handmade Christmas ornaments, or
- Make substitutions for your perfumes and air fresheners with essential oils.
You can find most supplies you will need at Michael’s or Sam Flax Art & Design in town, or on SpecialtyBottle.com and MountainRoseHerbs.com.
10. Gather a donation for a local charity
It is fair to say that we live in a bubble in East Cobb, largely unaffected from a lot of the scarcity issues that many people face in other parts of Atlanta. Take this extra time at home to gather up pantry items, clothing, blankets, coats or shoes that are just taking up space in your house. There are many charities who could make good use of your offerings! Look around, and ask at your church; I’m certain you can find many ways to bless those who are less fortunate in our community.
Practice a Gratitude Mindset with these Supplements:
- Symplex M and Symplex F support healthy function of the adrenals, pituitary, thyroid and gonads, for males and females. These are long-term strengthening products to help with hormonal balance – the foundation of a positive mood!
- Ashwagandha Complex contains adaptogenic herbs for stress support: Ashwagandha, Licorice, Skullcap, and Korean Ginseng. These help you adapt to everyday challenges, and support mood balance. You know it’s hard to be positive when you’re stressed! Ashwagandha Complex helps you deal when the going gets tough.
- Organically Bound Minerals is a combination of alfalfa and kelp. The iodine and potassium in this product are calming to the nervous system and fuel the thyroid for proper function. When the tension is on, take Organically Bound Minerals to keep your cool!
Be the Example for Practicing Gratitude:
There is no more wonderful time than spending the holiday season with our loved ones. I encourage you to make this Thanksgiving season special – and look for new ways to bring joy to yourself and everyone around you! You’ll be glad you did!
We hope this information is helpful to you, and serves as a good reminder for a positive mindset. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!