As great as it is to enjoy more of the “normal” parts of the season this year, there are new stressors like COVID tests, supply chains, and outbreaks. We’re going to need more energy if we want to enjoy the holidays and start the new year well.

Scientists are finding that every living thing has a fixed energy budget. Energy is allocated just like you would allocate a fixed financial budget. Use too much in one area and you have to pull from another.

Just like a financial budget, our energy budget can get thrown off quite a bit during the holiday season. Our minds are busy with longer ‘to do’ lists and our hearts are full with a greater emotional load.

All this extra thinking and feeling takes energy from your body. Every thought and emotion is quickly sent to your body to prepare it to take action. When you mentally move from one task to the next, that tension accumulates in your body.

The result is spending way too much energy on ‘fight, flight, or freeze’, leaving less energy for rest, renewal, and repair.

It’s no wonder most New Year’s resolutions fade within a few weeks. We start off stripped thin of our available energy for changing our health habits.

What if this holiday season kept you feeling energized, ready for the new year?

One time-efficient way to do that is to repurpose the downtime moments in your day. You have them, even when you are busy—when lying in bed, waiting in line or on hold, putting gas in your car, brushing your teeth.

They don’t feel like downtime moments because your brain sees them as a chance to do what it is designed to do—problem solve! Before you know it, you are caught up in problems and worries and regrets and your energy is being drained when it could be restored.

Repurpose those downtime moments by turning the brain-body cycle in the opposite direction—into a body-brain cycle. One of the simplest ways to do this is to notice your breath. This is different than taking a deep breath, which causes more tension by interrupting its natural flow.

By simply joining your attention with the feeling of your breath, you remind yourself to trust the undercurrent of automatic self-care that is always there, no matter where your thoughts take you. This simple shift to noticing your breath allows you to see that the thought cycle is not a problem, the tension is not a problem, the emotions are not a problem, YOU are not a problem to be solved.

The video below gives you simple instructions for positioning your body so your breath flows with more ease and your whole person has a greater ability to rest well. It can help you unlearn the ways we tend to overthink the simple act of breathing when sitting or standing.

Notice your breath during downtime moments and watch what happens to your energy level. Next week, we will continue looking at ways to maximize your energy budget so you can spend it on what is most important to you this holiday season.

Be Well Now,

P.S. The video below is an excerpt from my free Start Well course where you strengthen your foundation for whole-person health by learning how to Be Well Now. The course is free because I believe everyone deserves the chance to Be Well Now