Here come the Holidays~Ready or not!

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Welcome to the holiday season — that whirlwind of gift-giving holidays, marketing blitzes, holiday parties and activities galore that begins right after Halloween, builds to Thanksgiving, and continues gaining momentum through the end of the year. You are probably asking yourself, as I am~ How did the holidays get here so fast? 🙂

With all the joys of the holiday celebrations there are also stresses, right?  Every year we commit to ourselves that we will slow down and truly appreciate all that the holidays represent, spiritually and relationally.  Yet, as the holidays roll around again we tend to replay the manic pace of holidays gone by.

Perhaps this is the year to experience the holidays in a fresh way by making some changes that will produce a fresh outcome:

1.  Give yourself permission to say “no” to some activities.  Choose the events you attend well so that you don’t feel like you are “running” all the time.  When you manage your schedule in a manic pace you won’t really have the energy to be present and truly enjoy the memories you have the opportunity to make!

2.  Give yourself permission to keep gift-giving within your budget.  Going into debt, no matter how much you love your family and friends, creates stress!  Think about creative ways to show how much you care.  Some of the sweetest gifts I’ve received over the years were thoughtful and simple; special thoughts,  sweet treats, homemade crafts, etc.  Knowing someone took their time to bless me really meant a lot!

3.  Give yourself permission to reflect on what the holidays mean to you.  Don’t run so fast that you don’t allow yourself to take quiet time to think about the richer meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas for you.  Beyond the gifts, the food, and the activities; What do they mean to your heart?  Take time to be thankful, reflect on all that the Lord has done for you.

4.  Give yourself permission to change old traditions.  Sometimes we can maintain traditions that are time-consuming and lack the meaning they may have had in years gone by.  Or perhaps there is a simpler way to achieve the same goal.  Consider all the details you expect to cover in the short holiday season and take an honest inventory of the “cost” of pressuring yourself to accomplish them all.

5.  Give yourself permission to bless others.  The holidays can be so fun but they are also a huge season of sadness and loneliness for many people.  Make it a priority to be mindful of the needs in your family, neighborhood, or community.  Lending a loving hand will fill your heart with the true meaning of the holidays!

6.  Give yourself permission to keep your “self-care” in tact!  Don’t abandon your healthy eating and sleep schedule whenever possible. Keep exercising; take a long walk, add a yoga class, anything that helps you maintain energy, and helps wear off those extra holiday treat calories! 🙂

This year, just tweak a few old habits and see if you can breeze through the holidays with greater joy! Happy Holidays!

 

Spin Class~

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Up at 5am, I am blurry-eyed as I grab my Spin Shorts and tennis shoes! With the loving encouragement of my Daughter in law who joins me; I hop in the car and head to the Athletic club for the early morning Spin Class.

I have noticed something about me; if I think about an hour of Spinning I feel overwhelmed by the daunting ride ahead. However, as the instructor leads us to ride in intervals time just flies!  When we are asked to push HARD I am sure I can do it for 3 or 4 minutes knowing there is an end in sight.

There is a part of a Spin class that I didn’t anticipate and that is the value, the necessity of what the instructor calls “Recovery”. This is when we’ve pushed really hard for an interval and we are asked to remove any bike tension making it really easy to pedal. This allows our heart rate to go down a little and helps with the lactic acid in our legs. Then, after a brief recovery, we up the pace and the tension and we ride hard again.

This morning I was thinking about the need for “recovery” in our lives.  How often do we push ourselves in our lives without taking dearly needed recovery time? We keep working harder, moving faster, all the while hoping we can sustain the pace. However, the only real sustainable way to have a healthy, fruitful life is to have the ebb and flow of hard work and “recovery”.

What could recovery look like in your life? A long walk, painting, mountain bike ride, a nap, reading a book, time with a valued friend or family member, a slow cup of coffee, time spend in your Bible, or going on a long run?  Think about the pace of life you have been managing lately and see if you need to insert a little more recovery into your calendar.  Give yourself permission to step away and catch your breath.

I know for certain that if my Spin instructor required us to maintain a high intensity for the entire hour, many of us would not return, some might simply pass out. I am thankful for “recovery” after a revved up interval……………..even if it is 5:30 in the morning! 🙂