The holidays are prime time for eating delicious food, celebrating with loved ones, and creating long-lasting memories. However, all this cheer can be both physically and mentally draining.
That’s why it is essential to focus on your wellness during the holidays. Use these tips to make healthy decisions throughout the season.
Eat in moderation
Your eating habits can be difficult to monitor when there’s an abundance of delicious meals and enticing sweet treats available, so it’s important to remember everything is best in moderation.
- Avoid eating too fast. Instead, sit back and enjoy your favorite holiday foods. Savor the taste and texture of what you’re eating. This practice can help give your body time to tell you when you’re full. Studies have shown it can take up to twenty minutes to feel sufficiently full. A good way to avoid overeating is to take a ten-minute break after your first serving to give your body time to digest before going for seconds.
- If the host serves the food buffet style, survey all the options before grabbing a plate, and plan out your meal instead of piling on items one after another.
- Don’t go to holiday parties on an empty stomach, as this may cause you to overeat. Have a healthy pre-party snack comprised of complex carbohydrates and protein, like apple slices with peanut butter, trail mix, or turkey on whole wheat bread.
- You shouldn’t deprive yourself of treats altogether. Enjoy a serving of your favorite dessert instead of filling your plate with multiple servings of sweet dishes.
While tasty beverages like eggnog and cocktails are ever-present during the holiday season, make sure you’re conscious of how much water you’re drinking. There is no set standard for how much water you should drink because it varies from person to person; however, you should try to drink at least several glasses a day. Bring a reusable water bottle with you when you run errands and while you’re at work to help increase your water intake.
Get enough sleep
Between the shopping, gift wrapping, and cooking, you may feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete everything on your schedule. However, you shouldn’t sacrifice sleep to get your tasks done. A lack of sleep can weaken your immune system, cause weight gain, and lead to increased anxiety. According to the CDC, adults should get at least seven hours of sleep each night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, avoid blue light from devices like your phone, television, or tablet for an hour or two before you go to bed. Also, avoid eating a large meal or drinking caffeine or alcohol for three to four hours before heading to sleep.
Set a schedule
Create a schedule for the busy months ahead by spreading your tasks across the season. Avoid spending long hours in stores by breaking up your shopping into two or three shorter trips, and wrap a selection of your gifts at a time instead of trying to do it all at once. If you can’t do everything on your list, ask a loved one for help. By distributing tasks, you’ll clear up time to focus on other things that need to get done. You should also be prepared to turn down invitations or requests from family and friends. While it’s difficult to tell people you cannot attend an event, most people understand this is a busy time.
Stick to a budget
You may have a long list of people you want to give gifts to, but it is important to limit how much you spend. Set a budget before you start shopping, and try your best to stick to it. The stress of the holidays can stretch well into the new year if you’re paying off gifts you bought with a credit card. It’s recommended to spend no more than one percent of your gross annual income on gifts. To save money, give homemade gifts like crafts or holiday treats. You can also suggest a gift exchange to friends or family where everyone is only responsible for buying a single gift within a certain price range for someone else.
Make time to exercise
You can adjust your exercise routine to fit into your holiday schedule. Instead of a thirty-minute routine, try breaking up your workout into smaller intervals throughout the day. Another option is combining a fifteen-minute exercise routine or yoga session with a pair of ten-minute walks spread throughout the day. If you’re at a party, suggest a walk or active game before the meal or in between dinner and dessert.
You need to remember to take time for yourself. Put down your phone, close your laptop, and take a few moments for an activity that puts you at ease, such as meditating, reading, drawing, or spending quality time with a loved one.
If you need a quick pause from holiday activities, try 4-7-8 breathing. This technique can help you reduce stress as well as get to sleep faster. To perform this exercise, find a quiet place to sit or lie down, and follow these steps:
- Breathe in through your nose for four seconds.
- Hold your breath for seven seconds.
- Breathe out through your mouth for eight seconds.
Finally, remember to enjoy yourself. That’s what the holidays are all about! Make sure to eat, drink, and be merry, but in moderation.