The Secret Sauce to Savoring the Holidays for Busy People

by Debbie Lyn Toomey Speaker, Author, Trainer

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How many times have you heard yourself or others say any of these statements recently?

“I cannot believe the holidays are here already!”

“What can I do this year so that I can enjoy myself for a change?”

“How am I going to get all my work done and still have time to shop for presents?”

Yes, folks it’s true! It’s the middle of November and it’s officially the holiday season. While it may seem like Father Time sprinted through 2015 (instead of marching), there are ways to have him slow down so we can relax, reflect, and rest and enjoy the end of the year before the new one begins. My “secret sauce” will help you can gain more time to cherish this wonderful season.

Bitter-Sweet

If you’re like many busy people, you’re probably still trying to remember what you did last month! Realizing the fact that the holidays are suddenly upon us can be enough to make some people cringe and even cry. Although traditionally this is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” some people find it difficult to be happy for various reasons such as: having too much on their plate from work- life responsibilities, lack of financial stability, and lack of support from others. Unfortunately, the holidays can be a bitter sweet time of the year where it can feel like salt has been added to deep unresolved wounds.

Too much!

Time does have a way of escaping us because of our busy work and life schedules. It’s becoming more and more difficult to stop and slow down. I’ve coached many busy people who fall into the same old trap of doing and planning. The mere thought of sitting and reflecting takes a back seat because it seems like an unproductive use of our time. As mentioned in my forthcoming book on living a productive and positive life, “Our time management skills are constantly being challenged because of the compounding distractions that are coming from all directions as well as our shortening attention span. Our lives are filled with so many distractions both external and internal multi-sensorial stimuli. The external stimuli come from two main sources: technology and team. Our techie toys are so distracting that even the mere presence of them on our desk tempts us to touch them and use them when we don’t need to. The teams of people in our personal and professional lives can be a source of support or stress. As if those distractions are not enough, we also get internal distractions that bombard and overload us with negative thoughts that ruminate and keep us from feeling good and proud of ourselves. These inner distractions add to self- sabotage, keeping us from producing easily and effectively.” We have so much to contend with in our daily lives that for some the holidays can become more of a burden instead of a blessing.

Special for Everyone

Yes, the holidays are upon us and with them come their own sets of stressors such as shopping for “that perfect gift,” having a reasonable financial holiday budget, decorating, and going to parties. While some love this time of the year, studies have shown that there is an increase in depression, suicide attempts, and drug and alcohol use for others. No one is safe from the stress that happens during this time of the year.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), women experience a higher level of stress than men during the holidays. It is because women tend to take on the work burden to ensure the best possible holiday traditions are celebrated.

The Secret Sauce for a Health & Happy Holiday Season- Gratitude & Mindfulness (6)-11180

What’s in that Sauce?

Although stress is unavoidable, there are two ways of adding sweetness to the holiday season that will get even the busiest CEO whistling his favorite holiday tune as he greets his team. These two ingredients create such a rich combination that they can’t help but awaken all the senses. The two special ingredients that make up the secret sauce are: gratitude and mindfulness. When added together they can: turn bitterness into sweet, make the tough into tender, and heavy into something light. This secret sauce combination is the easiest and most practical way for today’s busy professionals to relish and savor the holiday season so that they have more time to celebrate, communicate, and connect with those they care about.

Yummy Moments

Gratitude and Mindfulness are great ways to bring purposeful awareness, attention, and appreciation to your holiday experience. Together they will give you: more time to be productive, an increased sense of purpose in your actions, and greater positivity in your day. Practicing gratitude is a heart-centered practice that can make you feel connected, blessed, and special. Practicing mindfulness can make you feel more alive, awake, and allowing. Both of these two techniques combined have hundreds of studies that prove their ability to improve health, boost happiness, enhance relationships, and increase productivity during the holiday season. The beauty of these two practices happens during the millions of micro-moments throughout the day. The “practice” happens when we purposely remember what is happening within us and around us—without judgment. Exercising these new habits will deepen your neural pathways and ensure sustainable success in creating positive experiences in your life.

Recipe for a Sweet Holiday Season

Directions:

  1. Ask yourself what you want this holiday season to look and feel like for you. Just like with any recipe that you’ve never made before you might first have to look at the picture so that you will have an idea of what the dish will look like.
  2. “Prepave” your holiday festivities with the feeling and images of what you would like it to be for yourself. “Prepaving” is a way of creating and attracting what you want through visualization and positive emotions. Feel as if it is happening now. Have fun using your imagination to visualize and tune into what your holiday celebration is going to be like. There’s no right or wrong way of doing this. Picture yourself purposefully being aware and appreciative of what’s going on around you so that you will experience the beauty of the season so much more.
  3. Practice and play with the secret sauce ingredients throughout your days and nights.
  4. Enjoy adding other quality ingredients to this special sauce such as: creativity, courage, and self-compassion.

