The holidays are a great mix of stress, anxiety, and a little joy on the side. For most, they are also a time for eating a lot of really yummy food. This makes for a difficult time to maintain healthy habits.
Which is why I put together a handy dandy list of 10 ways to stay healthy and happy over the holiday season!
1. Re-frame Holiday Expectations
90% of adults feel stressed over the holidays-isn't this supposed to be a joyous, giving time? Not to mention, for some of us this time of the year can lead to over indulging making it hard to maintain diet and working out. Going into the holiday season with the mindset that we AND others aren't perfect and things don't always go as planned, can take some frustration away.
Let's definitely not beat ourselves up. Some of the happiest memories are the ones that didn't go as we pictured. Even better, we slowed down to take in the moment.
2. Play Games--Make it fun!
Take the stress or pressure off small talk (for those of you introverts) to get together and play games. Plus it brings people closer together--unless your family is really competitive!
Another point, when there's games and activities, the focus from food is minimized.
3. Stay Mindful
Figure out ways that work best for you to start and/or end the day with at least 5 minutes of a mindful exercise. For example, meditating, praying, reading, journaling, or breathing techniques. Even better, try it with the whole family before you go to an event or on the way to an event.
Not only does this help minimize stress, when we can redirect our focus from the business of what needs to be done or what aunt you will see at that party, we are better able to live in the moment by soaking up memories.
4. Get Moving
This could look like many ideas to different people--for some it's running or going to a workout class. While others who don't feel they have the time, can focus on taking some extra steps by parking further away at the store parking lot or taking the stairs. Plus, you get in a little extra Vitamin D!
The little bit of movement we get boosts endorphins, which not only allows us to feel good, but assists with being more mindful and calm.
5. Cook Up Some Love
For unique gift ideas for those who have a creative side of doing DIY crafts or cooking--bake holiday gifts, make natural soaps, candles, or lotions
For those who don't enjoy those types of things, I encourage you to pick something you can do that eases your mind. You have a creative side in there. I know it! Guess what, it doesn't have to be art related!
6. Go Green
When it comes to food and trying to think of ways to be more healthy during the holidays, people may think that's impossible. It's not! Try bringing your own dish of a healthier option, load up your plate with more veggies options rather than bread and more starchy options. Dessert doesn't have to be restricted either. Have one option from the dessert table. The key is not to deprive ourselves! Moderation is key.
7. Learn to Say No
During the holidays, there are events left and right. Sometimes, refusing a social situation is the healthiest choice for everyone involved.
It's okay to say no.
8. Keep Your Gut Healthy
Holiday treats, cocktails, and parties can really put a damper on your health. Especially you gut. This often leads to a lower immune system and extra low blood sugar. Not to mention, our gut is our second brain. Anything we put in it can have a significant affect on our mood.
Take probiotics and digestive enzymes prior to meals to give a healthy boost to your gut!
9. Use Healthier Alternatives
Cooking our favorite dishes for some means lots of butter, not so healthy fats, and oils. Luckily, the internet is overflowing with recipe options for all sorts of dishes.
We can still enjoy our favorite foods without feeling as if we have to give them up.
10. Be Grateful
Holidays don't always go as planned. We work. Our loved ones have to work. We miss people who are no longer with us. It's normal to experience sadness during this time of year. Acknowledge those feelings and be gentle with yourself. Take time to think of good things going on right now. There is always something to be grateful about. When we show and feel gratitude, we tend to get better sleep, feel more optimistic, and have improved relationships.
We could all use that during the holidays!
Comment below on what you find works best for you when staying healthy during the holidays.
Wife//Mom//Nutrition Educator//Holistic Health Coach