9 Tips for Happy, Healthy Holidays
We are deep in the midst of the holiday season, and things are rapidly picking up steam in terms of places to go and people to see. At this point in the holiday season, it can get easy to fall into the trap of feeling stressed out and unhealthy, but I am fighting that urge as much as possible. This holiday season, I’m following nine steps to keep myself feeling healthy and happy all the way until the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.
Eat healthy and savor the seasonal treats. Although I’m not doing quite as well on the eating healthy front as I would like, I try my best to stick to my normal eating habits. Just because it’s the holidays, doesn’t mean I need to eat all the food. On the same front, I’m not willing to deprive myself of all the treats that are around, but my rule of thumb is to stick with the treats that are special to this time of year. I can have a chocolate chip cookie any day of the year, but it’s not often that I get pumpkin pie or gingerbread cookies, so when I eat those once a year goodies, I take the time to savor each bite.
Be conscious of mindful eating. There is an obscene amount of food surrounding us this time of year and it can get very easy to start munching on a handful here and a handful there, without really thinking about what we’re eating, or if we’re even hungry and truly want that food. Before I grab that dessert or go for the second serving of food, I stop and take a second to think about my actions first. There’s nothing wrong with eating that sweet treat, but think about it first.
Exercise when and how I can. My motivation and time to exercise is at an all time low come December, but I try to make an effort to get some activity in when I can. While I might not stick to my normal fitness routines, I make an effort to get to the gym for shorter workouts. If I’m shopping at the mall, I’ll walk an extra loop around the perimeter before I start shopping. I have a dance party while I’m working in the kitchen. It might not be the normal intensity that I’m used to, but something is better than nothing.
Keep sleep a priority. The holidays can be exhausting and I think that’s a big part of why people tend to get so stressed out and unhappy. I make an effort to stick to my usual 7-8 hours of sleep as many nights as possible, because I know that when I’m well rested, I’m much happier and ready to take on the fun events of a given day.
Take some “me” time every day. While this might be indicative of my introverted nature, I think it’s something healthy for everyone to take some down time every day, or as close to it as possible. Personally, my favorite sources of “me” time are relaxing with a hot bath and a glass of wine, or reading for an extra hour before bed, having time to just be quiet is so restorative, after the draining nature of constantly being on the go and entertaining.
Remember that things don’t have to be perfect. If the gifts aren’t wrapped just so or the cut-out sugar cookies aren’t frosted like they just came off the assembly line, I have to remember that is 100% okay. The odds are, I’m the only one that will notice anyhow. It’s the thought behind the effort that counts.
Hydrate. I’m generally pretty good about remembering to drink water most of the year, but when things get busy, it can get easy to forget. It’s particularly easy to get dehydrated at the holiday parties when the drinks start flowing. Drink a big glass of water before every meal and another one with the meal, and you’re off to a great start. When you’re having alcoholic beverages, drink responsibly first and foremost, but try to have one glass of water for every one drink.
Remember I don’t have to do all the things. There are a lot of events and parties to attend, and they’re all fun and shiny and exciting, but I don’t have to do it all. I make an effort to prioritize the invitations I’ve received and know that it’s okay to say no to some of them. People will understand, and if they don’t, then that’s their problem, not mine.
Have fun and celebrate the season. At the end of the day, I think this is such a fun and wonderful time of year. It can become easy to be so caught up in everything that I forget to enjoy this season! I just adore Christmas, and I want to celebrate! I love the lights, the decorations, and the special treats. I love watching The Santa Clause, Love Actually, and Elf. I love giving gifts to the people in my life. It’s a magical season and it lights up my heart. I am going to unabashedly enjoy these few weeks!