Your Holiday Survival Kit: 7 Tips to a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season

Your Holiday Survival Kit: 7 Tips to a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season

Posted by Lori Shemek; December 1, 2013

As if managing the usual juggle of working, meeting family obligations, eating a healthy diet and more, there is now the addition of the holiday season pressure to feel happy and joyous.   But in reality, many people are stressed and are not taking care of their health.  The much desired holiday ‘bliss’ can be ever-elusive.  There are, however, actions you can implement to create a happier and healthier holiday season this year.

Here are 7 tips to enjoying the holiday season without the cookie meltdown:

1. ANTICIPATE OBSTACLES DURING THE SEASON
Be prepared for what may arise by reflecting on the stress you dealt with in prior years.  Did you over-schedule last year?  Make a concerted effort to implement your pro-active solutions..you are no longer a victim of your circumstances.

2. EXERCISE
The holiday ‘busy-ness’ can affect our health and quality of life.  By scheduling your exercise, honoring the appointment as you would honor a holiday shopping outing with your friend.  Exercise is the number one stress reduction technique as it triggers the ‘feel-good’ chemical serotonin –important especially during the holiday season.  Exercise has been found to reduce anger, tension, fatigue and confusion.

3. EAT NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS
Eat nutrient dense foods. Encourage optimal health throughout the holiday by adding in every meal, nutritious foods such as lots of veggies,  healthy fats from nuts, fatty fish, seeds avocados and olive oil.  Always add a lean protein to every meal and nutritious carbohydrates such as brown rice or quinoa.

4. REDUCE YOUR REFINED CARBS
Reduce (ideally avoid) your refined carbohydrate consumption.  These types of carbs such as sugar, white flour, white rice and processed foods, to name a few, are one of the top inflammatory foods.  They create an imbalance in blood sugar that sets you up for overindulgence in all of the season’s treats.  Focus instead on healthy nutrition and know that you will be staring these foods in the face this holiday.  It is fine to have these treats, just ensure you choose only a few treats and savor them.  This brings me to Tip # 5…

5. EAT BEFORE YOU GO
Before any holiday party or event that will involve food, prepare to face the temptations by eating lean protein (e.g. – cheese stick, whey protein drink, hard boiled egg) and a healthy fat (e.g. – nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut oil added to yogurt) 20 minutes before you leave for the event.   This will stabilize your blood sugar and ensure you are less likely to go overboard on the treats.

6. DO THE OPPOSITE
If you are feeling down, do something that is directly in opposition to how you feel.  If you are stressed, try deep breathing.  If you are feeling sad, engage in any activity that makes you feel better.  Are people irritating you?  Act with kindness and compassion towards them.  The more you understand someone, the more you can sympathize with them. The more you sympathize with them, the more you don’t take it so personally.

7. DROP THE PERFECTION
Drop the perfection.  Understand that nothing is ‘perfection’ and that the stress of trying to create that idyllic holiday scene will only create anxiety for you.  Anticipate that if things do not go smoothly .. that it is okay.  Be as gentle on yourself as you would a child. Always remember..this is a time to spend time with loved ones, create new memories and to ..not sweat the small stuff.

To Your Health,
~Lori