Staying Healthy and Centered During the Holidays

Dec 01, 2022

Now that we’re getting together and traveling more, this holiday season will likely be busier than the past two years. That means more spending, more running around, more eating, and more stress. It also means more guilt. 

When we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and what our holidays are going to be like, that’s when things get out of balance. Make a commitment to yourself this year to keep things simple so you can stay healthy and centered. 

Here are a few tips on how to keep things simple this holiday season: 

Enjoy Yourself (Ditch the Guilt)

I used to think that pumpkin pie, cheesy potatoes, chocolate treats, and all the other holiday foods I loved were “bad.” Eating what I wanted at Thanksgiving or Christmas always felt like I had to make up for it later. I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as “bad” or “good” when it comes to diet. Some foods have more nutritional value than others, but you’re not “bad” when you want to eat something with less nutritional value. When we put a moral value on food, we feel shame and guilt. 

Allowing yourself to eat whatever you want actually helps you feel more in control and empowered instead of shameful and powerless. This season, try to simply enjoy yourself without going overboard. And watch out for how you speak about indulging during the holidays. Stay away from statements like, “I think I gained 10 lbs after that meal,” or “I’m going to be sorry about eating that pie later.”

Make Time to Rest (Don’t Overbook Yourself)

There’s a lot going on during the holidays: decorating, cooking, gifting, get-togethers—and you might find that your calendar fills up fast. It’s easy to get overbooked. Always going, going, going could be a recipe for getting sick and tired. 

Be sure to make time to rest and take breaks. Even taking 5-10 minutes to sit in meditation can have a big impact on your overall well-being. If you’re so crazy, busy that you don’t even have 5 minutes then stop what you’re doing and take three deep breaths. 

Getting plenty of sleep is just as important: it will improve your mood and energy. Plus, sleep can help you make better food decisions. Cravings (especially sugar cravings) can be worsened by lack of sleep, so if you’re not getting a good 7-9 hours, that gingerbread cookie or pumpkin pie could sound a lot more appetizing. The holidays are a time of laughter and family, but it’s also good to make time to rest and restore.  

Move Your Body (At Least Once a Day)

I have stopped using the word, “exercise,” because frankly, it feels like too much work. Once I reached the age of 50, I found that I want to do as little work as possible…but I also want the result. 

All that said, the bottom line is all you need to do is move your body at least once a day. I know that during the holidays it seems virtually impossible to squeeze in a work out. So my answer is: don’t. Just move.

Anything you can do to move your body for at least 15-20 minutes a day is better than not doing it. This could be taking a walk (by the way, walking is an excellent way to move your body), vacuuming the floor, doing some stretches (or even better do some yoga), turn on your favorite tunes and take a dance break. No matter what kind or movement you do, make a promise to yourself that you’ll do it once a day. 

Practice Gratitude (Helps You Stay Present)

Have you ever noticed that you plan, decorate, shop, bake, and wrap your way through the holidays and it seems to go by in a blur? You spend all this time doing stuff but you don’t really remember what happened on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or on New Year's Day. 

You can slow time down by practicing gratitude. One of the best things about this practice is it helps you stay in the present moment, even when there’s a lot going on. So when your kitchen counters are full of flour, sprinkles, and frosting…or when you can’t find the tape as you’re wrapping gifts…or when you’re standing in line to buy that perfect gift, take a moment to be thankful that you have such a full life. It will help you feel less overwhelmed and bring you back to what really matters. 


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