With cookie swaps, cocktail parties, or special meals with loved ones filling up your calendar, and pressure to have ‘the most wonderful time of the year,’ the holidays can be more stressful than fun. Staying up late to shop online, wrap gifts, and prepare meals leaves you begging for sleep.
It’s no secret that our society is more stressed out and unhealthy than ever before and the holiday season can add to the stress. Although it’s supposed to be a treasured time with our friends and family we can find ourselves burned out and dragging instead of enjoying the season.
However, a few simple shifts in your holiday happenings can help you feel your best. By following a few tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the season while putting your health and wellness front and center.
1. Drink plenty of water. Aim for at least 8 glasses or 64 ounces per day. Hydration is an important part of staying healthy during the holidays and any time of year. The benefits of drinking plenty of water are well-known. Water keeps you hydrated, can help combat dry skin, and helps you eat less by feeling fuller. Get a colorful glass or stainless steel water bottle and keep it with you. You can also download apps to remind you when it’s time to hydrate.
2. Have a healthy meal or snack before parties. We all know holiday parties are full of sweets and rich foods that probably aren’t on your usual meal plan. You can easily ignore those cookies taunting you from across the room if you’re already full from real, whole foods. Plan ahead to eat a big filling salad or hearty soup before the party. Then when you’re at the parties you can indulge in one or two snacks instead of loading up a plate with full-sized servings of everything.
3. Share healthy foods. If appropriate, offer to bring a healthy dish to socially distant parties or gatherings. You could bring the fruit or vegetable tray, a festive salad, some healthy cookies or this great Pecan Pie recipe. By doing so, you know you’ll have something light to snack on.
4. Limit yourself to indulging in 1 glass of a special drink. The parties you attend are bound to feature some special drink. Mulled wine, cider, eggnog, punch, and champagne are all good in moderation. However, more than one serving can quickly add up in calories and added sugars. Allow yourself to indulge in 1 glass of something special per party, and sip water, coffee, or hot tea the rest of the evening.
5. Get plenty of rest. Packed schedules, hosting family and friends, and holiday to-do lists often mean less sleep. However, the holiday season is probably the most important time of year to get a full night’s rest! It’s well-known that skipping sleep can negatively impact your mood, cognitive skills, metabolism, energy, and immune system. Get to bed early enough to get 7-8 hours of sleep, unless you have a special event. You deserve to enjoy the holidays, and that’s hard to do when you’re tired and stressed out.
6. Exercise for at least 15 minutes a day. Part of staying healthy during the holidays is committing to get some daily exercise, in whatever form. Here are some great ways to fit in a quick exercise:
7. Boost your immune system with IV Nutrient Therapy. The holidays can leave you feeling run down and stressed. There are so many illnesses around this time of year. IV Therapy can help you maintain better health and wellness. Benefits may include an increased appetite, higher energy levels and decreased effects of chronic illness.
8. Set aside time for yourself. During the holidays, the focus is often on others, but denying yourself some quality downtime can lead to more stress. Commit to setting aside 30 minutes a day for yourself. Put your phone away and do what relaxes you. Take a bath, read, listen to music, paint, meditate, do yoga, exercise, etc. Don’t think about what’s on your to-do list. Think about what’s going great in your life and what your hopes are for the new year.
9. Give yourself grace when things don’t go as planned. Staying healthy during the holidays also includes your mental health. Don’t hold yourself to such a high standard that you are terrified of failing. Be kind to yourself when you mess up. Self-criticism will only cause more stress and keep you from enjoying the season. If something in your holiday plans goes awry, smile and move on. Working endlessly to the ‘perfect holiday’ isn’t worth sacrificing your self-esteem, mental health, or spiritual well-being.
The holidays are full of opportunities to be with the ones we love and celebrate togetherness. It is possible to do that without sacrificing your health and well-being goals. At Integrative Health Matters, we are passionate about treating the whole patient, all year long.
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