Holiday Destress Part 2

December 2021

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'Tis the Season

As the calendar turns to December, the scramble to buy gifts, prepare meals and decorate our homes for the holidays amplifies! The pressure to make sure a magical time is had by all starts to weigh on our mind. While we prepare for the holiday celebrations, we must be conscious of our own mental, physical and emotional well-being. In this edition of The Positive Pulse, you will find an empowering guided meditation, a 4-week self-care challenge, ways to prevent holiday stress, upcoming events and more!
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Recognizing Resilience Self-Care Meditation

Join wellness consultant and mindfulness teacher Dan Justis for an empowering self-care mediation on recognizing your resilience. Feel free to share with family, friends, and coworkers who may be interested in or benefit from this meditation.

Tips to prevent holiday stress

1. Stick to a budget. Before you do your gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend, then stick to your budget. Over-spending can lead to added financial stress.
2. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list!

3. Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.

Try these suggestions:

  • Have a healthy snack before holiday meals so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Include regular physical activity in your daily routine.
  • Try deep-breathing exercises, meditation or yoga.
  • Avoid excessive tobacco, alcohol or drug use.
4. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.


Self-Care Challenge

Self-care isn't something you have to earn, but it's also not something that comes easy. Real self-care is habitual and requires commitment. We hope that this challenge will help you create self-care habits that will serve you long after you complete this challenge.

Click the links below for a week-by-week roadmap, offering suggestions for self-care in 5 categories. Do one activity per day or combine them for a more thorough self-care experience. The goal for each participant is to do the activities recommended or choose their own activity from the categories listed, completing at least one item from each category every week for four weeks.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

2022 Wellness Speaker Series

IT'S BACK! Smola Consulting is thrilled to announce that we will be hosting another wellness speaker event! Mark your calendars for February 24th @ 7:00 PM as we welcome husband and wife duo, Travis Eliot and Lauren Eckstrom, authors, co-founders of Inner Dimension TV, and world-renowned yoga and mindfulness teachers.
Travis recently released a podcast titled Stress Tips for the Holidays. Click the video below to hear how to manage holiday stress through the lens of a mindfulness expert.
Stress Tips for the Holidays | Dare to Awaken (Ep18)

Winner of Thanksgiving Quiz

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the Thanksgiving Quiz in the November Positive Pulse! The winner of the $25 Starbucks gift card is Jeanna Markese-Byrd! Please email Lexi at to arrange gift card pick up/drop off.

Stay tuned for more opportunities to win in future newsletters!

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes


  • 1 ½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon white or black pepper, divided
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups unsweetened plain almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme


  1. Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss potatoes and sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and garlic powder in a large bowl until well coated. Divide between 2 large baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Roast, rotating the pans from top to bottom about halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add flour and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring for 1 minute more. Add almond milk; cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens and bubbles, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven. Preheat the broiler. Transfer half the potatoes to a 2-quart broiler-safe baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the potatoes. Add the remaining potatoes and top with the remaining sauce, paprika and almonds. Broil, watching carefully, until the sauce is bubbling and the almonds are beginning to brown, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve topped with thyme.
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