Simple tips to finish 2020 strong and how we can remain intentional in our wellness during the holidays

Do you have a plan to not just survive but thrive during the holidays? Or, do you want to hide in your pajamas with hot cocoa and Netflix and wish for 2020 to stop? I oscillate between both of these mindsets, sometimes on a daily basis.
What if you finished 2020 as strong as you desire to begin 2021?

Instead of waiting until January 1st for a fresh start, what if we finished 2020 as strong as we want to kick-off 2021? Instead of the new year being a total shock to the system, we can feel confident, refreshed and already headed on a trajectory of optimism and wellness.

I wanted to share four ideas of how we can remain intentional in our wellness and prevent going “off the rails” during the holidays.

  • Meditate for 5 minutes daily

Meditate: “think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.”

We are surrounded by so much stimulation all day (and sometimes all night too, if we allow it). Life has been intense this year and the holidays can add a heightened level of depression, anxiety and anxiousness. Let’s take a deep breath in…and a long exhale out…just thinking about all of it.

Meditation is an ideal way to start the day with intention and/or to end the day with relaxation. Even five minutes can make a difference. We can always bring it back to our breath – focusing on the inhale for a count of five, holding our breath for five and a long exhale out for five. Do this for 3 rounds. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. You can do it in your bedroom, your car, while walking outside. You can use an app (I really like Insight Timer) or without.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to:

  • level out mood cycles
  • enhance immunity
  • lower blood pressure
  • increase blood flow
  • decrease pain relief
  • aid in relaxation

Personally, I like to end my day in a darkened room with stretching, meditation (including some deep breathing) along with reading a physical book. These habits prepare my mind and body for rest. Try it and see if your sleep improves…it is powerful!

2) Eat nourishing whole food

We can enjoy “planned indulgences” during the holidays. Planning prevents our entire nutrition game plan from going down the drain.

If you know that you are going to enjoy an indulgent meal or treats, plan for it. Eat clean 90% of the week so you can enjoy (without any guilt) that decadent meal or dessert during the weekend.

Some tips that have been helpful for me:

  • Crowd out the junk food with protein, veggies, berries, fiber and healthy fats. Eat the rainbow on your plate and enjoy all those flavors and textures.
  • Eat until you’re 80% satiated. Stopping before you are full can be so much more comfortable and enjoyable.
  • We typically do not need to snack all day (we are not toddlers). When we eat satiating meals (more like 2-3 per day), we will not need to snack all day. Try giving your digestion some breaks throughout the day. See if your mind can think more clearly and if your gut feels the difference.

3) Move your body for 30 minutes each day

Let’s just take a minute to honor the power of our strong bodies. They are remarkable, aren’t they?

On a popular podcast I listened to last year, the guest said, “If you don’t have 30 minutes to move your body each day, you don’t have a life.”

I wholeheartedly agree. I have seen the power of this daily habit especially during 2020 when a walk, hike, or run outside has been therapeutic for both body and soul.

Another simple habit is stretching and practicing mobility daily. The goal is to age with agility.

Here’s some suggestions:

  • Purchase a foam roller. I lay on my back vertically on top of the foam roller at night and it feels so good. It costs $20 on Amazon and we can do it safely inside our home.
  • Practice doing a “Get Up” – simply getting up and down from off the floor. It is one of the key indicators of aging gracefully.
  • Do some hinging stretches whether you are standing up or sitting on the ground.
  • Get in a squat position and simply hold it.
  • Stretch your neck from side to side and roll front and back.
  • Scrunch your shoulders up and down from ears.

During the holidays when we are in those stretchy pants, we might as well stretch-it-out!

4) Gratitude: what you practice grows stronger

I have found that hopelessness and gratitude cannot co-exist.

It is a powerful practice to look for things to be grateful for daily.

I enjoy typing my gratitude (at least 3 things) each morning. It helps me start my day with appreciation and intentionality.

This year, my gratitude has been really simple:

  • I’m grateful to be able to be outside.
  • I’m grateful to smell pretty flowers on my walk this morning.
  • I’m grateful for bike rides.
  • I’m grateful for 2020 memes which make me laugh.

What we appreciate, appreciates. If you want to try just ONE of these ideas during the next month, TRY GRATITUDE and watch your life transform before your eyes.

I’d love to hear from you. How are you surviving and thriving during the holidays? If you try one or more of these tips, I’d love to hear all about it.

Stay safe. Stay sane. Stay awesome.

Feel free to contact me: Summer Manning Message on FB: @thecenteredcollective