Seven Tips to be Healthier for the Holidays:
It’s not news that the holidays can wreak havoc on your health! There are unhealthy food temptations surrounding you at every turn, and the stress of navigating shopping, family obligations, and events can raise your stress levels and affect your mental well-being. Follow the tips below to give the gift of self-care to yourself this holiday season.
- There is no need to overschedule. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to attend every school event, community gathering, and party that you receive an invitation to. Select the ones that are the most important and worthwhile, and politely decline the ones that will overtax your schedule.
- Do the most important traditions and postpone the others. You do not have to feel that ALL family holiday traditions need to be observed every year, just because you have observed them in the past. This creates unnecessary pressure on you as well as family members. If you have children, I recommend holding a family meeting to discuss which holiday traditions are the most important to each family member. Each person can choose one or two traditions to observe this year (such as decorating your home or watching a special holiday movie together), and save the other traditions for holidays in the future.
- Eat healthy food throughout the day! Feed your body nutritious food (preferably containing protein) at intervals of every few hours throughout the day. This will help you resist (or at least not go overboard on) those unexpected unhealthy temptations like your coworker’s Christmas cookies. This will also give you more energy and stamina!
- Find creative ways to exercise. During this busy time, you may not be able to make your regular class at the gym. However, you can squeeze in time to exercise whenever you have brief opportunities throughout the day. Try going for 10 or 15 minute walks at lunch time, or look up short (and free!) workout videos on Youtube that you can do at home. There are also many great apps that you can install on your phone that provide short workouts.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water (at least 64 ounces) each day helps your mood, hunger levels, energy, and overall health. Even in cold weather, challenge yourself to meet your water goals each day as a way of caring for yourself.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep truly affects every other part of your life, and especially your health. If you are sleep-deprived, you will feel the effects of stress more, be more prone to overeating, and be less functional throughout the day. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. You can wrap presents tomorrow!
- Find a “holiday accountability partner.” The stress of the busy season and complex family interactions can often lead to some unhealthy coping mechanisms. It can be so helpful to touch base regularly with a trusted friend or mentor to keep yourself accountable in choosing healthy responses to these situations. As a health and wellness coach, I love helping clients to develop strategies for taking charge of their actions and their health.
During this holiday season, remember that although you may not control all of the external circumstances, you do have control over your own actions. Choose actions that will benefit your physical and mental health! That is the ultimate form of self-care! Happy Holidays!
Melissa Jordan is a health and wellness coach that loves assisting clients nationwide to improve their quality of life. She supports clients in creating optimal health and well being in all areas of their lives, including weight loss, stress reduction, and sleep management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask about her holiday specials!