No matter who you are, where you live or what your background is, this time of year tends to be chaotic for everyone. The days are jam packed with work meetings in an effort to get it all in before the holidays; social calendars are filled, often double booked on weekends for both kids and adults; and the shopping trips often create heightened traffic and chaos in our local communities. It’s hard to be zen because everyone is moving in different directions. So many Americans cite the holidays as the most stressful time of year. So, how can we really make this easier on ourselves? Last year, I showcased some of my favorite tips for de-stressing over the holiday season. This year, I want to keep it simple – just smile.
As a recovering work-obsessed multi-tasker, I spent most days analyzing work and life situations while also writing emails, listening to conference calls in the car driving, or reading industry information during exercise sessions. The idea of “doing it all” energized me. But truthfully, I was always exhausted and stressed. I took yoga a few times to “de-stress,” but found limiting my thoughts to be impossible. In addition, I felt foolish because I thought everyone around me was “better at stretching.” So I gave up before I really even began. Despite my lackluster first experiences with it, I ran to yoga after my second breast cancer diagnosis and haven’t turned back since.
We all have the power of choice. As hard as it might be at times, we can choose to wake up in the morning and be in a good mood. Despite bad weather, a burnt breakfast or any other seemingly annoying thing, we can choose to not let it bring down our day.
I thought I knew how to choose joy. After all, I did it in the hardest moments of my life. Throughout my first and second diagnosis with breast cancer, I smiled and handled myself with grace. I found a way to focus on fun despite the hardship. And I learned it from a wonder woman of positive spirit, Mary Ann. On one of my toughest days, just hours after being diagnosed as a 31-year old breast cancer patient, Mary Ann came to me. A kind-hearted and super-souled woman, she guided me through those first six months, helping me understand the intense physical and emotional toll of cancer. She assured me that even as a newlywed cancer patient, I could be happy. I listened. And I was.
Through most of my life, I’ve been an optimist. I’ve always chosen to find joy in the little things…a scribbled picture from a loved one, an episode of Days of Our Lives or a goofy gesture from a friend. It was these simple items or acts that originally helped me be present, smile and find the calmness in my life. When my cancer returned, filling days with stress and uncertainty, I sought out Zen practices. I thought about how I needed to find peace from within, rather than relying on these acts/items to provide it. In the last few years, I’ve found small tools that not only increase positivity; they have also helped me find peace and calm during stressful situations. Yesterday, I spoke about this and my favorite smartphone apps that focus on mindfulness on WTNH-TV’s CT Style.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…insert music and bright flashing lights here. Then pull the curtain back and you see reality. Rushing from urgent work meetings to children’s holiday concerts, then to festive parties and last-minute bargain shopping events, this season is filled with joy and plenty of stress. Being an achiever, I’ve always tried to get it all done with a smile. Though, no matter how many errands I delegate or projects I put off until next year, I still feel a little anxious in the scurry to get it all done. This year, I put my super healthy gadget girl powers to the test and tried a few devices to help de-stress. I even spoke about this, finding a little zen during the holiday season, on CT Style our local ABC affiliate award-winning lifestyle morning show. Below are some of my favorites gadgets and tools.
The holiday season is well under way. If you haven’t started shopping, there’s still time to buy online or run to the mall to beat the crowds and out-of-stock shelves. Knowing many parents start shopping first with kids in mind, we premiered our 2015 Healthy Holiday Gift Guide for Kids last week. Now, we’re releasing the grown-up version, the 2015 Healthy Holiday Gift Guide. As I mentioned in last year’s feature, since I’ve embraced an organic, low-toxin lifestyle, I always investigate and experiment with new products and services that focus on health and wellness. I’ve attended seminars, events, and researched the latest guides in search of unique gift ideas that won’t break the bank. Here are some of my favorite items that focus on wellness.