Healthy Holidays to you
As wonderful as the holiday season is, there are many reasons why it can also sometimes be stressful and unhealthy. Parties and big family gatherings mean we may be eating rich food – and lots of it – along with more alcohol than we normally do, an extra busy schedule means we may not have time for the daily recommended amount of exercise, overnight guests and family obligations might tax us both physically and emotionally, and travelling long distances to be with friends and family can wear us right out.
The holiday season is a time of excess, and it may seem like there’s nothing we can do about the parts of it that aren’t particularly good for us. But there are ways to help make the season a little healthier so you can be a little happier. Consider some of these tips and tricks as we head into the holidays:
- Proactively manage your stress. If you know that the holidays can make you tense, nip it in the bud by trying meditation. Many studies have shown that meditation can lower blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart disease, so they’re a very healthy way to deal with holiday stress.1
- Get organized before the rush. Last minute surprises will pop up, so get yourself as organized as possible before things get hectic. Shop early and wrap as soon as you get home, make lists to keep you on track, and write up a schedule of events to make sure you don’t miss anything important. For more great tips check out our article that will help you get a jump on the holidays.
- Make exercise fun, and sneak it in wherever you can. You may not have time to go to the gym every single day, but you can dance in the kitchen while you’re making dinner, or make a snowman with the kids after school, or go for a quick family walk before dessert. Try to sneak in exercise where you can by parking farther away than you need to, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and walking short distances rather than taking the car, if possible.
- Learn to say no when you’re overwhelmed. At some point you may have to face the fact that you can’t do it all – and that’s perfectly okay! Say no to invitations you don’t have the mental or physical energy to say yes to, scale down if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, and delegate tasks to other family members. Read our article on how to say no for simple and polite ways to refuse invitations and other obligations you can’t manage.
- Focus on eating healthy food. Even tables filled with rich, fattening food usually have some healthy things hidden on them if you search hard enough. At cocktail parties look for vegetable and fruit platters, and drink sparkling water with just a splash of fruit juice rather than a sugary, sweet punch. At family dinners, load up on healthy sides like plain steamed veggies, and take smaller portions of meat and other rich sides. Portion control and moderation are important too. Have dessert, but just have half a serving instead of the whole slice of cake or pie.
- Start a holiday tradition that involves being physical. Most holiday traditions tend to be indoor activities. Try moving them outside! Take your family carolling, go snowshoeing, or even plan a winter picnic.
- Stick to your routine as much as possible. Part of the reason the holidays can take a toll is because we’re off our regular sleep schedule. Stick to your routine as much as possible by going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time as you usually do. Remember that good, restful sleep is incredibly important for our bodies and minds, so check out our tips for sleeping like a baby.
- Don’t be a hero. You can’t do everything all by yourself – you’re supposed to be able to enjoy the holidays too, after all – so enlist family members or even willing friends to help you with simple tasks that can ease your burden. Kids can help wrap gifts, clean and decorate the house, and even do age-appropriate kitchen chores.
- Have fun while you host. It may seem impossible, but you can still enjoy yourself when you’re the host of a party. Check out our article that will show you how to spend more time with your guests so you can enjoy the festivities too.
- Make staying healthy a priority. When it comes right down to it, staying healthy and managing stress during the holidays is all about making it a priority. It’s not selfish to look after yourself, especially when so many people are counting on you, so put staying both mentally and physically healthy at the very top of your to-do list.
414356E CAN/US (11/16)