Self Care During the Holidays

Self care during the holidays | Kale and AleStress, sadness and depression are always difficult, but can easily be exaggerated in December, so self care is essential. Daylight is (much, depending on where you live) shorter. Commitments and expectations are increased as the holidays and end of year approach. Time fills so quick with parties, last-minute job tasks, baking, shopping, seeing people—the list goes on.

For me, this entire year has had its challenges. Personal time with myself and others has been pushed aside while trying to focus (mostly unsuccessfully) on other things. I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to give myself and my relationships more time recently.

When I’ve do that—be it in the form of a vacation, family event, happy hour with people I don’t often see or getting together with like-minded women—it has felt so rare and special. Every time it’s refilled my emotional tank and I walk away realizing I’m not taking enough time for this. Life’s too short.

With quality time being my primary love language, I’ve spent too much time and tears this year feeling sadness, guilt and anger for not making quality time for myself and the important people in my life. That is not OK.

Ways I’m Focusing on Self Care

This holiday season I’ve given myself permission to drop all non-essential things, be in the moment and focus on connections. I’ve tried to make this season as stress-free as possible. How?

  • Finding the most simple recipe for a cookie exchange when I know I’m not a baker
  • Buying a lot of wine at once so I can grab a bottle from the cabinet for at-hand hostess gifts
  • Only saying yes to things that are important to me
  • Trying to get people to forgo gifts (shopping and finding personal gifts is very stressful for me) and spend quality time (my love language) with them
  • Simplifying shopping by doing it online or shipping to store
  • Focusing on making memories
  • Focusing on self care, including working out, resting, drinking lots of water and using essential oils

Get Help

Are you feeling disconnected from what the holidays are about? Don’t deny your feelings, focus on how and why you feel that way.

The Mayo Clinic offers ways to cope with difficult times during the holidays, including:

  • Be realistic
  • Stick to a budget
  • Say no

See more tips on the Mayo Clinic website.

How are you handling all the holidays throw your way?

There is nothing wrong with sitting things out. Your personal health is the most important thing. I’ve had much more difficult years than I am having this year, and I learned so much to help get me through the hard times. If you need more help, please seek it. The National Suicide Prevention LIfeline is available online or by calling 800-273-8255

Three-Day Cleanse: Lessons Learned

three-day cleanse tips | kale and aleI just finished a three-day cleanse as part of my January reset (read about why I picked reset as my word of the month and what it means to me). I cringe at the word cleanse, as I feel it has negative connotations. The one I did was based on foods that are considered detoxifying and superfoods (like carrots, turmeric, garlic and greens), meant to give your body a chance to balance out. It had a smoothie and nuts for breakfast, snacks and full meals through the day. Water and tea were OK. Exactly what I was looking for.

I went on the cleanse because I was feeling bloated from the holidays and travel, and I was trying to have a refresh. I am planning a longer trip with plenty of food and drink in the late summer, and could see this cleanse coming in handy upon my return; I would do it again to get back on track and refresh my digestive system.

Tips For a Cleanse

I’ve gone a full day back after the cleanse, and I learned a few things for when I or you go on one:

  • Make meals simple, wholesome and filling when feeling like a mini-reset is needed
  • Eat less at night after dinner (no late-night nachos) and have more mindful snacking overall. The snacks were flavorful and filling: roasted chickpeas; raw vegetables and hummus; and cucumbers with cayenne, salt, lemon and olive oil.
  • Incorporate more smoothies into the mix. I found this great list of detox smoothies I went off, and plan to make a different one for breakfast every so often.
  • Continue to drink tea in the afternoon when I want to reach for coffee
  • Make more marinades, sauces and dressings myself. They’re easy, quick, flavorful and earlier than bottled, store-bought condiments.

Have you been on a cleanse? What did you think or do you have any tips you learned?

January 2017: Reset

My word for the month is “reset.” No better time than a new year to get back to a previous state.
While a lot of people were calling 2016 “the worst,” it was mostly very good to me: I began the year with a Caribbean beach vacation, got engaged, got asked to be in my brother’s wedding and got married. I joined two book clubs that have connected me with great women reading powerful books, got accepted to volunteer at Louie’s rescue organization and figured out more who I am and what I want in life.

