What's the "D" word you ask? Don't worry, I'll explain in a sec.
But first, something that keeps coming up this time of year (aka the Holidays) that I’d like to address: if the holidays represent a fun and happy time to celebrate and enjoy those we love, why are we so STRESSED?!!?
You know why. I know why. This idea of holiday stress, overwhelm, pressure, cones from our need to please those we love. It comes from a good place. A place where we want or maybe feel the need to spend our hard earned money in order to give gifts. A place where we are short on time but feel the need to get those workouts in where we can. A place where we feel the need to go to all the holiday parties we’re invited to and somehow still eat healthy and not drink too much. And with social media becoming more and more of a main stream way of connecting, it seems like no matter where we turn someone is telling us what we “Should Do” or “Should Not Do” to reduce stress, be healthier and happier. And while all these are fantastic and well-intentioned, it seems to me it’s a lot of chatter, noise to sift though and simply more added pressure!
Rather than add something else to your to-do list this holiday season, I am here to say enjoy this wonderful time of year. Try not to get too wrapped up in that holiday stress or the list of “shoulds”. And if you do find yourself there, simply try acknowledging what you feel, ask if it’s helping you in any way (my guess is it’s not), release it (quite literally shake or dance it off) and move forward. Find peace in the fact that we are all doing the best we can at any given moment. Most of us already live in a fairly constant state of stress, who needs to add more to this!?! Am I right?
I’ve been home resting for the past 3 days with minor winter cold (yup even nutritionists and herbalists get sick) and feel very fortunate to have that time to rest.
[Side note – I often hear clients, friends, etc. tell me they “never get sick”. I remember when I was in nutrition school I was like, that’s me, and one of my teachers told me that this could mean an under-active or suppressed immune system. A person who’s not had a significant cold or flu in years might need to reassess their health, adrenals, thyroid, nutritional status, and digestive health. Start by getting your annual physical with your GP and getting some fasting blood work done. Just a PSA, I strongly believe 1-2 colds a year indicates a working healthy immune system.]
Back to my story, the first day of feeling a bit run down I tried to do a little work, feeling the guilt of those “shoulds”, and I really felt it the next day, so you know what? I took the next day to rest and relax. I did ZERO work on a Tuesday. I just slept, hydrated, rested and watched copious reruns of Friends, New Girl and The Office.
Additionally with my downtime, I watched ALL the Instastories. Usually I have a handful that I watch regularly, otherwise I can really go down a black hole. I noticed just how much “information” or rather opinions/noise is out there on a regular, daily, hourly basis. WHOA! That’s exhausted in and of itself. I found myself following a few people in my industry (health and wellness) that I thought I “should” to make sure I knew what was going on “out there.” But you know what I also found myself annoyed with a lot of the pseudo-information. Things like some “influencers” giving nutrition advice that have no nutrition degree, other certified nutritionists telling people not to cleanse or detox this time of year because our body naturally does it’s detox thing (to which I do agree, but not ALL cleanses and detoxes are bad), and others telling you how to choose healthy options this time of year (and I am all for healthy options). But again all the “shoulds” started really piling up for me. And I can see why it leaves so many of us exhausted.
Without adding too much noise out there myself, here’s my two cents on all this:
Choose what you watch carefully. This is a form of self-care, not ignorance. Protect yourself.
Let’s get rid of the “shoulds”. They just add stress. Make your priorities and trust that you are doing what you need for yourself at that moment.
Find your intuition. Trust in yourself. Make sure whatever you are choosing you are doing so for the right reasons and not because you feel like it’s something you “should” do because so-and-so is or said to, but because it makes you feel good and you enjoy it!
For example, this past fall I offered a 3-day fall detox and wellness reset. Here’s the thing – it wasn’t your typical “detox”. The idea is that it’s a gentler and kinder way of eating - no huge restrictions, no juices or soups only, no starvation - just real wholesome food and habit reset. The idea being that afterwards you would feel so good that you wouldn’t WANT to go back to the “old” habits or ways of being or eating, or at least make some small manageable changes you could sustain. It wasn’t some “diet” that would cause so much restriction that you felt like you needed to eat all the pizza, pasta and cookies afterwards, hello Whole 30, am I right?
Real quick, let’s talk about the “d” word: DIET. It’s become a nasty little word, hasn’t it?
Did you know, the word “diet” comes from the Greek word “diata” which means a “way of life” or “manner of living”? What a beautiful thing! Let’s bring that original meaning back rather than this current idea of “diet” as restrictive and punishing.
So, to those people that say you don’t need to go on some diet, detox, cleanse, etc. because your body is always detoxing itself naturally, they are 100% right. I agree. However, just because something is labeled “diet”, “detox” or “cleanse” doesn’t mean you should just assume you know what that means and if it’s good or bad. Question everything. Learn more. Educate yourself. Try it for yourself. See how you feel. Don’t blindly trust anyone on the internet, myself included.
In conclusion, my point is to choose what you consume carefully. Question everything. Take control of your own health. Sometimes if will be about educating yourself. Sometimes it means listen to what your body and mind want and need (sometimes it’s a whisper not a yell) getting quiet always helps clarify for me. #1 always prioritize yourself!
Happy Holidays! And remember, to enjoy!
P.S. If you do find yourself stressed more now or in general, this worksheet is one I created and use a lot in my nutrition services as a way of getting your self-care toolbox in order. Please download it, read it and fill out the bottom section. Then you can cut the bottom out stick it in your wallet or make a digital version in your Notes app. Then no matter what happens when you feel stressed you’ve got your list to help you out.
[Originally published November 2017]