Nov. 27. 2017
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Give more of your person in order to share some much-needed love and light with others.

It’s the season of giving. To most of us, the familiar bell ringing at the grocery store signals a time of giving back to the community and doing something charitable to those in need. Today, I’m sharing 6 ways you can show up for yourself, and give more of your person in order to share much-needed love and light with others this holiday season.

1. Prioritize What Makes You Feel Good

In order to show up and give more of yourself — you have to take care of yourself first! This may seem counterintuitive because it can feel selfish at times, but in order to share your light with others, you need to feel your best. I know it’s easier said than done when your schedule fills up and your days feel overwhelming. This time of year is notorious for being hectic, busy, and somewhat stressful. Prioritizing your health and well-being requires you to ask yourself what feels good and commit to setting up your “non-negotiables”.

For example, that could mean taking a rain-check on #SundayFunday and batch cooking instead so that you’ll have healthy lunches prepared all week. It could mean having a date night at home instead of going out to a restaurant to practice portion control.  It could also mean setting an early morning wakeup call to hit the gym before work or committing to more nights of self-care each week. Whatever it looks like for you, know that you’re doing yourself and others a favor by prioritizing your health. If you need some inspiration on navigating the holiday parties while staying true to your dietary goals, grab a copy of the Guide to Healthy Holidays in the NS Shop.

2. Find Ways to Give Back

During the season of giving, find ways to help others from donations, asking a friend if they need help, making meals for local shelters, to lending a hand when you see someone in need. Helping and serving others is something that we can (and should) do all year round, but this time of year it’s easy to set new goals in this department. Remember, serving others isn’t all about monetary donations, it can be volunteering, helping when you can, sharing and giving your time, etc. When I was in college, I was living on student loans but desperately wanted to give back so I took up volunteering at our campus hospital and animal shelter — the act of service not only made me feel really good but most importantly it was making a dent in someone’s life.
Here are some unique ways to give back to your community:
– Bake homemade treats like Feel Amazing Fudge or Far Out Fudge for first responders, teachers, the postman, the garbage man, etc.
– Visit the elderly in your neighborhood or stop by a local nursing home and spend time with residents
– Volunteer at a local animal shelter
Send holiday cards to active duty military personnel
– Organize a clothing or food drive among friends to deliver to a local homeless shelter or donation organization
– Consider donating your time at community schools, after-school care programs, mentorship programs, etc.

3. Say No

In order to stick to what you need in life, saying no and setting boundaries is key. This concept may seem counterintuitive — learning to say no will go hand-in-hand with what you choose to prioritize for yourself. If you’re unsure about how to set boundaries or want to learn more about “why” we all should have them in place, read this post to get started.

4. Focus

To-do lists can reach an all-time high for some of us during the holidays as we steer through out-of-office replies and end-of-year deadlines. Multi-tasking can become a bad habit and it’s very easy to fall into — one that ultimately hurts efficiency. If you imagine what it looks like when you’re giving 100% of yourself at work, on your homework, or even as you spend time with loved ones, it’s not multi-tasking. Instead, focus on being there in that present moment and doing one thing at a time. A couple ideas: devote the time to catch up with friends (i.e. both time and listening capacity), put the phone away while you’re watching a movie your significant other, close the other internet browsers while you’re completing a project, and wait to call your mom until you’re sitting at home! Where can you focus more and multi-task less?

5. Check In With Yourself

Checking in with yourself throughout the day is a great way to hold yourself accountable for taking care of yourself. You can ask yourself “did I put back in what I put out?” Am I the best I want to be as a significant other, colleague, friend, wife, sibling, boss, dog mom, etc.? When you get honest with yourself, you see more opportunities for growth and validation of what you’re already doing well to continue. The confidence that comes with that realization can be eye-opening.

6. Stay Creative

Being your best self also means staying inspired and passionate about what type of impact you have on those around you. Take the “always be learning” approach and find ways to keep your mind working, your creativity flowing, and your heart feeling. Try exploring the world of self-development and self-growth books with a curiosity to dive deep into what’s making you happy in life, where you need to say no more often, and how you want to show up as your best self — these are the areas you can explore with yourself to open up space for creativity!

What about you? What are ways you give back right now and where would you like to expand? We’d love to hear your stories – we’re all a part of this amazing community that can lift each other up to be our best selves.