Holidays can be magical. They can also be a time when eating well and regular workouts get replaced with work parties, family gatherings, sugary treats, and alcohol. There is a way to stay well this holiday season, however. Below, I’m sharing five things that I do personally to maintain good health, and actually enjoy, the holidays.
Kick off the holiday season with a big, deep breath!
It’s important to take care of yourself during the holidays, but I also encourage you not to be so hard on yourself. When you’re celebrating with your family and friends, allow yourself to be in the moment and enjoy it, rather than stressing yourself out about the things that you’re not doing. Sure, your diet may not be perfect and your workouts less consistent, but it’s ok. Take this time to celebrate, connect, and go with the flow – your routine doesn’t have to be perfect.
2. Indulge Consciously
During the holidays, we often find foods that we don’t eat at any other time of the year on our plates. Give yourself permission to consume these foods, mindfully.
When I travel for the holidays, I don’t have the same type of control over what I’m able to eat and cook as I do when I’m at home. When food is served, I kindly remind myself not to over consume foods that I typically avoid, especially when it comes to sugar. If there is cake, cookies, or pie, I allow myself to take a few bites and savor them. I notice the smells and the texture as I place it in my mouth or take a bite. I give myself permission to enjoy it in moderation, rather than denying myself completely – sometimes denying ourselves the pleasure of these foods can backfire, creating regret, resentment, and binge eating or over-consumption later on.
Allow yourself to have a treat – a few bites won’t completely derail your health.
Staying hydrated is really important throughout the holiday season, and in the winter months in general.
The cold, dry air as well as increased alcohol consumption makes it really important to drink water and consistently take electrolytes, as both can be dehydrating. Remember to have three glasses of water for every two alcoholic beverages that you consume, this will allow your body to digest, detoxify, and re-hydrate.
4. Move Your Body
You don’t have to maintain your intense workout routine or anything regimented that you do, but find fun ways to move your body – dance, go for walk, or participate in other movement activities that bring you joy.
When you are spending time with friends and family, invite them to join in on the fun. Encourage everyone to get moving with an after dinner walk, group hike, or 10 minutes of yoga. Not only will you reap the benefits of moving your body – better sleep, increased energy, and a boost in mood – but you’ll get to spend more time with the people you love and create new memories.
5. Be Grateful
It’s easy to get so caught up in the holiday festivities that we forget to take a moment to be thankful for it all.
This holiday season, I encourage you to make time for self-reflection and gratitude. Take time to think about all that you are grateful for in life – the people that have had a positive impact on your life, the places you’ve been, and the opportunities that have come your way.
When you spend time in gratitude, your body relaxes and your adrenal glands slow down production of the stress hormone cortisol, which enables your immune system to function more effectively. Gratitude has also been shown to alter brain waves in a positive way, as it helps us to feel safe in our environment. It creates an internal environment that is more conducive to overall health and healing – perhaps, the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season!