The winter season is a very distinct time of year—a season of brighter lights, longer nights and extra layers. While winter is buzzing with holiday festivities, it’s also a season of culmination, reflection and ultimately change. If spring is the season of new beginnings, then winter holds the spiritual reflection that prepares us for that rebirth.
In this entry of “Ask Anna,” Lakehouse’s Wellness Concierge Anna Stahl recommends managing expectations and practicing gratitude. While every new season comes with blessings and challenges, each new period is an opportunity to orient yourself to where you want to be physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
“During this time of year it is important to set and understand your true level of expectation,” says Anna. “These include expectations you may have for yourself, consciously or subconsciously. Expectations regarding work, deadlines and your ability to be pulled in too many directions before you ‘break.’ Expectations to give and help everyone else, but yourself; expectations of others—including friends, neighbors and family members.” While the holidays can be overwhelming as much as they are exciting, Anna has tips to reduce any burnout, angst and frustration that may arise.
Feed your body high-quality, protein-rich meals, omega fatty acids and fermented foods. Health of the mind is so closely tied to the health of the body, so nourish your brain and gut with probiotics and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—commonly found in salmon and other cold-water fish. Hydrate regularly, and manage your caffeine intake. Some choice foods Anna recommends: chia pudding, cruciferous vegetables (kale, cauliflower and broccoli), salmon and cod, avocados, olives, ghee and other high-quality proteins.
- Movement and Music
This tip is simple: Move your body freely. “Strengthening and stretching your muscles allows for stability, balance and coordination. Throw on a playlist that makes you smile and gift yourself the beauty of a mind-body connection,” Anna advises.
This one is more of a mindset than an action item. “There is only so much one person can do. Understand this, embrace this, and allow yourself some grace,” says Anna. “The never-ending to-do lists, the holiday perfectionism, the hoopla of gifts. What if you took a step back and relished in the simplicity of the year?” Reconsider what brings you joy, and focus on what’s truly important to you. And, of course, allow yourself to ask for and accept the help of others whenever possible.
- Volunteer and Give Back
“Take note of how you can use your strengths as a human to give to others,” says Anna.
If you are in the position to give back this year, your generosity is needed more than ever. Small donations go a long way for a plethora of causes—zero in on a charitable organization that speaks to you and give what you can. Acts of service are not only a huge part of what makes us human, but also an opportunity to place life into perspective.
- Self-love and Relaxation
According to Anna, real self-care goes beyond massages, facials, baths and cozy holiday movies. It also encompasses having those difficult conversations, setting boundaries and standing up for yourself. “When a day becomes too overwhelming, sit with yourself, journal, read a book, learn about a topic you are passionate about or take a walk. All of this helps you process and allows for you to calm your mind and emotions,” Anna advises. Basic things like proper rest, attentiveness to your emotions and patience with life are essential to managing stress.
- Real Connection Through Communication
This past year has definitely made us deeply reconsider the word “connection” and our need for it. Nowadays, we might be talking about WiFi more so than in-person reunions when we use the word “connection,” but it’s so important to honor the latter idea. “Call your family, FaceTime, actually talk with friends, schedule an in-person meetup with those in your social bubble. Increase your actual communication and quality time with loved ones. Great discussion provokes great next steps!”
Even with the whirlwind of emotions and events this season brings, a shining tenant our Wellness Concierge insists upon is patience. Enjoy the season at your own pace. “With sensory stimulation on overload .it’s important to be patient with one another,” says Anna. “Let’s remember we each have our own story to tell, with joys and pain. Let’s align our behaviors with true well-being and happiness, for ourselves and for those around us.”
Everyone here at Lakehouse wishes you a happy, healthy and fulfilling holiday season and new year ahead.