Many health and wellness blogs this time of year focus solely on food – how to avoid it and what to eat. We know food is a central part of this season. Families gather around the table for a full feast. We attend back-to-back Christmas parties which, of course, have tons of food. Then don’t get me started on all the sugar that’s around this time of year! But this year, I want to give you 7 tips on staying healthy during the holidays that aren’t about food.
7 Tips on Staying Healthy During the Holidays
This wouldn’t be a Chelsie Ward Wellness blog if we didn’t talk about looking at health from a holistic approach. These 7 tips on staying healthy during the holidays focus on the whole body – mind, body, and spirit. Our goal is to coach you to honor your body during this Christmas season.
1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep To Better Handle Stress
There’s no doubt that with all the Christmas parties, errands, and family gatherings that the holiday season is exhausting. To add to that exhaustion, you are exposed to unhealthy foods, family stressors, and eating too much sugar. All of that impacts your energy levels. If staying healthy during the holidays is a priority of yours, then you need to get a good night’s sleep to better handle the stress.
While this tip is a short-term solution for the holiday season, getting sufficient sleep directly correlates to your health in the long run. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, insufficient sleep has links to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and decreased immune function.
2. Take a Walk Early In The Morning
Even if exercise is on the backburner during this season, your body still needs to move. Take a walk early in the morning before you travel or spend time with family. You’ll be less likely to indulge because your body has already been energized by the activity. You won’t be reaching for that extra piece of peppermint bark or the next cup of coffee to keep your energy levels high.
3. Focus On Low Intensity Exercise
If you want to continue your exercise regimen through the holidays, focus on low intensity exercise. High intensity exercise can actually add to the stress and cause more weight gain during the holidays.
4. Add Appropriate Supplements Into Your Diet
The holiday season can cause ruin on the body, especially with the average sugar intake spiking. We’re consuming foods that are causing imbalance in our gut. Supplement appropriately to suit your body’s needs.
There are a couple options to add appropriate supplements into your diet. First, you can take a full spore based probiotic and multi-vitamins to round out your diet and give your liver extra support for the toxic burden that holiday festivities may bring.
Deep breathing and meditation is often overlooked because mental health often isn’t valued as much as physical health. But this practice can help you destress, stop anger or rage from turning into something you’ll regret, and ultimately make you happier.
Let’s practice right now!
Breathe in 4 counts. 1. 2. 3. 4.
Hold 4 counts. 1. 2. 3. 4.
Breathe out 4 counts. 1. 2. 3. 4.
Hold 4 counts. 1. 2. 3. 4.
Do this for a couple minutes. Feel free to stop reading right now and set a timer.
Feel better? You can do this for a couple minutes at a time and then work your way up to longer periods of times. This practice will help shift your nervous system into a relaxed state.
When can you do this? Just about anytime. To start, I suggest you practice deep breathing when you wake up, feel stressed, and/or before meals to help digest your food.
6. Spend Your Valuable Time With Positive Relationships
There’s a direct correlation between relationships and your health. When we’re surrounded by toxic people, we start thinking toxic thoughts. Toxic thoughts become actual toxins and impact us physically. We resort to coping mechanisms such as emotional eating or avoidance of supporting people.
Pick a few people that energize you and give you joy. Stick close to those people, especially when you’re going to be around those toxic people. If you need to step away for a few moments to practice your breathing, do so.
7. Declutter as You’re Cleaning
Christmas is now over, and you’re taking down all the decorations. This is a perfect time to declutter as you’re cleaning and repacking those Christmas decorations. Throw out anything broken or not serving a purpose anymore. When putting back your living space to the way it was before, evaluate if the way you had before stressed you out or brought you peace and comfort. As you bring in the new and put away the old, Marie Kondo your home. Get rid of things that no longer serve you or give you joy.
When we declutter our lives, we declutter our minds.
It’s Your Choice To Be Healthy
In conclusion, you have a choice to make. Are you going to settle into old, unhealthy habits over this holiday season? Or are you going to work towards staying healthy? It’s your choice.
When we find something that truly drives us, and we know why, then we can set our focus on getting there, and the rest just kind of happens. That’s exactly what happened with me. Today I want to start from the beginning and tell you a little bit about why I do what I do.
I grew up on a typical Standard American Diet, however, my family was blessed with fresh farm foods, straight out of my grandparents garden. Like many of you, I also snacked on a lot of those fast food items growing up, like candy bars and sodas. I loved a good Snickers bar.
