Welcome to the season of giving — of self, time and gifts!
The Christmas season is one of my favourite ones because, well, I love to give gifts. I start planning those “special” gifts for family and friends much too early, but I enjoy the thought, the planning and the giving processes. Some of the non-physical gifts I enjoy offering to others is time, knowledge and encouragement. However, in the giving, I sometimes forget that I become drained, especially if I forget to take time for myself to recharge and reenergize.
How often do you forget to give to yourself? Probably way more than you’d like to admit, especially if you’re a mom. Moms give selfless to their families and expect very little in return. Unfortunately, in giving of themselves, moms also become drained, unhealthy, and unhappy. To be a good mom, you need to give time to yourself to be energized and fulfilled. Then like a teapot, you have something to pour out.
How do you do that? Fill your “teapot” or “cup” daily, so you have something to give. It’s not selfish. It’s a must in order for you to be reenergized and able to give freely of yourself.
Ways to Fill Yourself
- keep a gratitude journal like The Five-Minute Journal (working on this one)
- plan “me” time into your schedule weekly, if not, daily
- take a bubble bath with candles, quiet music and perhaps, a book (yep, this is my go-to)
- go for a walk in nature
- hang out with girlfriends without children or husbands
- practice gratitude daily
- exercise by doing something you enjoy like Zumba, yoga or barre
- go to a movie
- take a nap
- get a pedicure and/or manicure
- garden (if you like doing this)
- bake cookies to eat or give away (another of my favourites)
- go for a walk
- add your own idea
The holiday season is one of giving and pouring out, but you need to recharge too. Choose one of the above ideas and put it on your schedule. It’s your choice of whether you’ll survive or thrive. I’d choose thrive because that has so much more potential. When you thrive, you are more grateful, happier and willing to give of yourself.
Did you know that grateful people are happier?
Some researchers in 2003 conducted a study on the effect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being.  It was observed that gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being. In fact, those who kept gratitude journals regularly exercised more frequently, reported fewer negative physical symptoms, felt better overall as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events. Negativity and pessimism are truly Debbie Downers. Individuals who kept gratitude lists, whether weekly or daily, were more often to make progress toward important personal goals such as academic, interpersonal, and healthy living. Give a gratitude journal a try for the month of December. You have nothing to lose.
Grateful people report higher levels of 
- positive emotions
- life satisfaction
- improved vitality
- greater optimism
- lower levels of depression
- reduced stress response
Individuals who daily reflect on their blessings often experience a healthier sense of well-being. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have negative emotions. But what it does mean is that grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life rather their attitude of gratefulness enhances the propensity to positive, healthy reflection and thoughts and over-rides the negativity that might try and encroach around them. Basically, it’s a choice.
Check out this Psychology Today article, “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude.”
Or read Melissa’s blog post over at Simple Lionheart Life about “How to Start a Gratitude Practice.” 
My gift to you this holiday season is my revised Healthy Holiday Recipe eBook.
Starting a Gratitude Practice
In this season of giving, it is an excellent time to embark on beginning a gratitude practice. Some of you will instantly think journal, but a gratitude practice can be incorporated into your life in other ways too. I would recommend that you first build an attitude of gratitude into your life as often as possible. As Oprah says, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”  However you choose to practice gratitude, keep it regular. Personally, I find doing it daily makes the most impact on my mental health and attitude.
Another way to practice gratitude is to give of your resources or time. The holiday season has many opportunities to give to the less fortunate. You can gift someone in need by giving to organizations like Samaritan’s Purse’s Pack A Shoebox or The Mustard Seed‘s feeding a homeless person this holiday season. Or perhaps, make an online loan through Kiva to an entrepreneur across the globe for as little as $25. Dreams are universal; however, the opportunity to fulfill those dreams is not. Give for others to experience an opportunity that could change their lives and families for the better — now that’s a gift. Just researching and writing this up has filled my heart to overflowing realizing that someone’s life might be changed positively. That’s the feeling of gratitude!
With New Year 2019 soon to be here, I am excited about all that I will be able to offer to you in 2019! I hope you have a joyous, prosperous, and of course, Happy, Healthy Christmas and New Year!
Are you wanting to change your attitude and put health on your radar for 2019? Don’t wait until January 1st to begin. Instead, start before the Christmas season derails you further. I started my journey many years ago in the month of December. In fact, I took out all dairy and gluten before Christmas — yikes! I did it though and my gut was so much happier, which spilled over to a good holiday season. Take your own step towards health by scheduling your free Discover Chat today. Call (403.801.5698) or email today. I’m waiting to cheer you on to an amazing healthful and vibrant 2019.
 Robert A. Emmons, and Michael E. McCullough, (2003). “Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12585811
 Nancy Williams, “Giving Thanks: Your Key to Well-Being” CBN.com
 Melissa Russell, “How to Start a Gratitude Practice,” Simple Lionheart Life, Dec 10, 2017.
 Oprah Winfrey, https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/oprah_winfrey_163087