Key Ingredients:

1. Gratitude:

According to gratitude expert, Robert Emmons, gratitude is defined as a “felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.” In other words, it’s more than just saying “thanks.” This year instead of sitting in traffic just to shop from place to place, save yourself some time and lots of misery by staying at home. Instead of shopping for gifts why not make them in a form of a gratitude letter to those you care about. This practice has been proven to boost levels of happiness for a weeks and weeks for both the writer and the recipient.

Here’s how to get started. Think of that special someone in your life that you need to get a gift for. Get a piece of paper (preferably a nice stationary) and write down how they have impacted your life in a positive way. Write from your heart and elaborate as much as you can. When you are done put it in an envelope and personally deliver it to that person and ask them to read it in front of you. Notice their expression. Notice yours. Notice how this loving practice can turn your holiday into a magical one. Try to do this to for as many people as you can. Schedule a time every evening during this holiday season to write out one letter to deliver in person. If you allow yourself to do one letter at a time, you’ll notice what may seem like a burden in the beginning will become a blessing in the end. The practice of gratitude will make you feel blessed and blissful. Once you get into your gratitude letter writing routine this holiday season notice how you look forward to doing it each day or night. This delicious ritual will gift you the special time to relax, reflect, and remember so many golden moments that you’ve shared with your loved ones. You’ll thank yourself for doing this!

2. Mindfulness:

According to mindfulness expert, Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is “paying attention in a particular way on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Any activity when done purposely and with a beginners mind is considered a mindfulness activity. In other words, activities such as washing the dishes, walking, or watching can be a mindfulness activity as long as the person purposely aims to notice and experience that particular activity fully and without judgment.

Here’s how to begin this practice. During this holiday season, purposely gift yourself about 20 minutes of mindfulness by focusing on one of the five senses at a time. Start with mindfulness seeing and purposely notice all the shapes and colors that you see around you. Once you see something that catches your eye, look even closer. What do you see? Do you see any intricate patterns that make up that particular object? Notice the different shades of colors that meld together to make the colors that you see. Is that object manmade? If so, think about how that particular item made it there in front of you. Look with a beginner’s eye and notice as much as you can in that period of time. The next time you plan your mindful sit, try another sense like taste. Practice savoring when you are eating all the delicious food during your holiday festivities. Imagine as though it was the first time you’ve tasted that food. Notice how long it took you to chew it and swallow it. Try to figure out the flavors that were used in that particular dish. Notice how slowing down and savoring your food helps you stay on track with your diet because you are appreciating each bite and notice when your stomach is full. Practicing mindfulness during this holiday season might just be one of the easiest ways to keep the extra pounds off by mindfully noticing what goes in to your body. Imagine going into the New Year without having to add “lose holiday weight” in your New Year’s Resolution!

Adding gratitude and mindfulness will surely add more richness to your holidays. This delicious combination of ingredients will kick up your festivities a notch so that you can have your cake and eat it too– without guilt. Once you begin practicing these techniques, you will notice that you have more time for more important things and people in your life. Cultivating gratitude and mindfulness in your busy life will not only make you healthier and happier but also add more harmony to your life. Begin today and look around you. Challenge yourself to find something new that you haven’t seen before. Have fun and have yourself a healthy and happy holiday season!

Do you have a way of making this holiday season fun and stress-free? Please share your suggestions with me below. Thank you in advance!

Spring Clearing Detox

Happy spring week!

I love this time of the year because it symbolizes new life and new beginnings. One of the best activities to do this season is a Spring Clearing Detox. This will surely help you shed some old heavy habits that have  been weighing you down and keeping  you from moving faster towards the life of your dreams. Unlike the standard detoxification formula that cleanses the impurities from our physical bodies, my Spring Clearing Detox technique clears out the impurities from our energetic bodies. In a nutshell, this technique gets rid of old limiting beliefs and thought processes that are making us feel overweight, overwhelmed, and overly tired carrying our work-life burdens. It’s that simple.

I started doing this many years ago when my old New Year’s Resolutions were not lasting and resulted in me feeling frustrated. It made me become more critical of myself and created a ripple of poor choices and not-so-happy moments in my life.  I felt terrible! That’s when I decided to make simple and small changes.  I started evaluating what wasn’t working right and the patterns that created those not right moments. Once I identified them I made a conscious effort to do one thing that would stop the pattern. Pretty soon I started to see my life turn around and my dreams manifest. It was great and my Spring Clearing Detox exercise was born!