My symptoms of sickness actually started when I was a child. I remember my mawmaw looking at me one day and saying, “child you get every sickness that comes down this family line.”
What was she talking about?
Blood sugar issues, inability to pay attention, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, nausea after meals. These were just some of the things I was experiencing as a very young child.
To my doctors, these things were called IBS, hypoglycemia, and ADD. This was me in grade school. The older I got, the more diagnoses I received. In college, my doctors called it depression, anxiety, hypothyroidism, and then came the dreaded perimenopause at age 29. Now all of these were just diagnoses, not to speak of the symptoms that actually came with them.
Migraines that lasted sometimes a month with no relief, chronic fatigue that would land me on the couch for a daily nap, sugar addiction, hair loss, stuttered speech, foggy thinking, poor memory and concentration, chronic pain and inflammation, acne… the list goes on. This list kept growing and growing, year after year, with no end in site.
I decided that I would not live like this forever. I made a decision to get well, no matter the cost. I didn’t care how much time, money, effort, or pain it took. I was determined. One of the things I ask anyone who comes to me for advice on health today is, “rate yourself on a 1 out of 10 – how committed are you to living symptom-free, or as close to it as possible?” When you’ll do anything to change your current circumstances in your health (or any area for that matter), then you’re ready. It’s unfortunate, but I’ve had to turn people away who weren’t committed to making the changes needed to live in health.
What many people don’t tell you is that for some people, it’s hard work. When I started looking at what it would cost me to get well, I never worried about the finances- and we weren’t rich. It was everything I felt like I was giving up to get there. If the truth be known, that’s probably why I stayed sick for so long. I wasn’t ready to be well. I see people in that same place every single day, and it saddens me.
As a nation, we are getting sicker every year. How is that, when we’ve advanced so much in the field of medicine? I imagine it has a lot to do with the fact that we’re relying on big business to tell us what to put on the end of our forks, and what pills to take for our ailments.
We’ve forgotten the simple principles of healthy living, but another missing component is that there is so little education on the amount of toxins in our environment and in our food that we aren’t even aware of what we’re doing to our bodies to cause them harm. We’re also not educated on how to get rid of these toxins once our bodies become sick and diseased because of them.
What can we do about it?
On my journey to health, I learned that many of the chronic ailments we deal with on a daily basis can be taken care of by getting back to the basics of healthy living as our ancestors did, and implementing protocols that help us rid much of the toxicity we bring in on a daily basis, not only in our physical bodies, but in our minds as well.
It’s important that we begin to take an active role in our health instead of letting someone dictate how it should look for us. Our bodies are intelligent, but we were never intended to live on chemicals and call it food. Our convenience driven society has us in a place of sickness, and it’s my greatest desire for you to understand that you don’t have to stay there forever.
Hippocrates said it well, “if someone wishes for good health, one must first ask oneself if he is ready to do away with the reasons for his illness. Only then is it possible to help him.”
In the book I wrote, Healed His Way, you’ll find many of the same resources that I used to heal my body naturally, the way God intended. I use those same healing principles with the clients I work with today. They can work for you too.
It starts with you. You have a choice to bring health and healing into your own body. You make those decisions every single day, whether you realize it or not. When you’re ready to heal, your teacher will appear.
I’d like to share with you a recent testimony from a client so that you understand how simple this process can look. My client is very similar to me. She came to me at age 22. I fell in love with the idea of helping her, because it was about the age I was when I started feeling my symptoms kick into high gear. When she came to me, she was looking to relieve what she called, “period episodes” right before her menstrual period began. Short story… This was so severe for her that she got so physically ill that she would pass out and even ended up in the hospital the week before we started working together.
Listen to what she has to say:
” I was looking to relieve period episodes/cramps. I would say it’s a 180-degree turnaround. I went from living in fear of what would happen when my period starts, eating foods that made me feel sluggish, not being very active or energetic throughout the day to a new version of me. Now I feel great with little to no symptoms. I don’t even know when my period is about to start. I eat healthy and I love it. I go to the gym because I want to, and feel awake and energetic throughout the entire day! My greatest accomplishment is that I have learned to do what is right for my body; I understand what certain foods do to my body; and I now take action to make the right food choices every day! I enjoyed working with Chelsie because of her honesty, confidence, encouragement, wisdom, and willingness to help me understand and go through the process with me. She is very relational and caring! She created the perfect plan that fit exactly what I needed. Her goal was to help me get to the root of my issue, resolve it, and to help me overcome whatever I was facing.
