It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the holiday season! Everyone is looking forward to enjoying spending time with loved ones and taking part in the festivities. On the other hand, how do we plan on staying healthy when there’s an abundance of baked goods, buttery carbs and other temptations? Not to mention the dreaded holiday stress. Read on to learn how to survive the holiday season and prioritize your health!
Control your stress levels
While the holidays bring a lot of cheer, there’s also an increase in stress, and a recent study shows that a staggering 88 percent of Americans are feeling it! There are many causes of this, such as the stress of buying people presents, planning a Christmas party or traveling for the holidays. Luckily, there are small ways you can prevent extra stress and anxiety. First, try to plan ahead when it comes to Christmas shopping and travel. Start creating your list early and purchase items during online sales to save some money. If you’re traveling for the holidays, make sure your flights and accommodations are planned out in advance so that you’re not scrambling at the last minute. Hosting a holiday party? Start planning earlier than usual by setting up the menu and listing supplies to ensure you don’t take too much on. Ask your friends and family for extra help with bringing food or setting things up. Lastly, only commit to as many holiday parties and get-togethers as you feel comfortable with— your future self will thank you.
Avoid the snack attack
Holiday parties always mean copious amounts of delicious sweets and treats. It’s alright to indulge a little, but try to fill your stomach most with the foods that hold more nutrition. Some healthier options are carrots, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, turkey and other lean meats. If you think your party will be lacking healthy foods, considering bringing your own dish! Aside from sweets, another huge offender is alcohol. There are countless negative health effects of alcohol such as liver disease, higher risk of depression/anxiety, higher risk of cancer, and lapses in judgment. It’s alright to have a few celebratory drinks but try not to overdo it. Be sure to take into consideration how many holiday parties you’ll be attending. If you’re going to several, try making a pact with yourself to only drink at one of them. And while limiting alcohol intake, make sure to hydrate more than ever. It’s easy to forget about drinking water, but it can do so much in controlling your hunger.
Use the buddy system
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a lot easier when you have a partner to keep you motivated. Research shows that having a fit buddy could increase your workout time and intensity by as much as 200 percent. The holiday season is the most challenging time for keeping your fitness goals on track, so you’ll need a buddy now more than ever. Reach out to any of your friends, family members or colleagues who might have similar fitness goals in mind. Once you find your buddy, make plans to work out with each other a few times a week. You can also keep each other on track by updating each other with what foods you’re eating. Sharing your wins are important, but also make sure to share your failures. While tracking your health, having an “all-or-nothing” mentality is a surefire way to lose motivation and abandon your goals.
Stick to a routine
It’s exciting to be on holiday break from school or work, but we often forget about our health and fitness routines. It’s still possible to take advantage of the time off to relax and spend more time with your loved ones while also maintaining a routine. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create a good morning routine and complete it before any holiday festivities. Choose an activity such as yoga, pilates, a workout at the gym, riding a bike, etc., and allot yourself approximately one hour every morning for it. Exercising in the morning has amazing health benefits such as giving you more energy, improving your mood, improving your sleep and reducing stress. A critical part of your morning routine is having breakfast. While some may think skipping breakfast can support weight loss, studies show it may raise the risk of heart disease. Having a good breakfast in the morning will support your energy levels. Use quick and easy recipes that will fill you up, such as oatmeal with collagen protein powder and fruit. A big breakfast will also make you less susceptible to overeating at holiday festivities.
As we ease into the holiday season, keep these tips in mind for prioritizing a healthy lifestyle. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect, as additional stress is the last thing you need. Just remember to set realistic goals and expectations for yourself and hold yourself accountable to them. Most importantly, be kind to yourself and have fun this holiday season!