It’s the holiday season … a time of dark, cold mornings, short days and busy nights, tending to the hustle and bustle of getting things done for various holiday celebrations, all the while gorging ourselves on delicious — but often calorie-laden — holiday foods. The average day passes quickly, and you usually find yourself collapsing into bed at the end of it feeling completely exhausted.
On the first day of my 30-day detox, I could almost hear its caffeinated whispers wafting from the steaming mugs at my local coffee shop, calling my name and tempting me with the promise of caffeine-induced productivity.
I didn’t get any withdrawal headaches, but by the first afternoon of my detox adventure, my head felt fuzzy and my body on-edge. What had I gotten myself into? This is ridiculous … I can’t be addicted to coffee. No, I just love coffee. As a matter of fact, I actually read that it aids with mental stimulation and exercise endurance!
“You see, Kim, coffee is undoubtedly a vital nutrient,” chimed a perfect pillow of latte foam from a passing customer’s to-go cup.
It’s only a month, I reminded myself as that foggy first day eventually fell into a cloudless sunset.
But wait, I can’t have wine either?
Holidays are a time for family, friends and — let’s not kid ourselves — food. I love to go away for a few days and eat things I normally don’t in amounts that would shock a Sumo wrestler. Hence, it may be the season to be jolly, but it’s also a time when it’s all too easy to pack on the pounds along with the cheer.
It feels like with every passing year, the holiday craziness creeps up a little faster. While I love the true spirit of the holidays — time with family, generosity, celebration — I do find that the stress of keeping up with everything makes for some sleepless nights.
Apparently I’m not alone. Many people say that they have trouble calming their minds at night as the year dips into winter and the holiday festivities begin. Some people even resort to sleeping pills to get through until the New Year.
Fortunately, I have found that meditation works so much better than sleeping pills — and there are no troublesome side effects to worry about. The following meditation techniques are favorites of mine, and they work wonders to help me slip gently into sleep at night.
For both of these techniques, start by getting comfortable in your bed. Lie on your back with your arms resting lightly at your sides.
The holiday season can be a stressful time of year. Ironically, many of us find ourselves strung out and unhappy at a time when we expect to be at our happiest. How you handle the stress of the holiday season has a lot to do with the kind of person your are. Knowing that, you can use specific strategies to deal with holiday demands and make the season what is was meant to be: joyous.
Around Thanksgiving, I’m drawn to the subject of gratitude and how to put it into practice on a daily basis. I have to admit, I’m not ready for the typical stress of the holiday season and am on a mission to keep the season as stress-free as possible with a mixture of appreciation for all that I have and awareness of all I can give.
I can trace my path to eco-awareness from a desire for undershirts. Baby undershirts, to be exact.
I have to admit it: last year, my traveling to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, to see polar bears in the wild was motivated not only by a 10-year anniversary but by a fear that soon the animals could be gone. I go to see glaciers because I’m afraid we’re losing them. And this coming January, I’m returning to Yellowstone National Park to try to photograph our nation’s wolves before they almost completely disappear in the Lower 48 — again.
You could call me an “extinction tourist.”
I’m far from unique. In fact, today people are traveling in ever-greater numbers to see what they think could quickly vanish from the Earth. While just a few years ago travelers might have endeavored to tick off all seven continents or Africa’s Big Five wildlife species, today there’s a certain “cred” given to those who see the landscapes, animals and plants that are just managing to hang on. And tour providers are tapping into that desire with their marketing messages. “See [fill in your favorite endangered animals] before they’re gone!”
But should tourism companies use threatened species as marketing tools? Given our ability to tune out ads, does that minimize the dire circumstances that these animals and environments are now in and dilute the attention that conservation messages might have been able to muster?
Want to eat healthier? Skip the whole-wheat bread and start eating wheat the right way — with wheat berries!
Wheat berries are wheat kernels direct from the stalk with only the hull removed (the inedible portion). Wheat berries represent wheat in its least processed, most nutrient-dense form.
Thinking about Thanksgiving prompted me to write this blog. I saved it to my computer, planning to post it online as soon as I got a chance. Then coincidentally I heard a radio interview with psychologist Robert Emmons, author of a book called Thanks. Emmons has spent years studying positive psychology, and in the interview he pointed out that gratitude is more than a tool for self-improvement. “Gratitude is a way of life,” he said, noting how being grateful can improve your health physically as well as mentally.