If your house is anything like mine, the sugar begins to mount in piles of Halloween candy in mid to late October and the sweets continue to arrive throughout the months of November and December disguised as baked treats and bottles of wine.
The holidays are one of the most challenging times of year for many of us to maintain our health routines. Evening holiday parties and gatherings with friends and families increase our consumption of calories and change our schedules just enough to possibly reroute our otherwise wellintentioned habits.
In addition, as wonderful as the holidays are, many of us experience higher levels of stress during this time than can affect our health and wellbeing.
Below are easy strategies that can help you stay healthy throughout the holidays. Small changes can lead to big results. Try to add one or two of theses to your holidays this
year and track how you feel.
1. HYDRATE. HYDRATE. HYDRATE: We often forget this simple strategy to keep us healthy and water seems to be quickly replaced with other sweetened treats. One of the best ways to stay healthy this year is so simple — stay hydrated. A good strategy is to incorporate a glass of water in between every beverage to keep you hydrated while you are out. Also, drink a 16-ounce glass first thing in the morning and before you go to bed.
2. REMEMBER THE THREE MOUTHFUL RULE: Your taste buds will be satisfied after three mouthfuls. Eat that pumpkin pie, but try to limit your consumption to three intentional mouthfuls that allow you to savor your favorite treat, while not overindulging. As Benjamin Franklin once said: “All things in moderation.”
3. FOR EXERCISE, HAVE A ‘PLAN B’: We all have our favorite exercise routines. With the onslaught of social events our schedules get interrupted and might force us to change our routine. Create a plan B for the days that you know you will not be able to get your regular exercises and try new or different activities to help keep you on track to get your regular physical activity in.
4. THE SMALL PLATE STRATEGY: At a cocktail party grab a small plate and fill it up instead of hovering over or by the food and filling your mouth from the table. Having a small plate allows you to taste everything, and control your calories.
5. YOGA OR OTHER STRESS REDUCING ACTIVITIES: The holidays are a great time of year to explore or renew a yoga or mindfulness practice. As family and friends reconnect and enjoy each other, it is important to take time for ourselves in order to be fully present and engaged for the people in our lives. You cannot care for others if you first do not take care of yourself.
6. SELF-CARE: On the days and evenings that are available that you are not rushing and interacting, it is important to find time for ourselves to do the things that renew and rejuvenate us. Whether you love to read or enjoy a cup of tea or get your toes done, finding the moments in this season to indulge in your own personal self-care rituals will create spaciousness to help with the stress of the must do lists that can overwhelm us.