Managing Your Physical State

(Managing Your Physical Health In Times Of Crisis)

We already talked about managing your mental state in time of crisis. The year 2020 has been one constant state of crisis. Learn about managing your physical state in this article.

Taking care of your body is an essential part of caring for your overall well-being. In fact, physical health and mental health are closely related and tend to affect one another. Optimal physical health is difficult to achieve without mental health and vice versa. Physical health not only refers to exercise, it includes conscious choices that one can make to avoid diseases and live a balanced life. When times are hard, stress, anxiety and fear can weaken us physically and mentally. These lifestyle choices are important for managing your physical health, especially in times of crisis.

Staying physically active is a lifestyle choice that is beneficial in many ways. Not only does exercise make your body stronger, it can lower blood pressure, improve circulation and prevent osteoporosis. Ultimately, helping you live longer. As stated, physical activity can also lead to mental health improvements such as, energy and mood boosts, improvement in self image, better sleep and stress management. All of these benefits will aid in overall health. Making you more equipped to take on tension that tough times bring.

Eating right and staying hydrated will positively influence your physical health as well. Stay away from fast food and prepackaged and overly processed foods as much as possible. Rather, try to focus fresh food with an array of colors. Colorful fruits and vegetables offer the antioxidants needed to help your body fight against cancers, heart disease and hypertension. For example, leafy greens, berries, bell peppers, carrots, broccoli and cabbage. Eating a rainbow of foods will help your body stay physically strong and boost your immune system.

Drinking ample amounts of water will also help aid in weight management, kidney function and overall mood.

Finally, get a good night’s sleep. It’s recommended that adults get at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Staying on a sleep schedule also helps. The body relies on sleep as a time to repair muscles and organs as well as to reset and file away memories. Being well rested will help with cognitive and immune system function.

It’s clear that managing physical health has many components and is closely related with mental health. Both are equally necessary for us to be in the best shape possible to take on life’s stressors. Whatever the crisis may be, if physical health is managed properly, we have a better chance of dealing with it and coming out of it in the best position possible.

How to Be Mindful During the Holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time for anyone, and even more so when you are in charge of hosting a holiday party, having family stay with you, are experiencing financial restraints, have a lot of responsibilities, or are on dialysis.

This can all take away a lot of the joy of the holiday season, no matter which holiday your family celebrates. But with mindfulness, you can learn how to let the unnecessary stresses go, and live in the moment. It allows you to really appreciate every moment you are given throughout the holidays and finally enjoy yourself again.

What is Mindfulness?

It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t! Mindfulness is simply the act of focusing on the present moment you are in. You take out the judgment, regret, or guilt, and simply accept what is. The more you can be mindful during the holidays (and the rest of the year), the more grateful and stress-free you become.

1. Why Mindfulness During the Holidays Can Be Difficult

Mindfulness is a wonderful practice year-round, and is something everyone can benefit from no matter what they are dealing with. But during the holidays, there are even more ways it can help you.

Why the Holidays Are Such a Challenge

Why are holidays so stressful? It seems like it would be a joyous time to spend with your family, but the opposite is often true. You are trying so hard to make everything perfect and give your children memories they can cherish, that you lose yourself (and your sanity) along the way.

Understanding where the stress comes from helps you to know where to focus on improving your mindfulness this time of year.

There is a lot to do – And often with very little time. You still have your other responsibilities on top of the numerous things you have to juggle during the holidays.

Financial issues – Many people do feel the struggle of figuring out how to pay for decorations, gifts, parties, traveling, and other holiday expenses.

The expectations are different from reality – Even after you work hard to make everything perfect, it doesn’t always turn out how you planned. This is where mindfulness really comes in handy.

Ways Mindfulness Can Help You

Being more mindful during the holidays helps you with all of this and more. It allows you to stay present and put all of those expectations aside so you can just enjoy the moments you get with your family.

