Staying healthy through the holidays can be a little tricky. Parties, food, activities, excitement, to-do lists, and shopping trips can easily pull the focus off taking care of yourself as you move into survival mode. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can, with a little effort, keep your sanity, and stay healthy this holiday season.
We’ve got 8 easy tips that will send you sailing through December, ahead of where you are right now, and ready to tackle 2019. I want to challenge you to change the script this year. No longer will it be “after the holidays.” Nope, this year, you are taking control.
Make your workouts a priority.
With parties, commitments, shopping, and the rush of the season, it’s easy to justify skipping your workout. I get it. You are busy. We all are. However, throwing your workout out the window isn’t always the answer. Sure, you might not have time to commit to a full hour, but chances are, you can likely find 20 minutes.
Rethink your workouts on days where you are slammed, but try not to skip it altogether. Even a 10 minute workout at a high intensity counts here. Get after it. You’ll feel better, you’ll blow off some steam, and you are likely to make better decisions throughout the day if you just make a rule to get your workout in.
Need ideas? Check out this workout that you can do quickly with no equipment and very little space.
Offer to cook.
So, the food at work, your kid’s school Christmas party, and your friend’s Tacky Sweater Party might not be the best. That’s okay. Offer to cook. I’ve yet to meet a host that isn’t thrilled by the offer to bring an extra appetizer or dish to share.
By offering to cook, you can make sure you have a good option available to balance out the junk that’s likely to be spread all over the table. Now, you can enjoy delicious, healthy food without feeling like the abominable snowman.
We’ve all heard it. Everything in moderation. The 80/20 rule. However, have you ever thought about practicing moderation…in moderation? No, that’s not a typo. Sure, indulge. I plan to as well. However, moderating your sweet intake to 2 cookies or sweets a night isn’t exactly moderation.
Look ahead. Know where you are going and what will be worth indulging in. Then, enjoy it. Don’t feel guilty about it. The key is…don’t indulge at every single event this season. Practice even moderation in moderation, and you will be golden this year.
Take the focus off food.
What if every single activity didn’t involve food? I know…crazy, right? Instead of a cookie baking bonanza, what about a game night? You get to hang out with your loved ones, but the entire evening isn’t focused strictly on food.
If you are hosting, make a few delicious snacks or a great pot of chili, and just enjoy the company of great people, lots of laughs, and maybe a festive beverage.
Watch out for the excuse of delay.
“I’ll start or pick back up after the holidays.”
Watch out for this. Statements like this are simply an excuse of delay. Time doesn’t stand still. There is no Monday, next week, next year, or after the holidays. You can do something right now, even if it’s small to move you forward.
Remember, you aren’t looking for perfection. You are looking for progress. You are looking for small things that you can do right now. So, don’t wait for after the holidays to make a change. Stop making excuses and do something today to get you moving in the direction you want to go.
Focus on small choices.
Small choices add up. It’s easy to discount things that seem small because we don’t think that they really matter. I’m here to tell you…they absolutely do.
What if you just swapped the crackers and dip for veggies and dip? That’s small, but do that over and over, and you are on the right track. Maybe you skip the cookies and opt for some strawberries with a square of dark chocolate. Again, this is small, easy to do, and adds up. Give up buying gifts for every single person in your life. This might seem like a big choice, but it’s really a small action, and I can almost guarantee that it will lighten your stress level and fatten your wallet.
Know that there is always a better choice. It might seem small, but that’s okay. Focus on forward motion.
Manage your stress.
Sadly, what should be the most joyous time of the year turns into one of the most stressful and depressing times of the year for many people. If you find that you are feeling angry, rushed, sad, or just over life in general, it’s time to take a good look at your stress. Please don’t get me wrong, I go through times of feeling stressed during the holidays too. However, when I sit down to really evaluate my stress, I find that most of my stress is created by yours truly. That’s right. Me. I create my own stress by putting expectations on myself and others.
Please take a minute to evaluate your stress level, and then find an outlet to manage it. This might mean making a rule not to neglect your time with your journal, or allowing yourself a hot bath, or going for a run instead of staying late at work. Stress has got to be managed. Otherwise, you are going to miss out on the joy that the holidays can bring.
Alright. If you have been through our Health Coaching course, you already know that we love questions. Honestly, asking great questions can be one of the greatest tools you have. During the holidays, with all of the temptations around, here are a few questions that are worth asking daily.
Is this an opportunity to seize or a temptation to resist?
If I say “yes” to this, what am I saying “no” to?
What is my best choice in this moment?
What is the most important task today?
Asking these questions just simply brings you back to reality. They help guide your decisions so that your focus is clear. I can’t tell you how many times I have stood at the dessert table to ask if the foods presented are an opportunity to seize. Store bought cupcakes, cookies, or pies don’t qualify as an opportunity for me. However, homemade Hummingbird cake might.
Ask questions. Then, answer them honestly.
You can do this.
You absolutely can stay healthy this holiday season. Keep your focus on what’s most important. It’s easy to get distracted, but use these tools to help you move forward and not get stuck waiting for January so that you can start the next new diet or fad or workout class or whatever.
Take action right now. Move forward. Merry Christmas.