Is it just me, or is anyone else blown away by the fact that it is already December 6th? I feel like it was literally just the beginning of summer two days ago and now we are 19 days away from Christmas and 26 days away from 2019! Say what?!?! It’s that time of the year where our social media feeds flood with the quintessential holiday decor pictures (hey, I do it too, nothing wrong with spreading a little cheer!) but it’s also the time when all the memes/various social media posts start to pop up about how awful this year was and how the New Year can’t come soon enough. I have so been there. In fact, I’ve been there every year since 2015. Let’s be real…life happens. It’s messy and raw and a tumultuous rollercoaster — but it’s also freaking beautiful and deserves to be celebrated.
This year I decided that instead of counting down the days until I can put 2018 behind me for a fresh start, I’m going to utilize these days to the max to celebrate all that 2018 has given me, all that I have learned, and to strengthen my mind, body, and soul over the next 3+ weeks!
For those of you who have been reading my posts from the start (thank you!) you know I am all about consistency as opposed to intensity and a huge believer in slow and steady wins the race. I’ve coined my goals for these last few weeks of 2018 as my “strength challenge” and it is made up of the tiniest, easiest steps! I feel this time of the year is often when we put far too much pressure on ourselves and set ourselves up for ultimate failure and disappointment when we don’t reach these tremendous and unrealistic goals. So, I’ll keep this short and sweet and share with you what I’m challenging myself to and hopefully inspire a few of you to challenge yourselves as well! (in whatever way you chose, it can look completely different than mine!)
I want to physically strengthen my body by doing at least 1 to 2 minutes (yes, only minutes!) of “physical strengthening” a day. For me this looks like planking, lifting weights, using my medicine ball, doing crunches or any other various isometric exercises. Do I still want to get to the gym a few times a week and get in my cardio and a longer workout? Absolutely. But when I’ve been fighting off being sick and everything else seems to get in the way, this does the trick. I know it sounds insane, but try it. I’m ten days in and seeing (and feeling) visible results. Muscle memory is an amazing thing. Owning your strength is an even more amazing thing. These few minutes a day truly leave me feeling STRONG!
I want to focus on nourishing my body with healthy food. Yes, ‘‘tis the season” and there are tons of holiday parties and treats and drinks to be had, but we can still maintain overall healthy eating habits. Instead of going nuts for weeks on end, beating yourself up, and then flip flopping to the opposite extreme, just aim to live by the good ole 80/20 rule. Life is meant to be lived so by all means…ENJOY yourself! But still aim to make healthy decisions 80 percent or so of the time. Hint: crock pot meals/soups are a great way to get those extra veggies in! I LOVE sharing recipes, so hit me up! Also, check out @cleanfoodcrush on instagram - 90% of what I’ve been making have been coming from her site!
Soak in gratitude. I can’t even begin to list all that I am grateful for. Mike and I are exactly where we want to be. He is less than 6 months away from graduation and is kicking butt in school. I just celebrated my 30th birthday! For a girl whose parents were told I wouldn’t live past the first 24 hours, that is pretty incredible. Mike threw me the most amazing birthday party and all of our family and friends came. My best friends flew in from Chicago, California, and Massachusetts over the Thanksgiving weekend to celebrate with me. It was truly one of the most touching weekends I have ever experienced and my heart officially burst with love and gratitude for my loved ones. I’ve been wrestling a bit recently with not being able to have children, but this year I was gifted with 3 of the most incredible little guys: Micah, Jackson, and August. The list goes on and on…
Care for my body. For me, this means a lot of rest. I promised myself this fall that I wouldn't overbook and over do it, and I think I did a pretty decent job of sticking to that (for one of the first times ever!) In conjunction with the other steps I’ve mentioned above, I’ve been super into my DoTerra essential oils, specifically the On Guard protective blend. This blend helps to strengthen the immune system and does wonders if you feel like you are coming down with something. Jill gave me the oils for my birthday, along with the On Guard toothpaste and cough drops. I am determined to stay as healthy as possible! Plus, diffusing my oils is a great way to relax at night and compliments my meditation practice.
Get outside. Yes, it’s almost officially winter and it’s cold. But bundle up and get outside, just for a mere ten minutes, ESPECIALLY on days when the sun is shining. A little fresh air and some vitamin D does wonders. It will leave you feeling invigorated and put some pep in your step.
I could go on, but I think those 5 are a good starting point.
I faced some of my greatest physical and mental health challenges over the summer when I was suffering from extreme A.Fib. There were days where I truly didn’t know how I was going to make it. But 5+ months later, here I am, on the other side again. I won’t go into all of those nitty gritty details - but I managed to ditch my unhealthy, self-medicating habits and really learn to just sit with my emotions. With the help of my incredible husband and my amazing family and friends, I truly feel stronger than I thought possible.
So for now…I’m going to soak in the season. I’m going to relish in gratitude and enjoy my little table top Christmas tree and feel festive and love with all I’ve got. And in 13 days I’m going to get on a plane, turn off my phone, and celebrate my 5 year wedding anniversary and Christmas in Aruba for 6 wonderful days with my husband and best friend in the world.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season…cheers to finishing strong!