How to Stay Happy and Healthy This Holiday Season
The holidays are upon us, and for most of us that means lots of unhealthy foods and interrupted exercise regimens. This time of year is a major test of self-control and mindfulness, so here are five tips to help you maintain your good diet, exercise habits, and have a happy and healthy holiday season.
1. Take a Breath
The holidays can be stressful for many reasons, from preparing meals to shopping and everything in between. With so many external stressors it is important to remember to take a deep breath and unwind a little bit each day. Staying on top of your stress and working to reduce it by meditating, doing yoga, reading a book, or whichever activity helps you to best reduce stress will prevent overreacting and will help you attack the holidays with a happy and healthy mindset.
2. Set Realistic Goals
It is nearly impossible to pass up all of the sweet and savory holiday treats. Because these comfort foods are a staple of the holidays, it is necessary to set realistic goals for yourself for example, eating only one or two of your favorite holiday desserts or having only one serving of your favorite holiday foods. In addition to setting realistic diet goals it is also important to establish realistic exercise goals. The holidays are a busy time of year which makes it more difficult to get to the gym and limits time for workouts. Instead, make time for holiday-themed 5k’s, or make your workout a family event and go ice skating, sledding, or snowshoeing. These winter activities will help you reconnect with loved ones and they will also keep you on track towards reaching your physical goals.
3. Plan Ahead
Planning is essential no matter what holiday or holidays you are celebrating. If you are going to a party, eat a light and healthy snack prior to leaving home. This way you will not feel as hungry when you arrive, and you will have a better chance of avoiding some of the unhealthy snacks at the party. If you have a favorite healthy dish, make it and bring it along with you. Bringing a dish to pass makes you more likely to choose healthier options since you have planned it in advance and it is easily accessible to you. In addition to planning what you will eat during the holidays, you should also try to plan your workouts ahead of time. Another unpredictable element of holiday season is the weather. Plan for all types of weather: if it is colder, make sure you are properly dressed so that you do not catch a cold. The dryer months of the holiday season makes hydration a crucial part of staying healthy, so it is important to have enough water with you at all times. If the road conditions are not the best, grab your yoga mat and do some core work at home, this way you can avoid hazardous road conditions and reduce stress. However you choose to plan your meals and exercise, you will feel much more organized and your goals will seem more feasible as a result.
4. Work It!
During the holiday season, there is nothing more comforting than sitting on the couch wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket and sipping on a warm cup of coffee or hot cocoa. Additionally, it is a time where we entertain family and friends by watching holiday movies and football as well as baking and decorating holiday treats. I encourage you to push past these traditions of comfort and get moving whether it be dancing at holiday parties, participating in a winter activity, bringing a friend with you to the gym once a day, or simply going for a walk. No matter how you work it this winter, your body will thank you come spring.
5. Enjoy the Holidays!
While it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle at all times of the year, it is also important to give yourself a break and enjoy the holiday without stressing about calorie counting and self-shaming for missing a workout here and there. All of your favorite holiday foods are okay in moderation and indulging in these treats occasionally will help reduce the stress and expectations of the holidays. Remember that is possible to be mindful of your health all while enjoying the time with your friends and family. It is my hope that these tips make this holiday season your happiest and healthiest one yet.
Best wishes to everyone this holiday season!
-By Megan MacLachlan, Dreissig Apparel Inc.