The holiday season is upon us and whether you are someone who embraces the holidays or stresses until the very last second I have 5 tips to make this holiday season easier for YOU! These 5 tips are intended to provide you with some guidance as you venture out to holiday celebrations. Food brings us together and during the holiday season this is no different. The following phrase is a common one I hear “I will start eating healthy and exercising in the New Year”. Let’s make this holiday season different. Instead of just making a New Year’s Resolution, lets also create a holiday resolution in which you strive to achieve a small healthy goal this holiday season.
5 tips to keep you on track this Holiday Season:
1. Practise Self-Care – Although the holidays are a time to visit with family and friends, it is also a time in which a great deal of stress is developed. From trying to determine that perfect gift to attending several events our stress levels can reach an all-time high during the holiday season. To help reduce this stress it is important to practise self-care. To practise self-care, choose one of the following ideas:
- Take a warm bath at the end of a long day
- Journaling (dump your thoughts into a journal or go to a quiet space and talk through your thoughts)
- Read for pleasure or listen to an audio book
- Cuddle with your pet
- Crafting or DYI project
- Laughter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVBSYwtyfVY
Try to incorporate self-care 5-7 days a week. This does not have to take long. Set aside 15-30 minutes to take care of YOU! Your body will love you for it. The holidays are a time of giving, however if you don’t take care of yourself you will be in no shape to give.
2. Get Moving – Winter is upon us and there are several outdoor activities to get moving and increase your physical activity. Try making planned physical activity a part of your daily routine. Even bouts of 10-15 minutes of activity throughout the day can have benefits to overall health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Try picking a new activity each week to keep exercise interesting. Also, get your friends and family involved to keep everyone accountable. Here are some outdoor ideas:
- Snow shoeing
- Cross Country Skiing or Downhill skiing
- Sledding (hiking that hill can be one heck of a workout)
- Shovelling (why not get exercise and clear off that drive way)
3. Enjoy your favourite “MUST HAVE” treat – All foods can fit into a healthy diet. Practising the 80-20 rule during the holidays is a great way to minimize your intake of treats and sweets, but still enjoy some of your favourites. Make 80% of your food choices healthy and leave the other 20% for those times you wish to enjoy your favourite holiday foods. Stay away from “all or nothing” thinking. You have approximately 42 food choices to make during your week. Don’t let one unhealthy food decision ruin the rest of your day or week, there are many more chances to make healthy food decisions.
4. Be Prepared – We can all agree that when our stress levels are high and we are running around all day the last thing we want to do is spend hours in the kitchen preparing healthy meals. Instead plan ahead. Cut and wash your vegetables after you buy them so they are easily accessible. Place a fruit bowl on the counter instead of a cookie jar to make the healthier choice an easier one. Take advantage of healthy leftovers and make them into your next day’s lunch to save on time. Finally, set up your plate for success at dinner parties and potlucks. Make sure to fill half your plate with vegetables and leave the other half for protein and starches.
5. Practise Mindfulness – We live in a very busy world in which technology and distractions surround us. Eating meals at the dining room table is becoming a rare occurrence for many families. We find ourselves shoving our faces with food in the car on the way to work, in front of our computers, and worst of all in front of the television. Make a goal this holiday season to try and unplug during mealtime. When we are bombarded with distractions during mealtime we can miss feelings of fullness and this can cause us to over eat. Make it a point to eat slowly and mindfully. Enjoy each bite and reflect on the texture and taste of each food. Take time to put your fork down after a few bites to help you slow down.
Have a very Happy Holiday Season and make this season a healthy one!!