You learn to accept the moment – Every moment you live is a gift. Sure, it might not always be what you expect, but during the holidays, it isn’t about being perfect. It is about enjoying yourself, being with family and friends, and having more gratitude for what you have in your life.

Mindfulness helps you slow down – Taking a pause through mindfulness is one of the best things you can do to stay present during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Memories are treasured – If you constantly are just thinking about the next thing you need to do during the holidays, it will be hard to hold on to these memories. Do you want to remember the holidays as a time you spent with your loved ones, or when you were so busy you missed out?

2. How to Stay Present in the Middle of Chaos and Stress

It seems almost impossible, doesn’t it? Looking beyond everything you are dealing with this holiday season, learning to let go, and take the stress away. To be present in every moment. But with just a few simple techniques and mindset shifts, you can be more mindful during the holidays.

Practice Beforehand

If you have a little time before the holidays begin, it is a great time to start practicing your mindfulness habits. This doesn’t require anything more than just sitting quietly and focusing on whatever you are doing at that time. It might mean being quiet during a meal, sitting in your bedroom at night and pondering how you feel at that time, or being mindful while taking a walk.

Release Judgment

A very big part of mindfulness is letting go of judgment and guilt. This is not just releasing judgment on others, but yourself, and the situations you find yourself in during the holiday season. Stop worrying about how you look, if the food is good enough, if the venue is perfect, what others are experiencing. These thought patterns are negative and going to make it very difficult to be mindful and appreciate the present moment.

Have Mindful Meals

Mindfulness can work during any event or experience you have during the holidays, but a great time to practice it is while having meals with others. It can be your family holiday meal, at a party, or just at home to de-stress.

During your meals, shut off all distractions. This means no phone, no TV, and no music. Sit quietly and think about how you feel right then, during your meal. Focus on the flavors, the colors, the textures of what you are eating. Consider how you are feeling.

Eat without judgment, guilt, or any other emotions that doesn’t add to the satisfaction of that meal.

Take a Pause

Being mindful is nothing more than taking a pause. It is so easy to get wrapped up in what you should have done, what you still have to do, what is or isn’t perfect during the holidays. When you find your mind wandering instead of enjoying time with family or friends, just take a pause. Sit for a few minutes alone in the quiet and bring yourself back to this moment.

Focus on the Moment, Not the Big Picture

Lastly, remember to focus on the present, not the big picture. It isn’t about having the perfect Christmas memory, but each little thing that made your Christmas memorable.

3. Using Mindfulness After the Holidays are Over

Once you have mastered being mindful during the stressful holiday season, it will become even easier to use it during the rest of the year. Starting with the new year! Here are some ways to keep being mindful after the holidays and into the new year.

Using Mindfulness for Your Resolutions

Before the new year begins, you will probably choose some resolutions. These are goals you want to focus on in the year ahead. It is a wonderful time to feel like you get a fresh start, a new beginning. But it is also really important that you understand what you really want, and what your passions are, not just what you think is expected for you.

This is where mindfulness is going to be really useful.

Think of the moment right now – What are you thinking about the most in this moment? What is bringing you joy? What is stressing you out? Being mindful NOW is what can help you figure out what resolutions will help you in the future.

Keep being non-judgmental and non-critical – Mindfulness takes a lot of the judgment and critical thinking about yourself, your past, and your choices out, reducing your stress and just allowing you to make mistakes without regret. Keep doing this and you think of goals for the year and try to remember what makes you happy, not what you feel you need to do to “make up” for mistakes of the past.

Being Mindful Year-Round

After the holidays are over and the year has begun, keep taking pauses, enjoying your moments, expressing gratitude, and just enjoying your life. The more you can be mindful during each of those moments in your life, the happier you will be.

