Take a minute to step aside from the holiday swirl of your life right now.
Read this blog post as a reminder to slow down and carve out some time and space to truly nourish yourself this holiday season. At this time of year more than ever, we tend to abandon our own self care and goals, in the name of getting it all done, perfectionism and even holiday cheer. But we can easily find ourselves losing touch, running out of steam and not supporting ourselves nutritionally or spiritually. There is a certain kind of balance that needs to happen this time of year. We need to care for ourselves in the midst of all the food and the frenzy. To support our health so we can look and feel our best, focus our energies on the people and projects that matter, and then to enjoy and celebrate! The holidays can lead to spiraling out of control and falling out of healthy habits, but they don’t have to! You can enjoy yourself, live it up and still stay on track, it just takes some effort and a little planning. You’re worth it.
Keep the holidays magical by prioritizing your wellness. After all, who wants to head into a new year feeling sick and exhausted? You can actually feel better by the end of the holiday season with a little focus, intention and self-care.
Here are some tips and reminders!
Plan for the new year now
How do you want to feel heading into the new year? I doubt exhausted, bloated and depleted are on the list. Don’t sabotage your health by using this season as an excuse to treat your body poorly. Think of how you want to feel come January and begin working on it now! Write the reasons down! Keeping this front of mind throughout the holidays will help keep you on track.
Support your body nutritionally
While some holiday indulgence is expected, keep it under control! The holidays are not an excuse to throw away your healthy habits. Keep the nourishing foods front and center, then indulge! Food is fuel. Maximize nutrient dense foods such as veggies, fruits, high quality proteins, and healthy fats (nuts/seeds/avocado/coconut) for high energy. Not only do whole foods provide the energy boosting nutrition you need to get you through hectic shopping sprees or extreme holiday decorating, but by eating whole foods, you will naturally “crowd out” energy draining, nutritionally deficient junk foods and sweets. Choose the good foods, first!
Another tip for fueling up: Keep your blood sugar stable!! Blood sugar spikes lead to blood sugar dips, which means low energy, cravings, mood swings and worse. Always make sure you include protein, fat and fiber at each meal and snack! For example: an apple with nut butter, a salad with lots of veggies, avocado and shredded chicken or hard boiled egg.
Plan to party
Don’t rely on willpower! Eat something with protein and fat before you go and take a healthy dish with you. Don’t try to “save up” your calories for a party during the day, because it will backfire. Hunger and deprivation followed by overeating wreaks havoc with your blood sugar, your digestive and hormonal systems, and can lead to exhaustion, moodiness, bloating, headaches, constipation, and weight gain. You will get too hungry and set yourself up for some major overindulgence come party time. If you nourish your body in a healthy way the day of the party, and eat some protein right before you go, you will still get to enjoy, but will eat less and feel better! If you’re drinking alcohol, choose wisely. Stay clear of the sugary mixed drinks and drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol.
Don’t eat to please
Just because everyone else is overeating holiday treats doesn’t mean you have to. Peer (whether family, friends or coworkers) pressure around food is a very real thing and a lack of support or understanding can be a real challenge for people trying to make dietary changes. If you’ve changed your diet and lifestyle (or are trying to), but others around you haven’t, it can be very difficult. But if you don’t want it, don’t eat it. Don’t sabotage your goals trying to please people by eating their homemade treats or favorite foods, if you truly don’t want them. Politely say no or “maybe later”. You don’t have to justify yourself. You are in control of your own choices.
Build a healthier holiday plate
The holidays are for celebrating and food brings us together in a special way. Enjoy your special holiday meals, appreciating every ingredient, truly tasting every flavor and eating the foods that bring you joy, but there are ways to be healthier about it. One trick is to fill your plate with the healthiest foods first, so that your most essential nutritional needs are met and you’re satiated. You’re then apt to make better choices. Once you retrain your mind to gravitate toward healthier options, you’ll be surprised how satisfying the healthiest foods can be, even at a party. And dessert? Sometimes just couple of bites of a rich dessert will do the trick. Lingering over a couple indulgent bites allows you to still enjoy the flavor and texture without overdoing it with sugar and empty calories. Did you know that the gratification you get out of eating a special treat drops significantly after just 1 or 2 bites? It’s a scientific fact!
