Thursday, December 22, 2011

December Sanity Challenge -- Self Care Through the Holidays

Last week I shared an introduction on Cheryl Harris' December Sanity Challenge. A challenge to truly take the time for self-care through the holidays, with specific goals.

My goals for this challenge were quite simple. I didn't want to make rigid goals that I knew I couldn't keep through the crazyness of the month.

My goals are:

  • To journal every day, for as little or as long as I needed too
  • Along with (or a part of) journaling, to Pray often
  • To continue following a Paleo Food Plan
My "unofficial" goals were to allow myself to say NO, to not stress over food, to "breathe" when I started to feel overwhelmed (to purposefully take very deep breaths and allow them to physically relax my body), and to recognize and put a name to my feelings when I started to feel stressed (ie... this is bothering me and makes me feel disrespected because I have feelings of Jealousy, Frustration, Loneliness etc... to actually vocalize or write down the WHY behind why I was/am upset.) 

Following Through: 
  • Journaling: I've been a "journaler" on and off most of my life. I have paperback journals starting from when I was 7 years old. Writing soothes me. As we've come to live in a mostly digital age, I've been very hit & miss with my journals. It's hard to carry it around everywhere with me, and since most of my writing takes the form of blog posts or google word documents now, I was determined to find a digital way to start journaling. I did a little research and found a really neat website for PRIVATE journaling called Penzu. The privacy was important to me. When I journal, I was to say whatever is on my mind, work through my thoughts and feelings, and do it with an open mind and heart. I have also used Google documents in the past to journal, but to be honest, it's a very boring way to journal. It isn't pretty. And as silly as it sounds, it's a lot more meaningful to journal, when you can share your feelings on a beautiful surface or with a beautiful instrument. With all of these "requirements" of digital journaling I found a great service called "" -- which allows you to journal privately for free. You can share it with friends if you'd like, but it's primarily meant to be a private journaling space for you to share your thoughts and feelings. If you want to upgrade to a "Pro" account, you can have a "pretty" journal and change the basic settings. I found this service to be a really neat way to encourage my goal of journaling. I have journaled nearly every day since discovering Penzu. It even sends me a reminder in my email to take the time to share my thoughts. 
    • What's gone well? I have discovered that when I'm frustrated or suddenly stressed about something (and it can be hard for me to initially pinpoint WHY I'm stressed) -- by opening up my online journal and just starting to write I can work through my feelings and discover the WHY behind my thoughts and actions. While I haven't journaled every single day, I feel like by making it a priority I have been able to have a much better Holiday season so far! 
  • Prayer: In my own personal spiritual life,  prayer is extremely important to me. Connecting with my Creator on a regular basis helps me to find peace and strength. I haven't done this as often as I would like too, so my goals for the rest of this month are to start each morning with a small prayer using a devotional I have placed next to my bed. The days I have been able to initiate prayer I often write it out in my online journal as well. 
    • What's gone well? When I'm actually journaling my prayers, I feel like they are more concrete. I have a way to look back and see what I was feeling and why. I have to way to see how prayers are answered, how life is progressing, and how good life really is. I'm thankful that with daily journaling I've had a space to share my prayers on a more regular basis.
  • Paleo Food Plan: I have to admit this has probably been the main area in my goals that I haven't followed through with very well. I would say I'm eating Paleo foods probably 80% of the time. Which considering this is my first Holiday season using these food guidelines, that's not too shabby. I hope by next year, I will have a better sense of how to handle the pressures of sugary-carb-filled (even gluten free!) holiday treats and still be able to eat well for my body. I didn't want to be TOO strict in this area, because food and I don't always have a good relationship. I know if I am too strict I will beat myself up which will stress me out and THEN cause me to want to eat EVEN MORE for emotional reasons. So I've found that right now my main meals are all paleo, but I am allowing myself to have holiday treats. I will be more strict with Paleo beginning in January and more importantly after I've finished writing my cookbook. 
    • What's gone well? I think being able to follow Paleo during the Holiday season at LEAST 80% percent of the time has been a very postive and good thing! I haven't baked nearly as much as I have in years past. And the baking I have done has been for a specific reason or for other people. The gluten free baked goods that I have made, have not stayed in my house. I know my body feel so much better with less sugar and refined carbohydrates. (To read more about these goals, please see my recent interview with Easy Paleo.Com

As I posted last week, I hope you will also share your own thoughts and feeling on self-care through the holidays with Cheryl's sanity challenge. By leaving a comment on ANY our posts through this month you will be entering yourself to win an awesome prize -- A $50 gift certificate to provided by Ms. Cheryl Harris herself. 

Previous December Sanity Challenge posts to read and leave your comment on: 
  1. Cheryl Harris' thoughts on Gluten Free Goodness -- Intro & Week 1
  2. Iris Higgins thoughts on The Daily Dietribe -- Week 2
  3. Valerie's thoughts on City Life Eats -- Week 3
I hope you have a Blessed, Beautiful, and Healthy Holiday season!

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