To a Happy and Healthy New Year

Life is all about perspective. You see things in a different light based on your perspective. For example, as I sit here in sunny Florida over the holidays, I have the window open to let in the wonderful sunshine and GLORIOUS weather. I spent the day in jeans and a t-shirt on the beach with my family for a wonderful lunch.

Toes in the sand, face to the sun, soaking in the weather that isn’t in the single digits (sorry about that rub, New England fam! I couldn’t help it!)

But next to us at lunch, I heard some local Floridians complaining about how *expletive* cold it was. They were bundled up in sweatshirts and hoodies.

I almost laughed out loud. I couldn’t believe that ANYONE would complain about weather in the 60s and not a cloud in the sky.

But it’s all about perspective. If you’ve lived in Tampa your whole life, then 60s WOULD be chilly. But compared to New Hampshire, this weather is a dream.

Listening to my lunch neighbors made me realize how much my own perspective has changed in my life. I have a different perspective than many people; cancer will do that to you. But it’s this extreme health experience that has made me so grateful for everything that I have in my life. My health, my family, my career – I have so much that I’m grateful for every day.

I don’t want this to change next year, or the year after, or the year after that. I feel happier when I open my heart. I feel more connected when I show my gratitude.

So 2018 is going to be the year of gratitude. I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions – but I’ve also never (ever) set one that truly MEANT something to me. So this year is going to be different. This year, I’m going to set my heart into ‘grateful’ mode and see where that leads me.

I wish you all a happy and healthy year ahead.

Happy New Year!

3 Ways to De-Stress this Holiday Season

I have a million things on my to-do list. Work is absolutely bonkers with Q4 deadlines. I’m still dealing with my herniated disc and trying to find time to do physical therapy. Holiday parties and social obligations are peppered all over my calendar, and to top everything off, one of our tenants moved out and my husband and I are renovating the apartment.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

I KNOW I’m not the only one in this pickle. The holidays bring out the best and the worst in us. Everyday stressors pile on top of holiday celebrations and it becomes chaos. Rather than living in the spirit of giving, it becomes survival of the fittest.

So how do you survive and actually ENJOY the holidays? Prevent the stress from building up with these three tips:

Just say ‘NO’

Remember the ‘Just Say No’ drug campaign from the 80s and 90s? The idea was that you don’t have to give an explanation for why you don’t want drugs. Just say no and move on.

Our obligations to friends, family, and coworkers often peak around this time of year. We worry about office gift-giving, holiday parties, baking picture-perfect cookies, and coordinating our presents with Santa’s always-perfect timing.

It’s so easy to say ‘yes’ to all the holiday festivities. Who wants to decline a party?! Food, drinks, merrymaking, who can possibly say NO? It’s like saying you don’t want to enjoy the holidays if you say no!

But the day comes and you forgot the present and the cookies burned and you have to make frantic runs to the store to get everything. In the process, you spend more money and time doing things that stress you out rather than just politely declining in the first place.

If you feel stretched out…if you feel burned out…if you feel too stressed, just say no. This particular party will NOT be the only gathering this year. Use the other 11 months of the year to get together with family and friends – on YOUR timeline – and make some great memories.

 

Keep Mindfulness in Mind

If you absolutely, positively CANNOT get out of participating in festivities that stress you out, use mindfulness to your advantage.

One way I do this in stressful environments is I change my inner dialogue. Instead of telling myself I HAVE to go to this party, I change one simple thing. I change the word ‘HAVE’ with the word ‘GET’ and it changes everything.

I GET to go to this gathering. I GET to spend time with friends and family (and that one person who is always annoying). I GET to go shopping with the crowds at the mall. I GET to bring my awesome cookies to the bake sale.

Because you know what? We are ALL lucky to be here. And I’m REDICULOUSLY lucky to be here. My doctors gave me a pretty poor prognosis with my cancer, but here I am 2 years later and I’m kicking butt.

We never know when we will leave this world. It may be tomorrow. This may be your last office Christmas party. So enjoy every last second you are standing here on this earth.

Drink in the gratitude with a small change in your inner dialogue. It will help you get through the stressful times and actually enjoy them.

A cup of tea, a couch, and some belly rubs with this guy help me to de-stress

Enjoy a Warm Beverage

When all else fails, have a cup of tea.

There’s something about a warm beverage that helps me calm down. Soak in the warmth. Let go of the stress. It shuts down my brain, warms my heart, and releases my stress.

It’s like holding that mug opens my pores and lets out the angst or something. After a long, stressful day, a cup of tea and a soft blanket on the couch helps me to let it all go.

And by all means, it doesn’t have to be a cup of tea. Try some hot cocoa. Or a warm spiced (or spiked) cider. Whatever warm beverage floats your boat. Take that 5 minutes of your day and truly enjoy something as simple as a warm beverage. Add in a fuzzy friend and it all melts away!

 

What do YOU do to de-stess during the holidays? Let me know in the comments below!