Well friends, the weather is cooling down (here in San Diego at least!) and the holiday season is in full force. This time of year is full of joy and yuletide gatherings, but in the midst of it all, it can be easy to get carried away and lose sight of our well-being. In the spirit of being more mindful this holiday season, here are a few of our top tips for keeping your physical and mental health in check.
Make exercise a priority.
Your schedule might be packed to the brim with office holiday celebrations and ugly sweater parties, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about exercise. Thankfully, you don’t always need to carve out an hour at the gym to make that happen. Get creative! Take a 10 minute break twice each day and head outside for a brisk walk. Opt for the stairs versus the elevator every change you get. Park at the far end of the parking lot when shopping at the grocery store. Not only will these things help get your heart rate up, but exercise is amazing for your mental health and will help reduce your stress during this hectic time of year.
Reduce Your Alcohol Intake.
Not only does alcohol tend to have a lot of hidden calories, but it can also lower your inhibitions (aka self-control) and it definitely won’t stop you from eating more than you should. We all like to have fun and be social during the holidays, so if you do want to drink, opt for a healthier buzz by ordering Boochcraft high alcohol kombucha and don’t overdo it – Sticking to one or two drinks maximum is the simplest way to avoid taking in too many empty calories.
Don’t go Anywhere Hungry.
If you are heading out to go shopping or run errands, eat something before you leave the house. You definitely don’t want to find yourself starving in a mall food court – that’s a dangerous place to be. Set yourself up for success and avoid those dreaded hanger vibes by eating a healthy snack before you leave the house! We love bars or a small piece of organic fruit!
Eat Something Before you go to the Party.
On the same vein, you don’t want to head to your office holiday party hungry or you’ll find yourself gorging on pinwheels and charcuterie. We recommend eating a healthy meal or snack before going out, so you can fill up on nutrients before indulging on anything else. If you start at the party with food in your belly, you will be better set up to choose lighter options than reaching for the first thing you see when you’re starving (hello spinach dip!). Also, by starting with lower caloric foods, you have less room in your stomach to fill with treats.
Get Plenty of Sleep.
We cannot stress how important it is to get enough sleep. Don’t let all the social engagements keep you from getting the 7-9 hours of sleep you need each night. Sleep deprivation can cause brain fog, weight gain and lower your immune system, which makes you more likely to get sick during this cold and flu season. Make sure you set a bedtime each night and stick to it – your mind and body will thank you.
Focus on the Holidays, Not the Food.
Not everything should revolve around food, even though it sometimes feels like that around this time of year. Focus on making memories with your loved ones and make an effort to engage in activities that aren’t centered around food – take a long walk with a family member, go for a hike, go ice-skating, or play a board game. Start new traditions and celebrate old ones – the holidays shouldn’t be all about the food.
Bring Food to the Party.
That’s right! Bring healthy food to the party. You can still eat some of the delicious foods you look forward to this time of year, but choose healthy swaps to make them lighter. Consider using cauliflower or sweet potatoes in place of white potatoes, use broth instead of butter, and choose dishes that are heavy in vegetables instead of processed ingredients. Read about more healthy holiday food swaps here.
Drink Plenty of Water.
This should be a no brainer – you hear it all the time, “Drink more water!” You just can’t deny the health benefits – water helps maximize physical performance, energy levels, brain function, prevents headaches and helps with digestion. Not to mention, water will help keep you full and satiated whereas many times we mistake being thirsty for being hungry. Avoid that by drinking plenty of water and you will be grateful you did the next morning when you feel hydrated and refreshed instead of dried out and tired.
Practice Mindful Eating.
It is okay to enjoy some treats here and there – this is a wonderful time of year and you shouldn’t completely restrict yourself, but it is all about moderation. Eat one cookie, not five; Enjoy one plate of food, not multiple; and stick to the things you like – don’t eat something just because it’s on the table and you’ll hurt Aunt Karen’s feelings for not touching her fruit cake. That is no excuse to stuff your face with things you don’t even enjoy. Mindful eating is about listening to your body, slowing down and taking the time to savor each bite, and to stop eating when you’re full. You don’t want to overdo it or you’ll pay for it later.
It truly is a special time of year and you should enjoy it! Life is about balance, so savor some indulgences and don’t get too stressed about eating all the right things. However, make an effort to fill yourself up on healthier choices so you can put your best foot forward this holiday season. Remember to focus on your loved ones and come up with fun activities to do instead of hovering around the hors d’oeuvres the entire whole time. The holidays will be gone before you know it and you’ll be working on your New Year’s Resolutions, so you don’t want to regret this time by focusing on food instead of family. We hope you enjoyed this article and it helped give you some feasible tips to stay healthy during this time. Cheers!