Let peace on earth begin with you

Don't stress out this holiday season

Remember the decorating, the presents, the wrapping, the cooking and baking, the parties, the greetings, tree lighting and seasonal concerts. But also be sure to take time to be good to yourself so you'll enjoy the season.

The obvious way to pamper oneself is with a massage or at least with a mani and pedi, but many people have other tips. How are you good to yourself during the holidays?

Last week Marianne Eisberg stopped as she left the Pleasanton library to answer the question and, at 67, she had some good answers.

"I try to keep my normal routine by walking with my friends every morning," Eisberg said.

It's especially important at this time of year to exercise -- in little ways like parking your car across the parking lot from your shopping -- or by keeping your routine of walking, jogging, biking or going to the gym.

The day also is filled with moments where you can work your muscles and help energize your body, points out fitness expert Kathy Kaehler.

At the office, she suggests standing up and sitting down on your chair to elevate your heart rate, increase your breathing and to get energized. Complete two sets of 15 repetitions to provide the burn you need to feel good.

In the car when at stoplights or in traffic, she says to squeeze your buttock muscles as hard as you can, for a set of eight to 10 reps. Then do it one side at a time.

Eisberg is also aware of the eating temptations at this time of year, which may be temporary pleasures.

"I try to limit my treats to stay feeling good," she said.

This goes along with the frequent advice at this time of year to not overeat. One tip is to satisfy your hunger before a party with a protein-rich snack, like beef jerky. Another tip is to keep water, juice and healthy snacks in the car to keep you feeling satisfied as well as energized.

"I try to minimize all the thousand of little details I used to find so necessary and to enjoy people, and not get too hung up on monetary experiences," Eisberg said.

Ashley Davis Bush, author of the book "Shortcuts to Inner Peace: 70 Simple Paths to Everyday Serenity," would agree with this.

"Through intentionally summoning a feeling of inner calm, we literally change the chemistry of our bodies," she says.

She suggests that if you find yourself grumbling, sing a song to stay upbeat. When waiting in line to buy gifts or groceries, ask yourself, "What do I need to remember?" Keep asking until you start to get substantial answers like, "I need to remember what really matters in life."

When doing your holiday baking Bush says to sniff the ingredients -- a deep whiff of vanilla extract, coffee or rosemary helps you savor your time in the kitchen rather than see it as a chore.

She also reminds us, even in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, to appreciate all the beautiful decorations, not to mention the beauty of the season. Consider keeping a small box or basket of seasonal treasures -- pine cones, smooth stones, mistletoe and chestnuts -- and whenever you feel tense or overwhelmed, take a few moments to finger each object. Simple appreciation tends to restore inner calm.

"We often think we need to change our circumstances to feel peaceful or that we need to be immersed in spa-like surroundings to find tranquility," says Bush. "But inner peace requires no extra time or money -- just a shift in attention."

Eisberg said she tries to keep it simple.

"I try to focus on the true meaning of the holidays -- sharing happiness and love and time with my loved ones," she said.


Like this comment
Posted by Harald A. Bailey
a resident of another community
on Dec 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Dear Dolores,

It is a joy to read your thoughts again. Let this yule tide be a season of renewal and bring more of your capable contributions in 2012.

Joyous wishes at Christmas,


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