For many of us, the holidays are something we look forward to all year! Getting together with family and friends, looking back on the past year, and planning for the future. The feeling of a warm cozy house and surrounding ourselves with loved ones. Children come home to visit or we travel to see them, pageants and shopping, baking and cookie exchanges, visits with Santa, wrapping presents, parties, charity functions, hot cocoa, decorating, ice skating, cooking and cleaning…… wait, why is this the most wonderful time of the year?

Holiday Survival Guide

For as wonderful as the holiday season is, it can also be a time of stress, anxiety and generally overwhelming. By the time December 31st rolls around we’re left feeling exhausted and defeated. Most of us will have eaten our way through the holidays without a second thought about calories or step calculators. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little planning you will not only survive the holidays but will be prepared to take on the New Year in the right state of mind!

Below are some tips and tricks for making the most out of your holiday:

  1. Take 2 – Take 2 minutes each day to reflect, journal a couple of quick thoughts, or meditate. Use the time to be mindful and step away from all the little details that can bog you down, make a list and move forward.
  2. Sleep – Get 6-8 hours of sleep. Decreased or interrupted sleep cycles can lead to a compromised immune system, increased cortisol stress and weight gain.
  3. Eat regularly – When you know that you are going to a holiday function don’t skip your regular meals. If you go on an empty stomach you have the tendency to over eat and crave more unhealthy menu choices instead of sticking to healthier foods. If you do over indulge on a plate of truffles don’t throw in the towel and go for the eggnog and cookies to cap it off! Recognize the indulgence and move on.
  4. Bring a dish – When attending a party or family gathering offer to bring a healthy dish you prepared so you know you will at least have one item you know you can eat more of. Did I hear someone say “Brussels sprouts!”
  5. Veggies are our friends – Fill up on veggies, they are packed full of fiber, vitamins and in some cases an excellent source of protein which will help sustain you longer. Great options are beans, legumes, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes (minus the marshmallows), peas, carrots, edamame & brussels sprouts.
  6. 1 & 1– Use that rule of thumb when consuming alcohol. Try to limit your holiday cheer by staggering every alcoholic beverage you have with a full glass of water. Alcohol adds up to empty calories and increases your appetite for a double whammy!
  7. Stick to your exercise routine – Exercise has been proven to not only relieve stress, decrease cortisol and improve sleep but it can be fun! If you typically exercise on a regular basis, stick to your routine; make time for yourself knowing that by taking care of yourself, you will have more energy for the ones you love.
  8. Don’t try to lose weight – The average American will put on 1 pound the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. A great goal for the season is just to maintain your current weight.
  9. Choose your indulgences wisely – We all have the one thing that we look forward to every year. Maybe it’s grandma’s cookies, sweet potato casserole or turkey and stuffing. Whatever that special something is, make that your “reward” for maintaining a healthy diet throughout the season. Just watch those portion sizes!
  10. Do less, enjoy more – You may find yourself overdoing it during the holidays. Prioritize 1 to 3 activates per week (holiday related) and say “NO” to the rest, it’s okay!

It’s easy to get caught up in all the activities and to-do’s of the holidays. But spending time together with our loved ones and letting go of all the trimmings and trappings can allow us to take a much-needed breath and enjoy the time as we should. Ring in 2019 in the right state of mind by taking care of your mental, emotional & physical health during the holidays. You will be surprised at how this will help set the tone for a new beginning. And when you need guidance, motivation or just a friend to hear you, your friends and family at LCRAC are here to help!