LIFESTYLE: MY HOLIDAY SURVIVAL TIPS.

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"When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things, not the great occasions, give off the greatest glow of happiness" – Bob Hope

I still can't believe the Christmas season is upon us ! Where did you go 2015, and HELLO 2016.

I know this time of year can bring massive bouts of stress to EVERYONE. You're being pulled in a million directions, with a plethora of holiday parties/events/gatherings, and don't even talk about having a spare weekend...yet I think to myself when did we let it get like this? This is such a precious + sacred time of year to spend with loved ones, and to celebrate the true meaning of the holidays, yet we STILL get stressed out over buying endless gifts, baking up a storm to impress people, and hitting ever social party scene we can, for fear of missing out.

With that being said I wanted to share some of my holiday survival tips to get you through these next few weeks. I hope you find them valuable and can apply a few even starting TODAY :

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1. SLEEP. Now this is crucial. Without it we won't function, and I know some of you think you can run off VERY little, the truth is it WILL catch up with you. Every 1 hour you sleep before midnight is like having 2 hours sleep after midnight. So you MUST go bed earlier to notice the difference! I'm usually in bed by 10/1030pm, with a book, and up by 630/7am no matter what I have going on in the morning. Nutrition is king, and sleep is queen.

2. EAT YOUR GREENS. I know by now you probably think I'm crazy Kale lady, BUT let me tell you it's for a reason. They are so full of vitamins, phytonutrients, enzymes, minerals + antioxidants that they will make you feel like a million bucks. I don't know anyone who has ever felt guilty or sick from eating plants! (unless you have a problem digesting raw greens, in that case I suggest juicing or very gently steaming them). With all of the gingerbread, shortbread and every other type of bread circulating your blood system at this moment, you must counteract this with getting all the vital nutrients into your system, or else that common cold that you always get JUST before Christmas will rear its ugly head again. Remember if you don't nourish YOURSELF, you can't nourish and be of service to others.

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3. SAY NO. This is something that I've had to learn how to do, especially when I was feeling terribly sick, and felt guilt for declining an invite + social event. But when I thought about it, I realized that I can't do and be everywhere and make everyone happy. And in reality, the host/event will understand. Your health + sanity comes first and if you are reaaaalllllly not feeling up for it then just say no. With no guilt. Run that bath, grab a good book, sit by the fireplace go to a yoga class...whatever it is, do it. Know your social scene limits, and politely decline, you won't be hurting anyone, but yourself if you force yourself to go out every night of the week.

4. BRING YOUR OWN HEALTHY DISH. Inspire others to swap out their pigs in a blanket (does anyone still eat these? I truly hope not!) by taking a plate of healthy snacks or nourishing treats to offer the entire party. BELIEVE ME, arriving with a plate of fresh rice paper rolls, quinoa sushi or raw chocolate fudge at this time of year is a guaranteed hit. Impress people with your skills, but also allow them to see that eating healthy is still FUN + FLAVORFUL. People always ask me if I miss eating a lot of things, or if I get sad when I am somewhere and there isn't something healthy for me? And I always say a big giant NO! I know how those foods would make me feel and it's not worth it. I've worked SO hard to regain my health again. I've also learnt to make the healthiest of treats that nourish all of my senses and are taking care of me from the inside out. I can still eat delicious chocolate treats that have been handmade with love.

5. EXERCISE. When the holidays kick in people seem to throw their normal healthy routines out the window, like it just won't matter and they will pick themselves up in the New Year. The thing is most people who do that gain an average of 5-10 pounds from Thanksgiving to New Years (!) And then it's often a struggle for them to get back on their 'regime' because there body is full of these 'treats' and you will only crave them further. So get your body moving and commit to exercising 3-4 times a week! Even if its for 30 minutes instead of an hour. Set your alarm 45 minutes early and just. do. it. Nothing worth having in life, comes easy. You have to work for it, and I want nothing more than to see glowy, happy and healthy beings come 2014.

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6. SWAP OUT SOME OF YOUR ALCOHOLIC DRINKS. Now I might not be the expert in this subject as I don't drink, BUT I've witnessed FAR too many people over-indulge with their spirits. I'm not going to be a humbug and say don't drink, I never have/nor will I ever judge someone for their choices. Ever. BUT this time of year can offer up many opportunities to OVER-drink. Moderation and balance is key. There is a difference in having a couple of glasses of wine or champagne, to having bottles of it. Nothing in excess is good, our bodies are not meant for it, and if your drinking on a regular basis your liver will be feeling the affects in a major way. There is only SO much your lovely liver can withstand. ALL I'm trying to say is be kind to your body, enjoy your drinks, but keep in check to how many you're having and how often this season! Alcohol can pack on a good 5 pounds this time of year ALONE (!)

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7. DRINK YOUR WATER AND GREEN JUICES. With all of the food (which I'm sure contains LOTS of sodium), alcohol, loss of sleep and exercise your body is CRYING out for hydration! You can 100% see in a persons face if they aren't drinking enough water. So before you reach for that coffee to perk you up, drink a BIG glass of H20. Most of the time you are tired because you aren't nourished or hydrated enough. Then after your done with that water, have a green juice. Again, I'm the 'crazy juice lady' only because I know how it changed my life for the better! It got me off my coffee addiction, and I don't need caffeine at all, although I LOVE green tea, so have a cup of day. My advice for you: start your morning with 1 L of water. Place it by your bed side and AS soon as you get up drink it, then you can start your day knowing you already had 1 L! That's a huge accomplishment. It might take some practice, but before you know it you will be chugging back that water every morning. We wake up very acidic and dehydrated so its imperative to replenish our bodies and cells.

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8. MEDITATE + SPEND TIME IN SOLITUDE + DESTRESS. Take moments for yourself, because you need them. No guilt. Just do it. Get up early to have 10 precious moments to yourself, with no one. Meditate, do some stretching, read, just breathe, do some affirmations, whatever it is...quite your mind, body and soul. This is a stressful period for SO many, but it doesn't have to be so. Go within, and find out for yourself what the true meaning of all of this.

9. JUST BREATHE. This has been the theme running through all of my tips, but I believe it's the most important. We so often get caught up in the THINGS, the TO-DOS, EVENTS, TRAVEL and everything else that comes along with the holidays that we forget to BREATHE. Try this exercise.

Lay with your legs up against the wall for 5 minutes, close your eyes, and do deep belly breaths. It might seem silly, but you are letting blood rush back into your brain + the deep belly breaths are giving your adrenals, kidneys, lungs + liver all fresh oxygen. We so often take short breaths from our chest, and this signifies to our bodies danger, imagine living in that state 24/7, well most of us do (!) So taking time to DEEP breathe from your belly, signals to your body that you are OK, there is no danger and your cells are nourished.

ABOVE ALL : REMEMBER that you are truly lucky if you are reading this. You have a roof over your head, a computer, excess to food and water, and the ability to make a CHANGE in your life and someone elses. Over 3 billion people survive on less than a dollar a day.Cultivate this feeling of gratitude whenever you get stressed.

Breathe. Spread Joy and Be Grateful. That's what the holidays are all about.

love + light + happy holiday season,

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