You can approach the holiday season in two ways. You’re either stressed, overeating, running around like crazy, trying to make all the obligations you agreed to attend, trying to find the perfect gift for everyone and stressing some more, OR you can have a plan. A plan of action to take care of yourself. Start to treat yourself like your child or pet, seriously, people (in the US especially) treat their animals better than themselves. The plan is something to live religiously by during the busiest time of the year, and hopefully continue it as we move into a new one.
I love the holiday season. For me the holidays start with Halloween and go all the way into the new year. No I don’t start listening to Christmas music before Halloween (okay maybe one Mariah Carey Christmas song, it is too good!). I enjoy decorations, gatherings with friends and family, good food, holiday cocktails, lights, music, skating, and all the festivities that come during this time of year. Unfortunately many people around the world do not look forward to the holidays. I heard a statistic today on the radio saying that 45% of people in the US are NOT looking forward to the holidays. That is almost HALF of the country, in a bah-humbug, Scrooge mood. Not acceptable, we need to change that.
Many people start to change their lives after the holidays. This causes people to binge more than they normally would. If they plan that January 1st or 2nd they are finally going to start eating healthy and get in the gym they decide to “get it all in” while they can. And when I say getting it all in I mean, over eating, stuffing your face, over boozing from Thanksgiving until New Years Eve. I am certainly guilty of being one of these people. I’ve told myself I’ll get back to healthy eating after the holidays, and then eat whatever is in front of me, have too many glasses of wine without any thought as to how it will make me feel afterwards. And the results are never pretty, over bloated, unmotivated, and no energy. No wonder people are feeling like a Scrooge!
I designed this holiday guide to help beat some of the stress and pressures of the holiday season. It isn’t something to read once and hope you can follow, it is a tool you should use throughout the holidays. Maybe start with one tip and focus on it for a day, then focus on a different the next day. It is meant to be a guide for you so you can have a happy, healthy and enjoyable holiday season. Cheers!
7 Happy Healthy Holiday Tips
- Love Thyself. This is the most important one to try to follow. We give so much compassion to other people and we show support to our loved ones, but when it comes to self love it isn’t so easy. If you’re always telling yourself negative thoughts then you’ll start to become that negative person. But, if you’re telling yourself positive thoughts then you’ll start to become a positive more “glass half full” person. When your mind goes into a negative place and says something like “You ate and drank way too much last night what is wrong with you, why did you do that” change that thought to a positive one “You ate and drank to much last night and today you will focus on healthy clean eats”. Keep it positive and love yourself. Having trouble getting started? Here is a great website called The Daily Love that will bring love to you each and everyday, click here and check it out.
- Keep Looking Forward. Don’t look back and beat yourself up about past decisions, look forward and focus on the small positive things you can do for yourself. Two weeks ago I ate WAY too much apple pie. My husband, Angelo loves making apple pie this time of year and it is so good. I even asked him not to make it (I know how I am, I don’t keep sweets in my house because I will eat them) but we had people visiting and next thing I know my whole house smells like yummy cinnamon apple pie, and I’m eating more than necessary. Three days later when the pie was gone, instead of going to a negative place and focusing on what I had done, I focused on what I could do to help my body recover from sugar, saturated fat, and inflammation overload. If you overeat pumpkin pie, stuffing, or consume too much eggnog, do not let negative thoughts take over in your head, the minute you let the negative thoughts in, you’ll go right back to that pie and eat even more, then emotional eating and binging begins. We can’t change what we did yesterday but we can control what we will do today.
- Move! Make some time to get some type of movement in. I’m not saying go to the gym for an hour everyday. Know yourself and take on what you can handle. If you don’t workout at all maybe this holiday season you’ll start parking in the back of the parking lot, and take the stairs instead of the escalators. Get up 10 minutes early to do some stretching, lunges, or light weightlifting in your house. If you are already an active person write yourself a workout schedule every week. If you write it down in a planner you are more likely to stick to it instead of coming up with excuses.
- Get a buddy on board. You don’t necessarily need someone to workout with and cook meals with, but tell someone who you know will support you, that you want to have a healthier holiday season. You can tell a partner, friend, family member, just make sure it is someone who will be a positive force in your life. Your buddy is a great person to help hold you accountable and makes you feel a sense of support without being negative. If you have a holiday party where you will be tempted with lots of sugary treats, let this person know ahead of time that you only plan on having one cookie, or plan on sharing it with someone. Making someone aware of your intentions will help you stay focused on your goals. If you can’t think of someone who is a positive influence for a buddy, then having a health coach is a great option. Even I have a health coach and had a phone session with him last week, it left me feeling inspired, motivated and exciting about what is to come. You can find out more about working with me as a health coach here.
- Take time for YOU. It’s so important to take care of yourself, we spend our lives taking care of our kids, parents, friends and pets, we have to do the same for ourselves. You have to look out for yourself and be your biggest supporter. Find 5, 10, 15 or even 30 minutes everyday to relax. Have a cup of tea, call a friend you know will make you laugh, go for a walk, take a bath, or sit in silence. Meditation is a great tool to help you wind down, some of my favorite meditation apps (all are free) are “Take a Break”, and “Silva Meditations” they provide you with free guided meditations.
- Get “religious” about juicing or blending. Juicing and blending are a great way to start your day, especially if you know you’ll be at a holiday party with tempting treats in the evening. If you like smoothies, green smoothies are a great way to sneak some veggies into your diet, and energize your body for the day. If you don’t have a juicer or blender try your local juice shop, make sure to tell them you don’t want any added sugar in smoothies or juices. If the juice is to bitter for you, try sweetening it with NuNaturals Stevia(use coupon code OZI624 to get $5.00 off your first order-which means you’ll get to try Stevia for free) a little goes a long way. You can check out some smoothie and juicing recipes here and here.
- Have gratitude. Angelo and I started a tradition while we are eating where we say what we are grateful for. We started this about three months ago with the intentions of it being a gratitude journal instead of writing it down, we talk about it together. While we are eating we both share what we are grateful for that day, we usually say three things. Studies show people who regularly express thankfulness in their lives, have a positive attitude, live a happier life, sleep better, and have improved relationships, read full Psychology Today article here.
The holidays should be happy, cheerful, and a time of reflection. Holiday pressures can cause great stress, so we have to take care of ourselves first. You don’t want to enter into 2013 feeling burned out and regretting what you did in the last month. Taking care of yourself will make it easier to brush off the things that usually stress us out. I wish all of you a Happy, Healthy Holiday Season!!!