A Hygge Holiday Is All About Peaceful, Quiet And Cozy Surroundings

Hygge, pronounced (Hue-gah) is a Danish word originally derived from an Old Norwegian word meaning well-being and protection from the outside elements. Denmark has notoriously cold, long winters. The concept of hygge has been used by Danish people to help mentally combat the brutally dark, relentless winter season and fill their homes with comfort and love. Hygge is a word that is so important to Danish people; it’s often used to describe what their culture is all about. Hygge is not necessarily something specific that you can buy, because it’s more of a feeling than a possession. Hygge really is the epitome of Danish living, and in the last five years the concept of hygge has made its way to the US and many other countries with extreme popularity and trendiness.

Hygge can widely be described as a feeling of coziness, comfort, familiarity, friendship, laughter and seasonal homemade food and drinks. Although it’s possible to achieve hygge any time of the year (an outdoor BBQ with friends or a movie under the stars with family are perfectly good examples of summertime hygge). Hygge is generally associated with the colder months because if it’s ability to uplift spirits during dark, long winter months. Hygge is perfect for the upcoming holiday season because it’s all about peaceful, cozy surroundings that fill you with the feeling of contentment. Here are a few, simple ways you can bring holiday hygge into your home this season.

Remember this year (2020) to do social distancing, contact family by computer or phone, and social distancing.

Host family and friends – The holidays bring so many opportunities to host get-togethers for your loved ones. Be sure not to stress over these gatherings, hygge parties are relaxed, friendly and homey.

Light up your holidays

Warm lighting – in order to achieve a great sense of hygge, be sure to light some candles, have a fire or set up string lights. Warm lightning is essential for a holiday hygge vibe.

Warm blankets add a nice touch

Cozy linens, blankets and textures – get out all of those soft, fluffy blankets and have them available on the couch or chairs and by the windows, so that you can easily cuddle up with your favorite book and relax.

Christmas Cookies

Home cooking and baking – cooking some traditional holiday meals and treats will help bring holiday hygge into your home. Comfort foods like holiday ham, stews, savory flatbreads, cookies, cinnamon apple pie will waft soul-warming scents throughout the air, making your home feel cozy and cared for.

Holiday hygge is easy and comforting. Most people are already doing at least some of these simple holidays hygge hacks without even knowing it. Now that you know the term for that warm and fuzzy feeling, you will be able to up your holiday hygge game even further.

Managing Your Mental State

(When Times Are Tough) or (Through Adversity)

Managing your mental state is an ongoing and complex job. There are so many things that can negatively affect us daily. Ranging from small inconveniences to larger, more involved problems. Our state of mind is a compilation of our past, present and future thoughts and feelings. When times are tough, whatever the reasons may be, managing your mental state is more important than ever.

Self awareness is first when it comes to managing mental state. When you understand how you feel, where those feelings are coming from and why you have those particular feelings, then can you begin to manage your mental state. This is much easier said than done for most people and that’s perfectly normal. A counselor or psychologist may be able to help you understand your feelings more in depth. Talking with someone objective to help put your feelings in perspective is extremely beneficial as well. Once you identify why you feel a certain way, you can begin to understand your feelings and manage them in a positive way.

Mindfully breathing is a powerful calming tool.  Breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth will slow heart rate and curb anxiousness. Moreover, meditation will aid in clarity of mind. Fifteen minutes per day to sit in silence and clear your head does wonders for your mental state. Positive affirmations also enhance one’s state of mind. Positive affirmations are positive phrases you repeat to yourself daily. Try talking to yourself in the mirror in the morning. Tell yourself things like, “I am confident.” or “I am relaxed and at peace.” These positive affirmations will sink into your subconscious mind. Over time, you will start to believe the positive statements you have repeated to yourself. You can change your cognitive patterns away from negative thinking.

Don’t give in to the quick fix of self medication. Using alcohol or drugs is not uncommon when people want to make themselves feel better. But when faced with adversity, adding mind altering substances will enhance negative feelings. Stay sharp and in tune with yourself. So that you are able to be positive and consciously manage your feelings.

Staying on top of your mental health is not an easy task. When faced with challenges throughout life, remember there are tools that can be utilized. Actively managing your mental state will result in a more self aware, calm and happier you.