Thank you Chelsie for teaching me and walking with me through my health journey. I know things that I never learned in school about health. I am now confident and feel free to do the things I love (like travel) without feeling anxious or fearful of what could happen because of my health. I am beyond grateful to God that our paths crossed and that you imparted such wisdom and knowledge. Thank you for your passion and excitement and for changing my life!”
Tanya Yaremkiv Engelwood, CO
What are you doing to live your best life?
I encourage you to take authority over your future self today, whatever that may look like. Only you can determine what optimal health will look like for you.
Make today amazing, because you are amazing, and you deserve an amazing day!
Did you know your thoughts can impact your physical health?
What you should know about the Mind-Body Connection…
I love to cleanse the body at least a couple times per year to do a little reboot. During this time, I implement different strategies that bring me what I need to clean up debris from old toxic patterns that I’ve allowed to creep in over the previous season.
Today I want to focus on cleansing from a mind-body
perspective. I believe the way we get the most bang for our buck (if you will)
is to see them as one.
It takes preparation when we decide to cleanse or detoxify
the body. I’ve found that it’s super important, especially in this day because
our environment has become a dumping ground for toxic waste. As a matter of
fact, detoxification was a complete game-changer for me during my health
journey, to the point that it’s something I use with every one of my clients
today. After experiencing health symptoms that I just couldn’t get rid of, like
foggy thinking, headaches, gas, bloating, indigestion, joint pain, waking up
tired in the mornings, and inability to sleep through the night, I worked to develop
a seasonal cleansing protocol based on the knowledge and experience I gained
from many of my mentors. In working with others, I also found that sometimes
all it takes for them to see a complete turnaround in their health is to give
them the same tools to implement these detoxification strategies on a regular
Cleansing has been a part of my life from the beginning,
since embarking on my journey to health. Along the way, I learned that cleansing
and detoxifying can be quite different. In short, we can cleanse the body by
eliminating certain foods and allowing the body to rest or reboot. You’ve probably
seen juice cleanses, and heard of people implementing certain types of fasts,
and even teas and other potions that are supposed to cleanse the body. There’s
nothing wrong with this, but if you are attempting to completely detoxify the
body, and clean up the cells, there needs to be certain components in place for
that to happen.
I come across many teachings that focus on detoxifying the
body but there are 2 things I want to focus on today that I feel are many times
missed in these discussions.
#1 the importance of the liver
#2 the importance of cleansing toxic thoughts
I know… these may seem super random, but I believe we
cannot cleanse a toxic body and leave a toxic mind alone. This is what I like
to refer to as the mind-body connection for cleansing and detoxification.
If the body goes through this detoxification process, but we
are still in a pattern of addiction and self-destruction due to traumatic
events that we have not processed, then we never move into a place of freedom.
I mentioned that cleansing and detox are quite different. The
process of physical detox actually requires a 3-step process. This is known as
the 3 phases of detoxification. For detoxification to take place in the body,
there must be certain vitamins, amino acids, and nutrients on board. The body
then goes through a systematic process to do the clean-up work.
Our liver is our major detoxification organ – so learn to
love your liver.
What happens in the 3 phases?
1, the liver uses enzymes and oxygen to break up the toxins.
2, the toxins are packaged up into a water-soluble package
3, the liver, kidneys, and intestines work to excrete the toxins
There are many things that can get in the way of
detoxification taking place in the body, but some of these include things like:
of pathogenic microbes (parasites, bacteria, fungus) in the digestive tract
Signs that you need to detox are:
fat – also known as “the spare tire effect”
and muscle pain
exhausted all the time
spots on your skin and dark circles under the eyes
sweating or stinky sweat
MENTAL / EMOTIONAL DETOX
So now that you have a better understanding about what it
takes to do a physical detox, let’s talk about the mental/emotional aspect.
This is one topic I rarely see approached when there is a discussion around
detoxification. I imagine it is one of the most toxic things in our environment
Thinking back to my own healing journey, this was one of the
most important for me. It’s actually where my journey began.
