This winter season, instead of getting swept away by all the holiday hustle and bustle or falling into the winter blues, take some time to down shift and recharge your batteries.
Story by Juliete Palenshus
Winter and the holidays can be stressful, but you can boost your well-being by slowing down and taking the time to eat nutritious foods, enjoy friends, reconnect with your spiritual side, make family a priority and engage in activities that add a sense of purpose to your life. Residents living in the original Blue Zones regions around the world share some common lifestyle habits, called the Power 9, that have proved to help them live longer, healthier, happier lives.
SLOW DOWN, DOWN SHIFT AND DE-STRESS
Americans are driven to do more and acquire more, all of which takes up a lot of time. Studies show that Americans who are employed full time work an average of 43 hours per week and take shorter paid vacations than other workers around the world. And when they do take time off, at least 20 percent of them stay in touch with the office.
Blue Zones researchers found that people who have made it to 100 seem to have a secret. They’re wise enough to realize that life’s most precious moments will pass us by if we’re too busy to notice them. Taking the time to appreciate life’s simple pleasures is a powerful stress reliever, contributes to a happier outlook, and results in a greater sense of well-being.
The holidays offer us the perfect excuse to slow down and notice the simple things that give us joy. This holiday season, create a peaceful sanctuary in time by cutting back on the noise and commotion of everyday life.
Shut down the computer and focus on relaxing with the ones you love.
As one Blue Zones centenarian aptly put it, “Life is short. Don’t run so fast you miss it.”
THIS HOLIDAY SEASON, CREATE A PEACEFUL SANCTUARY IN TIME BY CUTTING BACK ON THE NOISE AND COMMOTION OF EVERYDAY LIFE.
TEST YOUR DOWN SHIFT SAVVY
Which of these activities are most likely to help you down shift and relax?
a. Enjoying a happy hour with friends b. Surfing the internet
c. Meditating or taking a yoga class
d. Walking the dog
The correct answers are: a, c, and d. Spending a happy hour socializing with your “moai” — or network of close friends— is a great way to relax and reconnect. Meditating or taking a yoga class offers the mind a chance to slow down and take a break from the daily chaos of life. Walking the dog is another great way to down shift and rejuvenate the senses.
TOP 5 WAYS TO KEEP YOU SMILING THROUGH THE WINTER
Keep your spirits bright this holiday season and into the new year with these five easy tips:
Take time to unwind. The holidays can be stressful. Set aside time to relax with your loved ones, and make sure you also have some quiet time to yourself.
Keep moving. Find ways to move your body more throughout the day to relieve stress and combat weight gain. Take regular walks with friends and family or enroll in a yoga class to relieve stress.
Don’t try to lose weight or stick to a restrictive diet this holiday season. If you enjoy your favorite foods in smaller portions with healthy options in between, you’ll feel satisfied, not deprived.
Stop eating when you’re 80 percent full. Remember to drink plenty of water.
Socializing with friends during the holidays will help keep your spirits bright.
Bring in the comedy. Spend time with friends and loved ones who bring out your giggles, watch a funny movie and keep a good sense of humor about yourself. Laughing burns calories, reduces stress and means you are enjoying the company of your loved ones.