Sandra Chaloux

| 12/16/2016

Surviving the Holidays, Self-Care & 5 Steps to Recharging

Surviving the Holidays, Self-Care & 5 Steps to Recharging

As this year comes to an end, you may be feeling overwhelmed, depleted, emotional, and worn down. If so, you are not alone. In between the holiday celebrations, it is also a time for introspection…a time to reflect on what is and isn’t working in your life. It is a time to think about which activities and relationships energize you and which deplete you, and which habits are serving you and which are not? And ultimately to consider new ideas and lifestyle changes.

Radical changes often lead to failure. So start small. Research shows that step by step changes are more sustainable and really add up over time. Perhaps a small change to your morning or evening routine could make all the difference.

I’d like to pass along some tips and resources to help you evaluate your stress level and recharge, courtesy of Dr. Heidi Hanna, the keynote speaker at this year’s Virginia Women’s Business Conference.

But before I do, we need to talk about self-care and our beliefs about it. So many of us are walking around feeling guilty and selfish if we make our own self-care a priority. We allow our work and care for other people to come first time and time again until our own physical and mental health starts to fail in a way that we can no longer ignore. If you have ever suffered from adrenal fatigue or a similar health crisis, you know what I am talking about.

Please take a minute and ask yourself if you have made self-care a priority? If not, why aren’t you investing in yourself? I’m asking you to reconsider. I’m asking myself to do the same.

I want to share some of the best quotes I found about self-care and why it is so important and not selfish…

* “Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.” ~ Parker J. Palmer

* “The best health care plan is a self-care plan” ~ Nina Leavins

* “Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others.” ~ Bryant McGill

* “The love and attention you always thought you wanted from someone else, is the love and attention you first need to give to yourself.” ~ Bryant McGill

* “Taking care of yourself is the most selfless thing you can do.” ~ Dr. Heidi Hanna

Next, I want to tell you about Dr. Hanna’s free online stress assessment tool. It only takes a few minutes to complete and the questions are very thought-provoking. You might be more stressed than you think. I was surprised by my score.

She also offers an online stress mastery course. (I am not being compensated to tell you about this. I just like to share great resources when I come across them.)

5 Simple Shifts to Energize Your Life (Dr. Heidi Hanna)

Our body has a natural cyclical pattern of physical, emotional, or mental activity –a biorhythm. This rhythm often gets disrupted by our constant drive and addiction to stimulation from our phones, computers, media & social media. She asked us to consider our own life rhythm and offered these 5 simple shifts to help us recharge:

1). What do you do before you go to bed?

She recommended no technology or work at least one hour before bed to allow the body and mind to wind down. This is a great time to consider all that you are grateful for. How close are you to getting 8 hours of sleep each night?

2). What do you do in the morning?

The first thing that many of us do in the morning is check our phones and computers. She recommended taking 5, 10 or 30 minutes to meditate and set our intentions for the day. There are many different types of meditation but simply sitting comfortably and closing your eyes without your phone or other stimulus and focusing on your breath is all you need. When the mind runs off on a tangent (monkey mind), you just bring it back to the breath. Monkey mind is common when you first start meditating, but I am told it lessens with practice. Try adding these mantras while meditating: 1) You have enough and 2) You are enough! There is a great free app called Insight Timer you can use for timing your meditation.

3). How often do you eat?

It is important to eat something every 3-4 hours to avoid crashes in energy.

4). How often are you moving?

We need to move every 90 minutes.

You probably have already heard about how sitting for long stretches is bad for your health.

5). How often do you take breaks?

We need to have breaks.

Your best work and ideas happen when you aren’t working.

Of these 5 shifts, I decided to try morning meditation this week and I am surprised how quickly 10 minutes goes by. I have felt much more centered and happy all day in just 2 days of meditating. During the meditation, I focus on the breath (slow, deep breaths) and am receptive to any love, acceptance, wisdom or intuition that God sends my way. Feels awesome to connect spiritually and to unplug from the stuff going on in the world and around you temporarily.

I hope this is helpful food for thought for you and that you will make self-care a priority!!! We all need support from time to time. The key to healing and flourishing is being able to find the right support at the right time. That is where our Directory of Holistic Practitioners comes in and our blog that features new approaches. 

If you’re interested in attending some mindfulness and meditation workshops and retreats, check out our Calendar for some upcoming events.

I’d love to hear from you about what you have tried and found most helpful to manage stress and recharge your batteries. Comment below.

About the Contributor

Dr. Heidi Hanna is the Chief Energy Officer at Synergy, Co-founder & Executive Director of the Institute for Integrative Neuroscine, a NY Times Best Selling Author of The SHARP Solution and Stressaholic. Dr. Hanna has been featured at many national and global conferences, including the Fortune Magazine Most Powerful Women in Business Summit, ESPN’s Women’s Leadership Summit, and the Million Dollar Round Table, and a frequent lecturer at Canyon Ranch Resort and Spa in Tuscon, Arizona.


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