I remember when I wasn’t the most positive person. Growing up,
I wasn’t necessarily negative, but my self-talk wasn’t very good. I imagine
it’s something we could all work on. Most of us probably tend to be a little
harsh on ourselves compared to how we are with others we love.
We pick this up from those around us many times. And we also
have false notions of what’s really important in life because we watch things
go on around us and feel like we have to live up to the worlds ideas instead of
creating our own.
Conforming to those around us and the things of this world
can be very toxic to our mind and emotional state.
In my time of working through my own issues and helping
others do the same, I’ve found that our mind has the ability to control us and
bring us into negative thought patterns if we allow it.
We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind,
on a daily – and even moment-by-moment basis. This means we have a choice in
where we end up emotionally. We can either become victim to our emotions,
sickness, or other circumstances, or we can go THROUGH them and find strength
We detox our thoughts and mind by casting down imaginations,
and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. That
means casting down negative thought patterns like fear, anxiety, worry,
depression, and doubt. We are to process our experiences and go through them.
If we don’t bring our thoughts into captivity and choose to process them, then
they will hold us captive and we will assume the position of being a victim to our
very own thoughts.
Toxic thoughts become toxic to us physically. When we believe
we are sick, overweight, broke, ugly, then we become those things, because
whatever we focus on, we bring about.
I work with people on a daily basis who believe these things.
I work with them to shift these thought patterns so they believe what is true,
instead of believing a lie. The things we worry about are things that we dream
up in our subconscious. They are many times things that don’t even matter.
Other times these are thoughts that arise because we’ve been through a
traumatic event. But if we fail to process these thoughts, then we will become
In the physical body, there’s a shift in our cellular makeup that actually can create physical matter. Dr. Caroline Leaf is one of the greatest researchers in this area. She says that disease is created first as a negative thought.
Whatever you meditate on and think about it in your heart,
you will become. This world was created by a thought that was verbalized, when
God said, “let there be light.” And there was light. So that thought became a
physical reality. That’s exactly how your thoughts and language and body work
As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
ARE YOU READY TO TAKE ACTION?
As you can see from above, there are things that need to be
in place for you to physically clean up your cells appropriately. I encourage
you to work with a qualified professional if you are feeling any of the
symptoms mentioned. You want to make sure you have the right things in place,
including nutrients as well as make sure you are eliminating properly before
implementing any detoxification program.
My desire is that you understand this information in a way
that allows you to implement it on a regular basis – not only that, but learn
the tools you need so you can one day do it on your own.
If you’re ready for a different take on losing weight,
getting rid of depression and anxiety, and ridding things like digestive upset,
headaches, pain and inflammation, swollen legs and feet… if you want to learn
how to live in health in your mind and body so you can live your best life,
then join me and the others who have already made the decision to invest in
themselves for my seasonal
If you missed the window to register, that’s okay! Check out my coaching page and stay tuned for other coaching programs you can access to invest in your health.
Is your body giving your
warning signs that something isn’t right?
Your body is such an intelligent
piece of machinery. What I’ve learned over the years as I’ve worked with my body to heal naturally is
this… If your body tells you no, the answer is no.
I know how it is to absolutely LOVE
things like sugar, dairy, bread, pastries, and all the other grain-filled
goodies. I know what it feels like for those items to make up the bulk of your
diet and wander “what in the world am I going to eat if I remove those things?”
The reality is, it requires a definite shift in the way we view our plate and
our food. I had to relearn that food is
The mental/emotional attachment
to food is real. Those feeling of “comfort” we receive from certain
foods is real. AND the addiction is
real. We actually receive a physiological response when we consume certain
foods. That means they alter the chemicals within our bodies that leads to
those feelings of euphoria. But I learned that this food-euphoria can come at a
advice? Pay attention to your body.
Listen for clues. When you experience
symptoms in your body, it’s the intelligence of the human body calling out for
change. It’s as if your body is screaming, “WARNING, SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT!”
If a food is making you sick every time you consume it, stop consuming it! It
doesn’t matter what a doctor or a lab test or even a minister tells you. If you
feel bad every time you have a piece of bread, then put the bread down and
don’t consume it. Back away slowly… and it’s okay to RUN!
I’ll go back to my initial
statement about the body being a very intelligent piece of machinery. The truth
is, the body knows when something has entered into its environment that is
causing harm. It actually elicits an attack in response to what it perceives as
an invader. This causes inflammation in the body, which can cause a range of
symptoms, but worse than that, it can cause a range of diseases.
