10 Tips To Stay Healthy During the Holidays
Gifts, family, cozy fireplaces, delicious feasts and sweets, staying in your pajamas all day, and never leaving the couch. It seems the same things that make the holidays so great can also knock you out of balance.
So, how do you stay healthy during the holidays while still enjoying every moment and all your favorite foods? So how do you stay healthy during the holidays and set yourself up for a bright New Years?
Here are 10 tips to stay healthy during the holidays.
1. Limit Your Screen Time
It’s that time of year where you finally get to have some much needed time off and be close to the ones you love. But is that actually what you do? Lots of us don’t actually “switch off” and continue to bombard our eyes and brains with stimuli and stress even on these days of “rest”. Challenge yourself and your family to put the phones away, and be present as a group. There’s actually scientific proof that, while uncomfortable at first, disconnecting from our virtual world and being present with our family actually increases long-term dopamine responses that keep us happy long after we’ve gone back to real life.
2. Make Time for Rest
For a “holiday”, these few days can be really demanding. Make time for true and deep rest, don’t run down your batteries to empty by December 31, and have no energy for your New Year’s Resolutions. One tip is to set boundaries with yourself. Know when bed-time is for you and turn off your phone, put in earplugs, and go to bed.
3. Get Outside!
There’s no better cure than nature and luckily it’s one of the few options still left for all of us. Now that daylight is so scarce, making the most of it is extra important. Get outside. Whether that’s for a hike in the hills, a walk around the block, or just to sit in a park…. Vitamin D is a vital part of fighting off seasonal depression and illness. Just 15 minutes a day of sunlight and fresh air can make a difference.
4. Stay Present
Don’t let the holiday madness take a toll on your mental and emotional health. Whether you’re caught up in cooking, holiday shopping or socializing, don’t put your needs on the back burner. The holidays are always a time of stress, expectations, managing family dynamics, and there never seems to be enough time. Before you know it the “holidays” are over but you feel like you need another vacation to recover. So, take some time off of “what should be done” and center yourself. Create space for you to relax and unwind, do at least one thing every day that makes you truly happy.
5. Get the Blood Moving
“Everyone gets busy during the holidays, and often, the first thing to go is their workout plan. This is what NOT to do,” says Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Colder, darker days can make the couch a very appealing place to be – but, keeping active keeps your mood up, so find a way to keep moving! Don’t be afraid of the rain, get a good umbrella and coat – you can still enjoy a walk when there are a few raindrops. Working with weights and doing aerobic exercise are also vital to staying fit and strong to support immune function and circulation. A vital body gets sick less often.
6. Enjoy Holiday Pleasures (in moderation)
It’s 2020, food shame is OUT. No matter how you want to eat over the holidays, it’s just important that you’re comfortable. Whether you like to overindulge on mama’s cooking, or keep it light and maintain your yearly routine… is totally up to you. These are just our standard “healthy balance” tips for those who need guidance.
Don’t skip your favorite part of the holidays, but choose your roster before you enter the meal or party. Know that grandma’s cheese ball is your absolute favorite? Can’t miss the boozy eggnog? Are mashed potatoes your kryptonite? Then enjoy them. Depriving yourself of your deepest pleasures will only make you resentful. Skip the shame and justifications and just enjoy your favorite foods. Then, you’re also less likely to say “well… since I’m cheating I might as well…” and end up way over-doing it. Pick your 3 favorites and then be discerning when it comes to the other stuff.
7. Prioritize Whole Foods
Once you have your exceptional items in mind, build the rest of your holiday eating around whole foods. Fill your plates with the wholesome stuff and eat mindfully. If you have an indulgent meal, enjoy it! Don’t punish yourself the next day, or slide into a dozen donuts. Just eat a regular wholesome breakfast and keep it moving!
8. Connect with Others
The holidays aren’t merry and jolly for everyone. For some of us, the holidays can be a source of depression. This year with loved ones spread across the country unable to meet, and some people completely isolated in quarantine, it’s more important than ever to reach out to the ones you love. If you have a friend or family that is on their own, or you yourself are stuck alone inside this year, reach out and make phone or zoom plans. A simple 30-minute conversation could really fight off the loneliness.
9. Get Reflective (and Creative)
Another year has gone, and boy was this one intense. As we end this year and everything that’s happened it’s time to sit down quietly and reflect. This is a perfect time to write, look through photos, or create art. Spend some time thinking about what this year has taught you, what you still need to work on, what you’re grateful for, and what you want out of 2021.
10. Give Back
There’s never been a year where it’s more important to give to others. And as it’s the Season of Giving, and the season of love and fellowship, it’s important for all of us to find a way to give back. Celebrate the reason for the season and donate your time, canned food, or gifts to those who are struggling this year.