Cheers to Being Well this Holiday Season!

This post is by Jocelyn Anne.

While encouraging us to “feel good” during the holiday season might seem silly (it’s the holiday season, after all—how can we not feel good?), it’s actually very, very easy to feel poorly at this time of year.

Keeping well

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I think if you think very long about it, you’ll see what I’m alluding to.  While of course, it’s perhaps the happiest, cheeriest of times, it’s also a time when we become busier than ever, stretched in more directions than ever, and placed in sometimes stressful situations (holiday party small talk, anyone?). To top it all off, the routines we’ve had in place for eating right and exercising regularly typically get tossed to the side (sometimes willingly, sometimes not).

This often means that by January 1, we often find ourselves stressed, completely exhausted, lacking nutrition, and sometimes even feeling guilty or distraught over weight gained and muscle lost.

If that’s ever been your experience and you’re ready for something new this year, make a decision to start this holiday on the right foot. Commit to finding the motivation and dedication to do whatever it takes to stay happy, healthy and feeling good physically and mentally!  If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some of my favorite easy tips.

Prioritize

It’s often difficult to convince ourselves of the importance of this point.  We tell ourselves “it’s only one month,” and convince ourselves that every possible activity or invitation is crucial—we can’t miss even one!

But the truth is that going to a few less events will actually make the others so much more enjoyable, since you won’t be stretched so thin.  You’ll have had ample time to prepare and create anything you need to bring, and when you’re there, you’ll be awake, focused, and engaged. 

If you’ve already been to three parties that week, the fourth will be much less special.  Prioritize what you must go to (daughter’s Christmas carol night), what you truly want to go to (best friend’s party), and then attempt to cut out the “extras” that you can live without.

Save time to relax

One of the best things you can do for yourself during these busy, stressful days is to ensure that somewhere in the day, you have time to simply sit down and let your mind regroup. 

It might only be ten minutes, but that ten minutes of not thinking about the 20 things you have to do before the day ends will allow you to calm your mind and body, take some deep breaths, and reorganize your mind without doing something else at the same time.

Make healthy eating easy

My favorite way to sail through the holidays without ditching all my normal eating habits is to make some guidelines beforehand, and put some extra time into preparation. We’re going to be busier, that’s a given, so meal times are likely not to happen after two hours spent cooking a healthy, nutritious meal.  Rather, they’re likely to be served between ballet recital practice and Christmas caroling. 

My favorite way to deal with this is to spend an afternoon making large freezable dishes that I can have for nights when it’s too crazy.  The earlier in the month you get to this, the better, and it’s perfect when the kids are watching Christmas movies or crafting holiday cards, for example. And it will save you from throwing a frozen pizza in th oven because you simply don’t have the time or ingredients on hand for anything else.

If you struggle with overeating at holidays, or taking in more sugars and carbs than you like, consider setting limits.  Give yourself a list of acceptable foods (you can include some healthier “treats” here too, like a baked apple for dessert). If it’s not on the list, you don’t eat it.  Simple as that.  When you have the option to decide at the party if you’ll eat the gingerbread cookie, chances are, you will.  But, if it’s not even an option for you to think about, then you don’t have to worry about it!

Switch your list every week so you don’t get bored.  And of course, if you feel strong enough, then let yourself indulge occasionally.  However, remember: there are some foods that, once we have one, we find ourselves incapable of saying no to next time. Spare yourself the anguish later and just make those particular foods off limits altogether.  It’s not worth it!

Grab exercise where you can

Many of us will find it impossible to get in that 45 minutes at the gym during this time of year.  So, make it count elsewhere when you can.

Park as far away from the store as you can.  Power walk in the malls.  Watching movies with the kids?  Do power squats and lunges for part of it.  Instead of a second day of baking cookies, take the family out for a long hike.

You get the idea!  When you’ve got a second, get some physical activity in quick!  It’ll help boost your mood and keep you feeling energized.

Cherish the season!

In the end, you just have to do what you can, but do remember to take care of yourself in every way possible, and remember to savor every moment.  Putting your health and well-being at the top of your list of priorities will allow you to enter into January feeling invigorated and re-energized for a whole new year!

Jocelyn Anne is a full time writer who loves to offer tips and advice for living simpler, healthier lives.  She currently works for Air & Water and writes their content, most of it related to their electric infrared heaters.

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