Something that may seem very
innocent, like putting bread in your body when your body says, “no” is only
adding fuel to the fire. You deal with the consequences of how you may or may
not feel afterward, but it’s not as innocent as we’d like to believe. This
repeated inflammatory response can actually lead to disease states in the body.
When we listen to and respond to
our body and give it what it needs, we can enter into a state of thriving
– where we can flourish, prosper, blossom, and succeed. On the other hand, when
we continually put things in the body that cause inflammation and illicit a
response that puts our cells into attack mode, it creates stress on the body.
If this stressor is in the form of food, like some of the toxic foods mentioned
previously, it can begin to compromise the lining of the gut.
In a healthy body, the gut is
lined with tight junctions, allowing only things like nutrients in the form of
amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to pass through and be absorbed into the
system to bring us into a state of health. The gut lining can become compromised
because of stress, pathogens, or from continuous stressors/toxins from our
environment that are eliciting a stress response or an attack on the body.
What does this mean?
It means that these tight junctions, that prevent
larger particles in the gut from spilling into the body, actually lose their
strength to hold those food particles in. This is known as leaky gut –
or intestinal permeability – where the contents of the gut are literally
spilled into circulation, where they don’t belong. This is a process that
happens over time because of some of the stressors mentioned previously – food
being only one of them. When these tight junctions become loose, and larger
particles begin to spill into the body, they are seen as foreign invaders, and
the intelligent piece of machinery that we are walking around in begins to
elicit an attack on these particles that do not belong in the bloodstream.
This creates food sensitivities
or intolerances, and in some cases disease processes and can even lead to
things like autoimmunity. Autoimmune patients have one thing in common for
sure, and that is a leaky gut. Many times one autoimmune condition can lead to
another. Your body doesn’t hate itself. But it’s attacking what appears to be a
Food is only a small piece of the
puzzle. But many times it’s one of the easiest to resolve. Not emotionally,
because people are truly attached to their foods, but many times these
attachments are not our fault. Food companies create foods that lead to
addiction. If you’ve read my book Healed
His Way, I talk
about the reasons food, and in particular dairy is so addictive, and that’s
because it works on the same receptors in the body as morphine. So you
literally have a morphine-like response in the body when you consume dairy,
which can cause it to be one of the most difficult foods for people to eliminate.
Does this mean you can never eat dairy or grains again? Well in some cases, maybe! For some, gluten just doesn’t work. I recommend that you test in your own body if you want to know what works best for you. The body doesn’t lie.
I choose to do my best to keep certain
foods out of my diet after running several food sensitivity panels. I’ve also found
a common denominator in many of the foods that cause problems for most people.
So even without testing, I typically recommend removing grains, dairy, sugar, artificial
sweeteners, soy, and alcohol for a period of about time and if you decide to
reintroduce, then pay close attention to how your body reacts. After my last
food sensitivity panel, I noticed that there were certain food groups that
consistently showed up for me. When I decided to take that a little more seriously,
it changed my life.
In my case, I’ve dealt with
hypothyroidism for many years, and according to symptoms, for much of my life.
But I’m learning now that it’s possibly related to the fact that I never really
healed my gut completely because I compromised in certain areas a little more
than I probably should have. My gut is my week area and I have to constantly
work on that. But if I put inflammatory foods in all the time, then I know my
gut will never truly heal.
I do take support for my gut on a regular basis as well as thyroid support in the form of herbs and natural supplements that give the body what it actually needs to heal and repair. Will I ever be 100% without the help of supplemental support? I’m not sure. But what I do know is that it is a journey. And I’m working every single day to eliminate what’s causing me harm and including what is bringing me health. And as long as I do what I know I should, I live symptom-free. And you can too.
I encourage you to begin to examine some of the things in your life that are causing you stress. That can be emotions, food, chronic illness, relationships, too little or even too much exercise, and more!
The secret to my success in
almost every area of my life can be accredited to hiring and partnering with
mentors and coaches who push me to become my best self. Those are many times
people who want to see me accomplish my goals as bad as I want to accomplish
If that resonates with you, I’d
love to chat with you and possibly help to you dig a little bit deeper into
finding out what could be the cause of some of your symptoms. Or find someone
else in the field of functional health who will form a partnership with you, so
you can become your best self.
And if you know someone who could use this information, please
feel free to pass it along.
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