Get back on track with some daily detox tips
If you do over-indulge, bounce back by putting some or my favorite daily detox tips into action.
- Drink lemon water. Water flushes toxins from the system and transports nutrients where they need to go. The kidneys rely on water to remove toxins from the blood and every other organ relies on water as well. Lemon helps keep the body in an alkalized state.
- Eat lots of greens. Greens help filter toxins and purify the blood, strengthen your immune system, improve the function of your detox organs, increase circulation and reduce inflammation in the body.
- Move your body. Toxins get released through sweat!
- Detox bath. The most relaxing way to detox your body! Detox baths help naturally pull out toxins from the body and boost your immune system, Try this soothing detox bath “recipe” Add to hot bath: 1 cup of magnesium (or Epsom) salts, ½ cup baking soda, ½ cup sea salt, + your favorite essential oils. Soak for 20 minutes.
Drink more. H2O!
Hydration is the most basic and important form of nourishment, but often the most neglected, especially when it’s cold. Did you know that the gnawing hunger you sometimes feel throughout the day is not actually hunger, but dehydration? Those headaches and lethargy too? Dehydration. Most of us go through our days in a constant state of dehydration without realizing it. Your goal should be to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water. Hydration should also be your first step each morning. Drink at least 16 oz. of water before you do anything else in the morning to rehydrate after sleeping and to rev up your digestion. Drink water at room temp or even warm to avoid getting cold. You can also drink herbal teas (caffeinated beverages of any kind do not count- they are dehydrating!)
Keep up your workouts
Schedule them if you have to! It is so easy for the day to slip away, but moving your body during this season is more important than ever, so make it a priority, especially if you’re going to be indulging at a party or holiday dinner. You’ll feel better, more confident and more able to enjoy things if you keep up your workouts. Not only will it help you burn the extra calories you consume over the holidays, but it is critical for keeping stress levels down and keeping your immune system strong.
Cmon, you know you need to. Endless hours of internet shopping is taking it’s toll. Take a break. And not just from the shopping, but from the scrolling. Your FB friends will still be on there tomorrow. Take a day off to enjoy undistracted holiday time. Sundays or special holidays are great for this! Turn off the notifications too, because every ding, or knock or chirp, comes with a distraction. Be fully present with the ones you love, device free, distraction free. You’re not missing anything by logging off, but you are missing A LOT in the distraction. It’s so important for us to have periods of time when we’re not interacting with technology, when our minds are free to wander and explore, when we’re able to simply be present with ourselves and our surroundings. The after hours work, tweets or Instagram updates will always be there but these precious holiday moments with loved ones won’t. Be present. Renew your connection to yourself and others.
Make time for self care
Ask yourself what you need. An infrared sauna? Time for play? A restorative yoga class? Coffee with a friend? Carve out some time for it!
Daily gratitude check
“It’s not the happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy.” There is so much research out there on the benefits of a simple gratitude practice. Shifting away from stress and toward gratitude has a powerful effect. It can infuse positivity into even the worst of days. What and who are you most thankful for? Just taking even a couple minutes to shift your focus with a daily gratitude check will increase your sense of well-being immediately! You can journal your thoughts or just make a quick list somewhere!
Remember the “reason for the season”.
Commonly this time of year, we get so caught up in the shopping, obligations and rush of the holidays that we become overstressed and exhausted and lose focus on what’s important. Stress is a joy-stealer. Keep the reasons we celebrate front of mind. Focus on family, friends and faith rather than the stuff and the to-do lists. Keep it all in perspective. Be mindful and meditative. Choose joy!
PS- While we hope you’ll care for yourself well over the holiday, a reset in January is never a bad idea! Start the new year off right and save the date for our 14 to Fully Functional Winter Reboot to both nourish and restore after the holidays have come and gone! This will be a fun group program beginning January 10. Join our newsletter list to be kept up to date with all the happenings!