The holidays can be a time of great joy and merriment – but a lot of people find this time of year more stressful than magical. Worries about overeating, party preparation, and family dynamics can often dampen spirits and turn what could be a happy mood into an irritable mood. To help keep your season as cheery as possible, I’ve included some tips to boost your spirits and nourish your body through the New Year.
1. Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. Keeping a regular meal schedule will keep you from being famished by the time the big meals roll around.
2. Sleep. It improves everything.
3. Keep it manageable. Whether you’re throwing the party or attending six of them, just make sure your plans are within reach. Make fewer delicious dishes, or cut down your RSVPs to whatever you can handle with pleasure, not pain.
4. Don’t worry. Remember what the season is really about to you, and keep a positive outlook. If the times get tougher, though…
5. Breathe. Find a quiet place, breathe in for 5 counts and out for 10 a few times, and center yourself.
6. Drink water. Staying hydrated is key, not only for reducing cravings, but also for making sure you can keep up with the holiday rush.
7. Eat beforehand. Whether it’s a meal a few hours before the big meal or a handful of veggies on your way out the door to a party, it’s definitely better not to get famished.
8. Go easy on the alcohol. After a few drinks, you might find your resolve to stick to your health goals quickly diminishing. If you steer clear of the alcohol, your head and your body will thank you the next day.
9. Only go for your holiday favorites. Choose reasonable portions of the dishes you love most and leave the others on the table.
10. Plate everything before you eat. Even if you go back to the snack table several times, you’ll be more conscious of the quantities you’re consuming if you see it all on a plate first.
11. Wear something form-fitting. You’ll be more inclined to skip seconds when you’re wearing a tight-fitting sweater, dress, or pants than you will in loose clothes.
12. It’s not all or nothing. Overate at your first holiday party? That’s no reason to give up on the season and wait until New Year’s to recommit to your goals. Remind yourself that it’s not too late to make healthier decisions going forward.
13. Get active as a family. Take the family for a walk or play a game of pick-up football. Get some exercise in and spend quality time together – it’s a win-win.
14. Don’t snack on candy. Sweets are everywhere this time of year. But the simple sugars in holiday treats can cause a blood sugar spike that will warp your mood. Stock up on healthy snacks like apples and nuts.
15. Run/Walk a 5K. Many charities choose the season of good will for their run/walks to raise awareness. Find one near you to work off any holiday treats while helping your fellow man.
16. Project Positivity. Sometimes holidays just are stressful. If things start to turn downhill, keep a happy outlook. You’ll encourage others around you to do the same.
I wish you all a healthy and joyful holiday season.