Living with Vitality: Maintain gratitude and joy by focusing on your emotional health
The holidays have arrived, so before you let yourself be swept away in ribbons of overwhelming thoughts, get intentional about how you want this season to unfold.
Dr. Eliza Klearman, licensed naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Eagle, explains how staying healthy during the holidays isn’t just about fending off too much processed sugar. Focus on eating healthy and exercising, yes, but also on creating socio-emotional wellness.
“The holidays are supposed to be a time to bring family and friends together, not for stress,” she said. “This time of year can be overwhelming and busy, but remember that they can be wonderful, uplifting and pretty darn fun.”
So much of the wellness process is mental, she said, so keep your head up with joy and gratitude.
“Go into this season with the right attitude and the results will be positive, rather than painful,” she said.
Here Klearman shares four suggestions to keep your mind, body and spirit in a state of balance and vitality through the bustle of the holiday season:
1. Savor the ritual of the season. Religious or not, make the season meaningful to you with whatever illuminates your spirit.
“These funny things we do like decorating trees, making traditional foods, stringing lights on the house and exchanging gifts are quite wonderful rituals,” Klearman said.
During the darkest days of the year, appreciate the light and beauty you can bring into your life.
“Your tree is a way to bring a bit of nature indoors, and exchanging gifts is a way to tell someone you care,” she said. “Acknowledge that the holiday season is full of spirituality and ritual, and it will help you to remember that these are not obligations — these are symbols of the deeper meaning of enjoying the winter season.”
2. Socialize intentionally. Cozy up by the fire, yes, but also surround yourself with people who make you laugh and who interest or inspire you.
“Instead of focusing on social events as obligations, focus on all you get from those interactions with other people — a sense of belonging, connectivity and joy,” Klearman said.
We need other people, and Klearman is fairly confident that the majority of your social interactions are positive — even when you fear or dread them initially.
3. Have more fun. Get out there and play. Really.
“Make the time to do something you love — every day,” Klearman said. “Ski, snowshoe, exercise, play games, build a snowman, put together a puzzle, bake with your family or friends.”
It is essential for your emotional well-being to smile and laugh, so don’t be so serious all the time, she said.
4. Give yourself a reality check. Klearman recommends keeping a gratitude journal. Simply write down three things every day for which you are grateful.
“This is a great reminder not to sweat the small stuff,” she said, “and realize that we are blessed to be able to live the lives we have.”
Kim Fuller is a freelance writer and yoga instructor based in the Vail Valley. She was contracted by the Vail Vitality Center to write this story. The Vail Vitality Center’s Holiday Health Series is here to help you keep your wellness in check during this abundant and busy time of year. To read more from the series or learn more about the Vail Vitality Center, visit http://www.vailvitalitycenter.com.