At this time of year, so many people experience the stress of the season rather than the joy of the season. People often ask me, “How do I stay healthy through the holidays?” Here are eight tips to keep you well through the season and into the New Year:
1. Be mindful. When you go to parties or holiday meals, instead of mindlessly filling your plate with food you don’t really like, think about what’s available to you before putting anything on your plate. Choose only the foods you truly enjoy and eat them in moderate quantities. Do you love fruitcake? Even a small 1-ounce piece contains 90-100 calories because of dried fruits and sweeteners. And beware of the dangers of drink. Some brands of eggnog have as many as 440 calories in an 8-ounce cup. And alcohol can be a double threat—not only does it have calories, but it lowers your inhibitions, which made lead to unhealthy choices.
2. Indulge selectively. It’s okay to enjoy a few indulgences over the holiday season. Don’t feel guilty about consuming a few extra calories. Guilt leads to unhealthy behaviors. Just remember to stay on your normal eating routine as best you can.
3. Listen to your body. Are you really hungry? Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to eat it.
4. Plan non-food activities. Believe it or not, everything does not need to revolve around food! Take a drive and view Christmas lights. Volunteer. Play board games. Go to a performance.
5. Find your zen. The time over the holidays spent at parties or with family and friends can be overwhelming. Make time for yourself and find a few moments of zen each day. Practice yoga. Take a walk. Read a good book. Meditate.
6. Love the ones you’re with. Take time to deepen your love and connection to family and friends. Emotional nurturance offers a deep sense of satisfaction that may lead to less emotional eating and drinking. Be supportive and ask for support when you need it. Offer random acts of kindness; not only will it help someone else, but you will feel good too!
7. Exercise each morning. Moving your body first thing in the morning helps you to manage stress during your day. A short walk (15-20 minutes) or a brief toning routine will help to boost your energy levels throughout the day.
8. Recognize your holiday stress points. Do certain family members put you on edge? Do you take on too much? Do parties stress you out? Ask yourself what leads you to feel most anxious or irritable. Make choices that limit stress and support your wellbeing.
May this holiday season be joyful and abundant for you and yours.