Raise a hand if you’ve recently looked at your calendar and thought to yourself, “what happened to fall?! Thanksgiving is in two weeks?! Christmas in 6?! I’M NOT READY!“. *Cue, holiday panic*. Hopefully we’re not the only ones who feel like the holidays have crept up on us this year. And while we’re all for decking the halls and being merry, we’re also a couple who equates health to happiness. Does this mean that we skip out on all the yuletide goodness? Heck no. But we do follow a few holiday health guidelines to make sure we’re joyful and bright, both inside AND out.
Stick to a Mostly Healthy Diet
Tis’ the season Dreamers, and that means a plethora of holiday cookies, cakes, butter laden dishes, and festive drinks. Not so merry? The fact that these holiday delights also add up to some serious extra calories. Rather than depriving yourself of your favorite holiday treats, which is basically a guaranteed recipe for binging out later on, strive maintain a holiday health diet filled with fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, and good fats. Then, when a holiday get together arises, eat whatever you want, and hop right back on track.
Remember, a single day of excess won’t derail you. Nor will a few days (because let’s be honest, ain’t nobody limiting it to just one day throughout the season). The point is to eat whole, nourishing foods most of the time, and allow yourself indulgences during the festivities.
While it would probably feel more fun to binge out all day every day on pumpkin bread and peppermint bark, you’ll actually end up feeling sluggish, bloated, and low energy. Remind yourself that eating healthier throughout the holiday season will make those get togethers even more special AND delicious. Not to mention you’ll have tons more energy to conquer the crowds and dominate that round of family charades.
Yup, here it is again folks. SLEEP. You want holiday health? You need sleep. No doubt you’re shouldering a heavy schedule, jam packed with events, parties, school plays, and more. But if you’re going to keep your metabolism high, your immune system rocking, and your mental state SANE, then you need your shut eye. Make it a priority to get enough sleep each night and you’ll be able to get in more throughout your day.
If your struggling with sleep, try these tricks to make your night more restful:
- Shut off your electronics and hour before you go to sleep. YES, this means your phone too. This takes a lot more will power than most people would think. Use this time to read a good book, get some snuggles in, or sneak a quick yoga flow.
- Make it dark. Some people simply have a difficult time sleeping with any light peeking in. If you can’t get your room to black out, then invest in a sleeping mask that does this for you. You’ll be surprised by how big of a difference this makes.
- Use lavender. Some people like oils while others prefer sprays. Whatever you choose, this scent is well known for its calming effects that can lull you to sleep.
- Don’t work in your bedroom. If you’re used to typing away on your laptop in bed, try to break that habit ASAP. Make your room a place for SLEEP. Once you train your brain to associate your room with sleeping, rather than working, it’ll be much easier to get to bed.
Create a Workout Schedule You Can Live With
The holidays are an exceptionally busy time of year. Between travel, parties, events, hosting, and your usual hectic schedule, it’s difficult to maintain a rigid (and time consuming) workout routine. The good thing is, knowing this allows you to PLAN for this.
Modify your schedule to fit into your life for the next few weeks. Incorporating quick HIIT workouts or short runs can be a great way to still get a solid workout in, but not dedicate 1-2 hours of your life to it. Extra bonus points if you can get it done at home. There are tons of workouts that offer this structure, which can feel much more maintainable throughout the busy holiday season.
While it’s easy to brush off your physical fitness, it’s important to remember that self-care is the ultimate way to maintain your holiday health. Working out, even if that’s just a walk through your neighborhood while listening to a podcast, is one of the best ways to relieve stress and feel ready to take on whatever’s next.
Give Yourself Some Wiggle Room
Some people are capable of saying ‘no thank you’ to all of the holiday goodies this time of year. They’re super disciplined. They maintain their six pack abs, and don’t seem to have any trouble feeling deprived or left out. Welp… THAT’S NOT US (aside from Ben’s six pack, which just… IS).
One of the greatest parts of the holiday season are the delicious meals and treats shared with family and friends. The nights spent laughing with your hot chocolate and schnapps, and that insane pie your neighbor brought over. We firmly do NOT believe in saying no to this. We just believe in being SMART. It’s moderation. Do you need a slice of pie? Absolutely. Do you need 3? Probably not.
Decide what IS worth it to you, and HAVE it. Don’t feel guilty, beat yourself up, or wallow in guilt if you miss your workout. Allowing yourself some wiggle room saves your sanity. And as strange as it sounds, knowing that you’re able to indulge guilt free also prevents you from over doing it.
Most importantly, remember that the holidays are a time for gratitude and celebration. Taking care of yourself will allow you to do better at taking care of others. Don’t sacrifice your health, or your sanity, in an attempt to be holly jolly 24/7.
If you need a break, take it. If you need a cookie, eat it. While it’s easy to get caught up in the stress and whirlwind of the holidays, don’t forget to take a step back and reflect on what’s really important – and your health is one of those things.
Happy holidays Dreamers.