Make Time for You

Lonely SeckelI have an influx of stressed calls and emails this time of year, mostly from clients and students trying to manage health and holiday stress at the same time. I know how frustrating this time of year is, I struggle with the same problem! Don’t fret, there are simple solutions to help you have a healthy holiday season.

First, make a schedule and stick to it. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it, if you schedule time for exercise, food preparation, and sleep and you follow the schedule, you’re better equipped to take care of yourself and manage stress. Second, eat before events and move away from the treat table! At my friends’ parties, we always stand around the food, chatting and snacking. This is such a hard habit to break, but if you eat ahead of time and pull your friends away from the table you’re less likely to overeat. Third, make time to decompress. Whether you enjoy stretching, reading, games or simply sitting quietly, allow yourself at least 10 minutes every day for quiet time and positive thoughts. Finally, and most importantly, be kind to yourself! Nobody is perfect and there is always tomorrow. Remember that the holidays are about celebrating family and friends, so allow yourself to splurge a little, then get back on track the next day. Happy Holidays!

Lifelong Lessons

Watching my students march across the commencement stage fills me with wistfulness. No more research papers or presentations for the time now, but fond memories of another class of students moving out into the world. How quickly time moves! It’s these moments that remind me I need to slow down, take a deep breath, and make time for myself, too.

I have been weighed down with schoolwork, and just like many people beleaguered with piles of work, I haven’t been eating well, making time to exercise, or sleeping enough. As a dietitian I know how important it is to fill these basic needs, but I have found myself being trapped by the most common barrier to living a healthy life – I’ve been making excuses! I told myself I had too many papers to grade, not enough time to exercise or cook a well balanced meal, class prep that I told myself was top priority. Indeed, these things are very important – but not more important than living a long, healthy life. Next year when I look back, I hope to see that I took time to go for a walk, that I stopped at the vending machine less and went to the grocery store for fruits and veggies more, and took a deep breath now and then. Another great job by the students and an important lesson for the teacher!