Do you get just a little excited because the holidays are an occasion (excuse) to indulge? It’s time to eat, drink, & be merry after all.
Whether you celebrate the holiness of Hanukah or Christmas, or the Solstice and the vibe of the season, the end of the year usually means time off from work, school, and the daily grind. It’s a time meant for enjoyment. And that enjoyment often includes indulging in some holiday treats. A bit of indulging at this time of year is ok, but the holidays can be a minefield of unhealthy habits. So how do we navigate our way out of the minefield and maintain our health, weight, and sanity?
Try these 8 tips for thriving during the holidays.
- Savor each bite. Nothing says indulgence like savoring each bite. Take time to enjoy the special flavors and homemade delights of the season. By slowing down and savoring each bite, not only will the food taste better, but you’ll digest it better and you’ll eat less in the end.
- Don’t stuff yourself. There’s no reward in that. Indulging doesn’t mean you have to eat until the cows come home. It means enjoying homemade treats of the season, trying new things, and maintaining balance so your body can continue to enjoy what tomorrow brings. Support your body by not overloading it. Sometimes a simple fast can help bring you back into balance. Here’s an example of a simple fast you can do occasionally: choose one day to stop eating by 7pm. The next day, have only water, herbal tea, and/or homemade broth until sometime between 1pm and 5pm (whenever you feel you need to eat). At that time, break your fast by eating a light vegetarian meal, juice, or green smoothie. This simple fast can help get your body and mind back on track.
- Define your values around food, and hold true to them. This is something I do in general (for the whole year), as well as for the holidays. For example, you refrain from eating fried foods all year but allow yourself to indulge in your grandmother’s fried honey balls on Christmas Day, but no other fried food. Or maybe you allow yourself to eat homemade treats but no store bought, chemical laden foods. By defining your values around food ahead of time, you won’t be tempted by random snacks at parties because you know where to draw the line. Having the integrity to stay true to your values will leave you feeling more satisfied than any food or drink can.
- Focus on the conversations and experiences. Holidays are more about spending time with family and friends than they are about food, right? Engage with someone you haven’t seen in awhile or someone dear to you. Giving your full attention to the people around you will take your mind off eating so much. And for those smaller get togethers with friends, choose to meet for a walk or go ice skating instead of meeting for a drink and food.
- Clean out the kitchen ASAP. When it’s all said and done, remove any unhealthy holiday food you bought (or acquired) from your house. If it’s not in front of you, you won’t eat it.
- Manage your stress daily. Practice ten minutes or more of yoga, meditation, deep breathing, Reiki, walking, or whatever relaxes you and brings you back to balance. This is great every day, but can be a life saver during stressful or busy times. Also, keeping a positive outlook will change how your body feels and reacts to outside stimulus for the better. Focus on what you can and do have, rather than on what you can’t or don’t.
- Make a “Not-to-do list. We tend to have so much more “to-do” around the holidays. We get saddled with extra shopping, cooking, social engagements, packing, traveling. This year, make a “not-to-do” list and take one or two things off your list. Decide ahead of time what you’ll bow out of gracefully and lighten your load.
- Go into the season as healthy and balanced as possible. A healthy person is one who can withstand the onslaught of holiday food, the stress of travel, and the late nights that come with this time of year. The healthier you are going into the holiday season, the less you’ll feel the “hit” of offending food and drink, excessive travel, and stressful family situations, plus, the quicker your body will bounce back. Start 2016 with this in mind, and you’ll not only survive next holiday season with ease, you’ll thrive.
Joy and Peace for all in 2016.