Even as a child I noticed that, in Nature, things begin to change in early or mid-November. Days get shorter, temperatures begin to fall and leaves gradually transition from vibrant green to shades of orange, yellow, red and brown, eventually floating to earth as part of the mysterious cycle of life. It seems that people also experience an unusual transformation in the fall as the holiday season makes it annual return.
The human transformation is no less obvious than the chilling air, early darkness or changing foliage, but the human change is focused on food and the urge or desire to consume as much and as often as possible. Not only are people compelled to overindulge at this time of year, but spend inordinate amounts of time and money preparing and seeking sugary, decadent, rich, calorie-laden and nutritionally challenged food and beverage whenever and wherever possible. The results of such behavior take many forms including, but not limited to: guilt, unwelcome weight gain, self-shaming, renewed New Year’s resolutions and a spike in YMCA memberships in January.
In recent years, the term “mindfulness” has become popular and frequently used in the lexicon of health and self-care. Mindfulness can be applied and useful in many ways, but as I understand it, mindfulness is the application of thoughtful awareness, understanding of self in the present. Unlike seasonal changes controlled by Mother Nature, humans possess the ability to recognize, think about and act on changes in their lives and environments based on what they deem important and most beneficial. If becoming and remaining healthy are important to an individual, s/he can use mindfulness to make decisions and choices that ensure and support health.
The holidays offer an unusual number of eating and drinking choice making opportunities. People who embrace and practice a mindful approach for personal health find it easier and fulfilling to make healthier decisions and choices. As you face and navigate the seasonal celebrations, buffets, holiday dinners and parties take a moment to think, reflect, remember and remind yourself of personal goals and priorities. Be true and good to you.