Scattered, unclaimed presents, like socks, are strewn around my living room this morning. Empty gift bags and tissue paper grace the dog-hair-covered ottoman. Ornaments now decorate the tree skirt as tired evergreen branches droop. I must confess that I’m kind of tired and droopy, too.
It’s the holiday hangover, sober-style. The season to be jolly is in the rearview mirror, but its effects remain. High emotion and activity is replaced by exhaustion. The days are grey and colder. Time off is evaporating. By now, many of us are feeling quite like our bank accounts: depleted. It’s no wonder we are eager to re-set with the new year right around the corner. But, personally, I’m not a fan of resolutions. Why? Because a vow today may not bring lasting change tomorrow. Instead it could lead to discouragement and shame when we find the resolution unattainable or unsustainable.
So, what to do if you’re feeling like me: anxious to de-clutter and streamline, not only your living space, but your whole life? What can you do instead of making a list of resolutions? I suggest that we nourish ourselves. When the gas tank is empty, you fill it, right?
So rather than resolving to make changes by January 1, let’s fill ourselves up so that we have energy to get where we want to go! There will be plenty of time to figure out our purposeful direction down the line, with goal-setting and vision-casting (and even resolutions, if you insist). But first things first, it’s time to replenish, to fill our cups again.
Here are some ideas for how to nourish your way out of a holiday hangover, and how to prep for a successful new year:
1. Dare to get outside every day. I have a friend in Minnesota who shovels snow shirt-less. (It’s a guy, in case you were wondering.) A girlfriend of mine has taken up polar bear swims (not just a plunge, since she remains in the water)! I have seen videos of Nordic children playing outside in the snow…in their underwear. (For more on the cold’s health benefits, google: cold thermogenesis.)
Okay, even I can admit that this all seems extreme, but I also find it inspiring, don’t you? I used to ask my husband to drop me off right in front of wherever we were going to avoid a short walk from the parking spot to our destination. I faced the cold weather with shoulders hunched and a grimace on my face. No more.
I’ve learned that just as a dip in temperature is natural and normal in the winter time, exposing ourselves to the cold is normal and natural, too. I am intentionally switching my mindset to see the cold air as invigorating. When I walk out my front door and feel the first blast of frigid air, I stand tall, with jacket unbuttoned, and think to myself “It’s not that bad!” And I believe it. It’s nourishment for the spirit when we connect with the elements. So, look for a way to add it to your life, whether it’s just a walk around the block with a neighbor or a quick jaunt to the local coffee shop and back. I go outside daily (thanks to my dog, Summer). Ironically, Summer has helped me make the most of winter!
2. Drink soup. I just saw a greeting card that said: "You know you’re old when you like soup." I disagree! All ages can enjoy it, and actually I see soup as an anti-aging tool! Broth can erase fine lines better than any fancy OTC creams. It rejuvenates the skin on the outside, while healing the gut on the inside. You need the good stuff, though. I’m not talking about canned soup from a supermarket shelf. I’m talking about broth made from organic, hormone-free animals. This truly has the power to satisfy, nourish, and detox our bodies. (For more on this, google: nourishing broth.)
Personally, I get broth from a local farm and then add veggies, sour cream, etc. for endless varieties of warm, healing soup. Go ahead and experiment by making your own broth or soup. It’s surprisingly easy and, if you make it in quantity, you and your family will be nourished for days!
3. Don’t hibernate. It’s easy to get lethargic when the days are shorter in the wintertime. To fight that zombie-like feeling that makes us want to stay immobile, we’ve got to do the opposite. Look for ways to embrace winter activity—be it skating, skiing, even running (which makes the cold feel less intense). I often run to counteract the cold. I get where I’m going faster and (bonus) I feel warmer as I burn energy.
There are activities you can do inside, too, of course! Ax-throwing is trending. Bowling is classic. Or how about dusting off some old workout dvds (Tae Bo, anyone?) before you Netflix binge a bit. Your spirit will be surprised, reinvigorated, and, yes, nourished by movement. You may be sore, but you won’t be sorry!
This weekend, I hope to combine all three of these nourishing ideas, by taking a hike in the great outdoors and following it up with a warm bowl of soup! Once I'm well-nourished, I'll consider what realistic goals I might want to set for the new year. But nourishment will certainly come first.
What about you? Will you enter the new year with, or without, resolutions? And, more importantly, how will you nourish yourself in the next few days?
Hilda Labrada Gore is the host and producer of the Wise Traditions podcast. It is sponsored by the Weston A. Price Foundation for wise traditions in food, farming, and the healing arts! Hilda is also an integrative nutrition health coach, a fitness professional, and the DC Metro Regional Director for Body & Soul Fitness. In addition, she leads the contemporary music service for National Presbyterian Church. She lives in D.C. with her husband, Mitch, their children, and their cat and dog.