Ground Hog Day

It’s not too late to honor your 2015 promise to yourself to look good and feel good. The best way to start doing this is to take inventory of some old habits that are just making your life like the movie Ground Hog Day. Every day is the same and you can pretty much predict what people are going to say and when things will happen.  I tell my coaching clients to just start with one habit and work towards eliminating it. It’s amazing to witness them as they move from feeling stressed and stuck to successful. New habits start to form and pretty soon the habits become natural and simple for them to be incorporate into their lives.  Eventually the new habits allow them to create a happier and healthier life.

4 Steps to begin your own Spring Clearing

Here’s how to begin a clearer approach to living an abundant and awesome life.

  1. Ask yourself what habit has been keeping you from moving towards your true happiness.
  2. Determine what it is. (Key here is to start with one habit.)
  3. Ask yourself what one small thing you can do to start bringing more awareness to that habit.
  4. Determine a simple positive habit that you can replace it with that will add more joy and meaning into your life.

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Ready to give it a try?

Spring clearing is tossing out an old habit that’s keeping you from growing. This technique is perfect for anyone who has been feeling stuck in one area of your life and want a way to start moving things forward. This technique has been one of my secrets to automatically manifesting and creating my heart’s desire. Not sure of what habit to get rid of and need coaching for consistent support and guidance to reach your goals? Contact me at Debbie.ultimatehealingjourney@gmail.com today so you can start moving towards the direction of your dreams.

Cheers,

Debbie Lyn

2015 Game Changer

Healthy and Happy 2015 to you!

This year instead of having a New Year’s “re”solution why not try a “solution” instead? Retire the past, ineffective New Year’s resolution and try something simple and effective. Use a one-word-mantra that best describes what you want for yourself this year—it worked for me and I know it can work for you too. Still not convinced about trying out this easy technique? Maybe these facts can help sway you towards adopting a new solution for a healthier and happier year.

1. 45% people make New Year’s resolutions
2. 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolutions
3. Top 4 areas of resolutions: #1 Self Improvement or education related resolutions, #2 Weight loss, #3 Finances, # 4 Relationships

Source: University of Scranton’s Survey conducted January 1, 2014 and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

The solution focused.

I actually stopped doing New Year’s resolutions 10 years ago because I got tired of being too hard on myself for failing to accomplish my long list of personal and professional goals. That year I vowed to create ways to be kinder and more self-compassionate to myself. I decided to let go of the list and just go with a one-word mantra that would make me feel the way I wanted to feel. The word that kept coming to me was “spirited.” To me this word was perfect for that year because it embodied all the feelings that I wanted to have at work and in my life. That year “spirited” meant feelings of: joy, authenticity, play, fun, creativity, courage, and vibrancy that I craved so deeply.
To my amazement this word became the solution that I was looking for in all areas of my life. What I found was that it instantly gave me access to the wonderful blend of positive emotions that I wanted when I would think about it. This helped me maintain a positive outlook that allowed me to get more done in less time, leaving me with more time for self care and time with those I care about. My mantra helped me become more mindful and productive in all areas of my life.

A game changer!

This one-word-mantra technique became a game changer for me, and I have been doing it ever since. My one-word-mantra has: reminded me of my promise to myself, instantly given me clarity when I felt overwhelmed, energized me when I was feeling low, empowered me when I felt insecure and scared, and uncovered some hidden gifts and strengths that I didn’t know I had. This one-word-mantra technique contains many magnificent surprises for those who choose to practice it.
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7 Steps to your very own One-Word-Mantra:

1. Breathe: Take 3 deep breaths.
2. Ask: How do I want to feel this year?
3. Notice: What word keeps coming up?
4. Smile: Did the word make you smile inside and out? If yes, then go with it. If no, keep going.
5. Pick: Decide on the word. There is no such thing as making a mistake here. The only mistake is not deciding and not trying it out.
6. Reminder: Keep your word in plain sight. Put it on a post-it note and place in on your desk top, refrigerator, a door, a mirror, a head board, on the car dashboard, etc. Find quotes that contain the word and the energy that embodies that word. Use the word as part of your new password for the year. Create a vision board with it.
7. Have fun with it and be prepared to be amazed!

I hope this one-word-mantra technique will help you make this year one of your best years ever!

If you are looking for a more intensive 1:1 coaching support to help make 2015 the best year of your life, contact me at info@ultimatehealingjourney.com today. I am excited to discuss ways that I can help you live the life you deserve.