The holiday season is a time to celebrate and spend time with friends and family. For many of us, though, it often also becomes a time of worry about keeping up with our health and wellness plan. But the truth is that you can celebrate the holiday season and still focus on staying well. The foods you eat, how active you are, and how you manage your stress determine how your mind and body feels. What you can control is fueling your body with nutritious choices, sweating a little each day, setting aside some extra time to unwind and relax, and having self-love for the person you are. If you do these things it’s going to be very hard to feel like you failed this holiday season. Here are my tips on how to get started.
Focus on stress management
The holiday season can be a stressful time in part because of all of the added activities and commitments. Make a promise to yourself to make time each day to unwind and relax. This can mean different things for different people. Some examples include taking a bubble bath, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and visualization. You have to find what works for you and then let no barriers stand between doing it.
Tracking and self-monitoring
As the old saying goes, you can’t measure what you didn’t track. So make it easy to hold yourself accountable. Having self-monitoring in place for things like calories, activity, sleep, and stress can help you be more successful at tracking your progress. Some health and wellness trackers even have all of the measures you need built in with goal lines for easy up-to-the-second progress checks throughout the day.
Shift your focus
A big challenge for many during the holiday season is our beliefs about the things we are eating and drinking. For example, if you have a piece of your favorite pie at a party and then tell yourself a story about how bad it is because it’s unhealthy, you are robbing yourself of the enjoyment you wanted in the first place. Chances are you will also end up with self-loathing thoughts and guilt about food, which is BAD. If you want pie, eat it and eat it with no regret or guilt. Abandon negative thoughts and voices in your head and be positive and empowered about the choices you are making.
The most important part of the holiday season is spending time with those who you love, so focus on doing exactly that! Use the time you have to make connections and catch up rather than focusing solely on the food. My favorite trick is to plan ahead and have a filling snack before the party, which allows me to concentrate on conversation rather than indulging in extra food and drinks.
Do away with “last chance” thinking
Many adults struggle with thoughts and guilt of “last chance” food and drinks during the holiday season. Try not to think of anything you consume as a last chance; if you want to have it later in the season, just plan ahead. In fact, if there is something you really enjoy, make a note on the calendar to have it another time and look forward to a treat rather than overindulging because you have to wait another year to enjoy it.
Self-love and self-care
This holiday season, show yourself some love by being present with your mind, body, and surroundings and adding more intention into your day. By doing this, you will focus on what’s good for your heart and what makes you most happy. If you start to experience negative chatter in your mind or feelings of shame or guilt, then identify what is causing these feelings. Remind yourself that your self-worth isn’t based on anything unless you allow it to be.
At its core, the holiday season is intended to be a time of celebration, generosity, and gratitude. So make a promise to yourself to enjoy every moment, slow down and take time for yourself, and to do the best you can with each day given. I think you will find that by focusing on the positive ways to stay accountable, you will have a different view on aspects of the holiday season you once perceived as challenges!