These last couple of weeks leading up to Christmas are stressful if we let them be – that is why I put together this quick list of 5 Ways to Focus on Health over the Holidays. We each have the power within ourselves to make these next couple of weeks light and fun – or high stress and miserable. Our mindset really sets the tone and becomes the holiday vibe that the rest of the family follows. Taking care of you is #1 – you can not pour from an empty cup!
Health is all about habits and I truly believe it is about falling in love with the process and having someone to keep you accountable. Small changes is all that needs done but we have to be consistent and we have to get back on track when we fall off the rails. Even better, we have to keep our habits going even when there are thousands of cookies, chocolate martinis and holiday charcuterie boards everywhere! Being healthy is not about depriving ourself. It is able enjoying smaller portions of the the foods we love and not feeling guilty about it.
So, to help you stay on track with the merry and bright, I put together my version of habits with a a blend of festive flare and healthy balance:
1. Make Time for Movement
Running your kids around until you are ragged doesn’t count for your exercise time. Instead, take time away for yourself and include a vigorous walk in the fresh air. I find that first thing in the morning is a great time. I bundle up and take the dog outside for about 20 minutes every morning. On the weekends, invite the kids or your bestie along for quality casual time. If you like to tick off the Christmas list with online shopping or want to watch a holiday special on TV, use the extra time for stretches on the yoga mat. I have a Pilates ring that I like to use to stretch while watching Netflix! Walking is an underrated version of exercise. You don’t have to run. You don’t have to do burpees. WALK. Once you build up your stamina, you can add more weight training and harder exercises but start with walking.
2. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
The baked goods and chocolate gifts are certainly part of the holiday tradition, but after a while, your body begins to feel sluggish and weighed down. Infusing lots of fresh fruits and vegetables helps to keep your energy levels on point and your body charged with the proper nutrients to handle the extra stress of shopping and family visits. Try to add some pumpkin into your pancakes. Add some greens into your rice dishes. To help make it more interesting for everyone, try making a veggie and fruit charcuterie board full of color and interesting shapes. Try new things. My girls are obsessed with pomegranate seeds at the moment!
3. Drink Lots of Water and Minimize the Booze Sugary Drinks
Bring a tall glass of water with you to bed and drink it first thing when you wake up. This has been a game changer for me. I drink water first thing and treat myself with coffee later in the morning. It isn’t just the delightful cookies or chocolate delectables that are full of sugar. Those specialty-flavored coffees and luscious sauces add up the sugar count with every sip and bite. Drinking at least 6-8 glasses (half of your body weight in oz is the goal) of water every day helps keep your body hydrated and balanced, increasing your energy levels and ability to focus. Furthermore, it helps to keep water on hand and sip it. As a result, you’ll find you are less hungry and curb some of the cravings for Nona’s nut rolls.
Get Enough Sleep
This one is hard for me. I am a busy body. I like to be doing something and I LOVE time to myself at night. I have to put myself to bed with a bed time. Pay attention to how much sleep you get and how you feel the morning after and through out the day. Do a log for about a week and see some trends. If you think cramming more into the day will help solve the time crunch through the holidays, it may come at the cost of your sleep cycle. When you sleep, your body utilizes this time to recharge and regenerate, healing the strains of everyday life while warding off germs and viruses.
Take Breaks From the Holiday Festivities
Indeed, it all comes down to balance and learning how to say NO to every possible commitment. Perhaps being the miracle worker is doing you more harm than good. So, to give yourself a much-needed timeout, delegate tasks with other family members and create a rotation schedule with extended relatives. It will help regulate your adrenaline and ease holiday stress and anxiety.
Pick Your Battles
The kids will still have great memories if you skip Elf on the Shelf. You don’t have to send out Christmas cards every year. You don’t have to have a Pinterest worthy house full of decorations. Determine what is important to you this year and just do those things. For us, it is decorating the tree as a family and watching a few favorite holiday movies. I am skipping some of the baking – just making a couple batches. Watching Elf is a must.
Join my Facebook group The Bee’s Knees for extra work/life balance support leading up to Christmas! I am taking new clients in the new year – schedule a 30-minute free breakthrough session and let’s start working on your goals for the new year!