The holiday season can be a complicated time of year for anyone on the journey to optimal wellbeing. As Thanksgiving begins to approach, I often hear from people who are nervous about all of the temptations – from unhealthy foods to long happy hours – that come with it. In the past, I’ve written “survival guides” for navigating these challenges, but this year I want to change the conversation.
Instead of being nervous about having to turn down sweets from well-meaning family members, I challenge you to be excited about the moments ahead.
Nourish Your Mind and Heart
Thanksgiving has been morphed into a holiday about binge-eating and over-shopping. That doesn’t mean, however, that your Thanksgiving has to be this way.
The rewards of health, for me, all come down to making memories. Living longer means more time with the people I love. Staying active and fit means I’m not limited by my body, giving me the freedom to go on meaningful adventures, whether that’s a packed game-day for a college football game or feeling the hiss of snow beneath my skis after a fresh snowfall.
This coming Thanksgiving, make it a celebration of the people you love. Use your time off from work to do something that you find rewarding and fulfilling. Take some quiet time to reflect on what’s important to you and to define what optimal wellbeing truly means to you.
A Lifetime of Holidays
You may hear people pay lip-service to the idea that we should be in the holiday spirit – friendly, generous, thoughtful – year-round, but few people actually take that advice to heart.
For me, every meal I share with my daughters is as special as a Thanksgiving meal. Every hour of free time I get for myself feels like getting the day off after days and days of treating patients in the emergency room.
The number on the calendar is just that, a number, but if thinking this way is new for you, use the holiday as a form of practice. Pause. Take in the moment. Think about the ways you are blessed. Be present for the joys in your life and do your part to help others find their own joy.
And then do the same thing the day after. And the day after that. Even if you have to set a reminder in your phone to pause for 5 minutes a day to be present, that’s okay. With practice, you can unlock a new and powerful perspective that you can enjoy year-round.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Have a safe holiday and hug the people you love.