I don’t know about you, but I enjoy taking down Christmas decorations just as much as I enjoy putting them up. Why? Because:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity
under the heavens…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
From Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s is the season of celebration. We enjoy colorful decorations, gathering with and buying gifts for friends and family and special foods in abundance. But by the end of December it can all seem to be “a bit much” and so, come January, a transition takes place. We take down the decorations, clean out the refrigerator, decrease the commitments on our budget and our calendar and return to our simple routines because we know that seasons of even healthy abundance and revelry are only good for us for limited periods of time.
The return to simple routines keeps us grounded,
focused and healthy!
In this first week of January, I’d like to suggest a few things that you may want to do in order to quickly and effectively make that transition back to some simple routines for the sake of good health.
Eat: This week would be a great time to clean out the refrigerator, freezer and pantry for the purpose of getting rid of any leftover holiday food that you cannot incorporate into a healthy meal at a later time. Cranberries, turkey, ham and candied nuts can all be used to enhance a healthy meal. But eggnog, pastries, sugar cookies, and candies should probably go. After all, they won’t be special if you don’t reserve them only for a specific time of year. Also, if you got some great fruit for Christmas, now is the time to eat it, include it in a recipe or freeze it before it goes bad. This may be a good time to return to a more simple way of eating. Consider making your grocery shopping list to include staples that will help you to use this formula for putting together a simple, healthy meal:
Healthy meal = 1 protein source + 2 vegetables/fruits + 1 whole grain
As opposed to a complicated diet plan, this simple formula will enable you to put together a healthy meal at home, at a restaurant or even in another part of the world – no elaborate recipe, menu, exotic ingredients or master cooking skills required.
Move: This week would be a great time to get back on track with staying in touch with your current level of fitness. With all the time off with family and friends over the holidays, we often spend more time than usual in PJ’s and sweat pants. This week may be a good time to make the transition back to wearing structured work clothes (with non-stretch material and a solid waistband) so that you can assess how your clothes are currently fitting. If your exercise routine got off kilter with holiday activities, now is a good time to put recurring exercise sessions on your calendar so that you schedule other things around them. If it has been a few weeks since a good workout, your first few workouts of the year may be a bit harder than you think they should be, so pay attention to your body and regain your fitness level over time.
Cope: With all the activity of the holidays, you may have started to feel like your calendar and To Do list have been running you instead of you running them. With a fresh and clean 2018 calendar in front of you, take an hour and schedule important recurring activities (exercise, quiet times, date nights, family dinner nights, lunch with friends) and important one-time activities (birthdays, medical appointments, vacation days). This is also a good time to make sure that your daily To Do list has a place for clearly defining your top 3 priorities for the day. Also, the holidays have a way of bringing up emotions or issues that we have denied or swept under the rug. Things like unresolved family issues, strained family relationships, unpleasant truths and unprocessed grief may have shown up in your life in the past few weeks and addressing these issues may need to become part of your daily routine in 2018. Whether it is through prayer, reading, seeking wise counsel, support groups or medical intervention, now is a good time to make a decision and an appointment with yourself or others to add some routines related to effectively coping with difficult emotional issues.
Rest: Days off during the holidays often include staying up late and sleeping in. No doubt that the break in the usual routine is a gift of the holiday season. But now is a good time to get back on track with consistent times to go to bed and wake up in the morning. Equally important is re-establishing the “wind down” routine before bed (such as reading, bathing, writing in a gratitude journal, turning off all screens) and the “get focused” routine before the day starts in earnest (morning coffee, bible reading, prayer/meditation, eating a healthy breakfast and defining the top priorities for the day). This is also a good time to make a rough draft plan for your vacation days for the year. Many people leave vacation days unused because they planned to make a vacation plan only after things calmed down at work. To counteract this unhealthy mindset, please see the previous post called “Rest Even During…”
There is a time to break from the normal routine
and enjoy some healthy revelry and there is a time
to get back in the race.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (Hebrews 12:1)
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?
Run in such a way as to get the prize.
(1 Corinthians 9:24)
The above scripture verses refer to running the race of faith though which we are able to be and do and have all that God has planned for us. And this race of faith requires engagement of our whole being - our body and our mind as well as our spirit.
As the mom of a former cross country runner, I can tell you that races are won because of what happens behind the scene - the consistent practice of a few simple, well-chosen routines.
Happy New Year!
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About the author:
Hello! My name is Ginger Hill and I am a Christ follower and a wellness professional. Over the years, I have personally and professionally seen the benefits of healthy living and I have also seen the hardships of struggling to practice good health habits in the midst of a busy and sometimes stressful life. I am passionate about helping myself and others to live a healthy lifestyle and I believe that good health is essential in helping us to do the good works that God has called us to do. Because I am a work in progress, I write these blog posts to encourage myself and I share them with others in the hope that they may be encouraged as well.
Psalm 92:12,14 (NLT)
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