The holidays are a busy time for everyone. From shopping to cooking to holiday parties to family events, our schedules get packed and sometimes we forget to take time for ourselves. If you want to keep your stress levels down and your energy levels up (get that glow going!), try implementing some of these tips and see how you feel. I bet you’ll notice that you’re enjoying the holidays more rather than feeling run down or drained. I know this post is a little late, but December is always full of holiday events. I hope you enjoy the rest of 2013. Cheers to a glowing holiday season!
- Remember to breathe – Even when you feel like you’re running around non-stop, consciously take a long deep breath whenever you have a moment of waiting, i.e. while standing at the crosswalk, waiting for the elevator, stopped at a red light, waiting at the copy machine, when you’re in line for coffee, and so on. Sneaking those deep breaths in throughout the day can do wonders for your stress levels!
- Get your exercise any way you can – Power-walk while gift shopping, go for a run on your lunch break, take a long hike or bike ride before cooking your family meal, meet up with friends to go dancing, have a gym date with your partner, or my personal favorite – create family exercise traditions. Every holiday, my family and I start our day with a yoga class, weights class, or by taking our dogs to the river for a long walk. It helps us feel energized for the rest of the day and we have fun exercising together!
- Sleep!!! – You just have to prioritize it. Ask yourself, “is [whatever this thing is] that I’m staying up late for worth it tomorrow when I will spend the day feeling like a zombie?” I’d say 9 out of 10 times, whatever that thing is won’t be worth losing sleep over. To help you fall asleep easier, start a nighttime ritual like sipping a cup of herbal tea, taking a hot bath, or reading a book in bed.
- Eat in balance -
- When we’re busy, especially during the holidays when there’s treats all around us, we tend to go after what’s easy. Make the healthy choice the easy choice by making sure you have some nutritious options in your fridge ready to eat and try to plan your meals ahead of time so you feel in control of your eating habits (rather than famished, eating everything in sight, and then feeling bad afterwards – yes, we are all guilty of this, but planning and prepping helps us avoid the trap).
- I recommend eating a small meal (one that has protein, fiber, and healthy fat) 5-6 times/day to keep your blood sugar steady. It’s also a good idea to start the day with a filling breakfast (oatmeal, eggs, healthy pancakes, or smoothies are good choices) to set yourself up to make healthier choices the rest of the day.
- Bring healthy snacks with you so you’re not tempted to grab a quick fix somewhere. Nuts, fruit, bars (my favorites are Larabars, Kind bars, and That’s It bars which are made of whole foods), and cut up veggies are good portable options.
- Try to use healthier swaps for ingredients or enjoy treats made of whole ingredients rather than the artificial, processed types. Check out my Healthy Gluten-free/Dairy-free Treats Pinterest Board for recipes or the Dessert Freedom Cookbook that I reviewed recently (the Cocoa Caramel Bars are incredible!)
- Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables – drink more green smoothies and juices, plan your meals around produce, and have fruits and vegetables as snacks.
- If you’ll be going to a holiday party:
- eat beforehand so you’re not famished when you get there
- pack your own snacks if you need to (if you know there won’t be a lot of options for you) or bring a dish to share
- have a little of your favorites, but be mindful of each bite and pay attention to portion sizes. Enjoy it! Life is about balance.
- be mindful about drinking – alcohol tends to lower our gauge of how much/what we are eating which can lead to eating more than we want
- Travel healthy – Bring healthy snacks, hydrate, and research healthy options near where you’ll be staying. I have a detailed post with travel tips coming next week, so stay tuned for more travel tips!
- Get centered - Take time for yourself every day. Yes, we are all very busy, but if we don’t take at least a few minutes for ourselves, we will wear ourselves down quickly. Figure out what you can move to another day and use that time for yourself. Whether it’s a quick nap, a long bath, a 5 minute meditation, a nice glass of red wine, a massage, or whatever you like – savor it. While they holidays are a joyful, fun time, they can also be draining, so make sure to take care of yourself, too!
- Lastly, try to be realistic about your limits and listen to your body – Be realistic about how much you can actually do (and enjoy) without pushing your body too hard whether it’s around socializing, exercise, food, or elsewhere. Listen to your body and know that you can say no to things that may be too much for you.
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