ReFirement at Any Age: ‘Tis the Season to….

By Gail Supplee Tatum, Columnist, The Times

Fill in the blank…

The holiday season is in full swing! The beauty of sparkling lights and festive decorations in homes and lining the streets reminds us of all that is grand during this time. The scents of fresh evergreen trees and homemade baked goods add to the aroma surrounding homes everywhere. Families gather, creating memories encircled with laughter and joy. There’s an unmistakable magic in the season’s traditions, taking us back to a simpler time that embraces the childhood wonder in us all.

Yet, amidst this enchantment, challenges often lurk. The pursuit of idealized festivities may lead to stress, financial strain, or the bittersweet absence of loved ones. Navigating crowded malls and balancing social obligations can become a delicate dance. There are ways to combat those challenges which I will share a little later.

As the year draws to a close, the holiday season transitions into the promise and hope of a new beginning. The dawn of a new year beckons with the allure of fresh possibilities, encouraging reflection on personal growth and aspirations. However, this transition isn’t without its own set of challenges. The contemplation of resolutions and the anticipation of change can evoke a sense of both excitement and trepidation.

In essence, the beauty of the holiday season lies not only in the external splendor but more so in the shared moments of love and connection. Simultaneously, the challenges remind us of the importance of embracing imperfections and finding beauty in the authenticity of the human experience as we step into the unknown of a new year.

As promised, I will share a few key factors in staying healthy during the holidays.

  1. Maintaining a balanced diet is crucial. Enjoy holiday treats in moderation and focus on incorporating fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins into your meals. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, which can help control appetite and support overall well-being. Mindful eating involves paying attention to hunger and fullness cues. Before reaching for seconds, assess if you’re genuinely hungry or simply eating out of habit. Chew your food slowly and savor each bite to enhance the eating experience. Plan meals ahead to maintain a sense of control over your food choices. Bring healthy dishes to gatherings, ensuring there are nutritious options available. Consider using smaller plates to help with portion control.
  2.  Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, which can contribute to overeating and disrupt sleep. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation and alternate with water to stay hydrated.
  3.  Regular physical activity is essential. Find enjoyable exercises, such as walking, dancing, or hiking, and make them a part of your holiday routine. This not only helps burn calories but also reduces stress and boosts your mood. If the weather permits, consider outdoor activities to combine exercise with fresh air.
  4.  Prioritize sleep to support your immune system and overall health. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Create a relaxing bedtime routine, limit screen time before sleep, and ensure your sleeping environment is conducive to rest.
  5.  Manage stress through relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Prioritize self-care by taking breaks and engaging in activities that bring you joy. Setting realistic expectations for yourself during the holidays can alleviate unnecessary stress.
  6.  Stay connected with others for emotional support. Share your health goals with friends or family, and encourage each other to make healthy choices. Socializing can also provide a distraction from excessive eating or unhealthy habits.
  7.  Most importantly, listen to your body. If you feel overwhelmed or fatigued, give yourself the permission to take a break. Incorporating these strategies can help you navigate the holiday season with a focus on health and well-being.

However you celebrate, may the joy of the season bring you laughter, love and peace. Wake up each day with the spirit of gratitude.

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