A Guide to Healthy Holidays

Healthy Holidays Blog

The holidays are a time to celebrate and spend time with family and friends. But it can also be a time filled with to-do lists, events, food, and festivities. You may find your diet, exercise habits, and sleep schedule disrupted. To help with this, we’ve compiled a few friendly reminders and tips to help keep this holiday season joyful.

1. Be cognizant of your eating habits

The holidays tend to present opportunities to eat outside of your normal routine. You may be going out more, going to holiday parties, or being given sweets and treats as gifts. This may result in an increase in fatty foods, sugar, and alcohol. Enjoy these indulgences in moderation and select the ones that matter most to you, then take the time to be in the moment and enjoy any indulgences to their fullest.

When life is busier, we tend to select foods that are quick and easy. Avoid emotional eating to deal with your feelings. Recognize these feelings and take time to address the cause of them.

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Enjoy food and alcohol in moderation
  • Select a smaller plate
  • Eat mindfully and remember to enjoy any indulgences to their fullest
  • Wait 20 minutes before considering additional servings
  • Avoid eating to deal with emotions

2. Remember self-care and exercise

Sleep and exercise are key to keeping your body feeling optimal. There are often more commitments, events to attend, and tasks to do during the holiday season. This can impact your typical sleep and exercise routines.

Sleep allows your body to reset and rebuild. If you are not getting enough sleep, you may experience brain fog, food cravings, and irritability.

Try to maintain any typical exercise routines. If commitments interrupt these activities, look for other opportunities to add stretches, strengthening, or steps into your day. Don’t feel afraid to plan events around your scheduled self-care routines. You have the right to say no and ensure you are still maintaining your health and wellness.

  • Work to maintain your sleep-wake cycle
  • Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a day
  • Continue with typical exercise routines
  • Plan activities and events around your self-care routines

3. Set realistic expectations

The holidays often present an opportunity to attend more events, search for the perfect gifts, and volunteer your time. While it is a great time to boost your social bucket for many, it may feel overwhelming for others. If you tend to feel overwhelmed during this time of year, you’re not alone—a previous survey by the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) showed 63% of people report feeling too much pressure during the holiday season.1 Take the time to determine which events you enjoy and want to attend versus those you may not need to attend or simply feel obligated to attend. Then make a plan that allows you to still maintain time for yourself and your family. Similarly, you may be presented with many opportunities to volunteer your time. Select those opportunities that mean the most to you and are in your skill set.

  • Participate in activities that matter most to you
  • Be realistic about what you can accomplish
  • Remember it is okay to say “no”

4. Set financial goals

Purchasing and giving gifts can create additional expenses and possibly lead to financial strain. Prior to the holidays, set a budget and stick to it. Brainstorm ways to provide joy without causing financial hardship. This may be as simple as letting someone know you care, planning to spend time together, or a small, meaningful gift. In addition, when it comes to events, consider participating in a free, local holiday activity versus a large-scale expensive holiday extravaganza.

  • Create a holiday budget
  • Set a monetary limit on gifts
  • Shop early
  • Set boundaries around gift giving
  • Limit outside luxuries and entertaining expenses

5. Make time to connect with others

More so than gift-giving and hosting events, the holidays are a time to connect with friends and friends. Reach out to those you love and touch base with them. This can be as simple as a phone call or a cup of coffee. If you are involved in a support group, reach out to others in the group. Connecting with others in the simplest form can make all the difference.

  • Spend time with people special in your lives
  • Enjoy the moment

6. Plan travel early

The holidays are a busy time of year for travel. While traveling can be an exciting and fun time, there may also be many things to consider in navigating to your destination. Don’t let this stand in your way. Check out these 12 tips for making holiday travel more accessible.

  • Plan ahead
  • Allow yourself plenty of time
  • Ask for help if needed

When the holiday season is in full swing, remember to stop and take the time to enjoy it all. Find moments of peace and pause in the midst of life and enjoy your time with family and friends.

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