After a great long start, the finally two months brought events that put me in a funk: My candidate lost the presidential election, which shocked me, and after a great Thanksgiving with close family, we suddenly lost one of those people 15 days later. This person lived a full life staying true to himself and giving to other people and organizations. Both events put me in a funk and reminded me I need to look outward, build stronger relationships, give to others and stand for what I believe.

Reset my food, attitude and expectations

And, although I’ve been working out more regularly recently, I feel like my health has gone off track. So this week I’m going through three days of cleaner eating. I hesitate to call it a cleanse. My neighbor suggested it’s a reset, and I like that. It’s filled with detoxifying foods and cuts out coffee and alcohol. I’ve never done anything like this and have had daily coffee for 20 years, so stay tuned on how it goes. The easiest way to watch is to follow my Instagram stories at @KaleAndAle.

So I’ve decided this month will be about resetting–my system, my attitude, my actions. And that starts right away. As spoofed after the election on Saturday Night Live, I need to get out of the bubble. Only this wasn’t funny, since it hot so close to home and wasn’t a parody.

What actions or attributes are you focusing on in the new month or year?

Focus: Word of 2016

focus word of 2016 KaleandAle.com

This week I noticed people talking about having a word of the year, so I inquired about it, as it’s a new concept to me. Have you heard of adopting a word of the year?

I really liked the idea and how it built on my 2016 goals. I’m still working on the goals, but love boiling what I want to work on—in all aspects of life—down to one word. Like setting an intention in yoga—something that means a lot to me—I want to choose a word that fits into all aspects of life. Like a phrase that speaks to me, “this is where I am now,” the best word to sum up my hopes for the year is “focus.” I want to apply this to all aspects of my life.

With focus I hope to:

  • Be in the present at all times
  • Realize what needs to be done to achieve the future I want
  • Prioritize in all parts of life

I make lists, multitask and sometimes overextend myself, not fully giving any one thing my attention. I know that’s not fair to any one thing or person. A bad habit I’m working on breaking is saying “what” when someone says something, not because I didn’t hear or understand, but because I was doing something else so it takes an extra second to process.

By focusing on one thing at a time I can give that my full attention. I’m looking forward to incorporating more focus into my life and remembering my intention for 2016.

Do you have a word of the year? How do you pick your it or how does it impact you through the year?

Looking to 2016

 

2016 goals | Resolutions | Kale and Ale

Flickr user Maurice took the original image, which has been modified.

How can it be 2016 already? 2015 was the year I’d been working toward for many years, so as long as 2016 stays about the same, I’ll be happy. What about you?

To get caught up, I’ve shared my 2015 recaps on food, drink and fitness. Looking forward to 2016, the main theme is to keep bettering and improving myself from within. I’ve never been one for resolutions, but with continuous growth comes evaluation and deciding if one is on the right path, or if the path needs to be adjusted. A new year is a great time for that assessment.

The key things I want to focus on are as follows. What do you hope to accomplish or improve?

Fitness

In 2015 I ran one race and fewer miles than any year since taking up running. I don’t have friends here that run races like I did in Florida. This year I hope to find a running community or make a point to run a longer-distace race (10k or above) to challenge myself.

With that, I want to work on weight training. The past few months I’ve been going to the gym three days a week and hope to devote one of those days to weight training. The goal is to lose some stubborn pounds that cold winters have brought on, and to tone and strengthen my body by adding an element to my workouts that cardio alone isn’t providing.

Food

This big thing here is to grow and expand my garden, both in physical size and what is being grown. Last year I ended up with a lot of tomatoes and peppers and hope to add more variety this year. What might you suggest I grow that works well for the upper Midwest?

Personal Growth

2015 brought me together with the Twin Cities blogging community, and I want to get more involved in 2016. The connections and support this group has is great. I also want to learn one new thing a month I can apply to my blog and communications overall.

Beyond that, I want to foster more in real life connections I have, meeting up with peers, making it a point to set aside time to see friends, and Skype those far away more often. This is where I get a lot of satisfaction, having a few well-developed friendships.

What are your goals/hopes/dreams for 2016? Please leave them in the comments below.