The holiday season is upon us once again. It happens every year at this time, yet we often times we find ourselves surprised and unprepared, which can lead to high stress levels. Want to make it through the holiday season without adding additional pounds or regret to deal with January? Have a plan of action. You can decrease the amount of stress at the holidays by having a firm plan in place and sticking to it.
First up: Thanksgiving. Yes, there will be lots of delicious food choices, but when it comes down do it, it is just one meal. For the most part, a traditional Thanksgiving meal can have some healthy choices: lean turkey, sweet potatoes, various vegetables and lots of salads.
- If you choose a base of healthy options, add a taste of some higher calorie choices and choose to not stuff yourself fuller than the bird, you can get by on this holiday virtually guilt free. Enjoy the whole, unprocessed foods that make this holiday special in the first place.
- Want to decrease the guilt all together? Run or walk a local 5K before the big feast. Many are charitable events that will help you feel good on the inside as well as on the outside.
Then comes the numerous holiday parties on the calendar. Enjoy these as a time to catch up with family, friends and acquaintances that you don’t normally get to see instead of focusing on the food and drink.
- Plan ahead by eating a good base of healthy foods before you head out and you will be less tempted by the hors d’oeuvres and desserts.
- Drinking a glass of water between cocktails is also a great plan for decreasing your consumption of empty calories and also for fewer foggy, headache filled mornings after.
- Make it guilt free by planning to get a workout in before the event and make a deal with yourself to only allow for one drink/dessert for every mile you run or set of lunges you complete.
Additional ways to keep a healthy balance for the upcoming weeks include:
- Take care of yourself first. Plan to get at least 7 hours of sleep as often as possible to ease crabbiness and irritability. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep colds at bay. Find some quiet time to yourself to relax and unwind. You can sometimes get more done, and feel better doing it, when you are calm and in control.
- Stick to your current workout schedule as closely as possible. Starting over in January is hard and discouraging. Also, exercise is a great stress buster and can help you keep on top of your game when there are additional tasks on the ‘to do’ list.
- That brings up a great point: have a ‘to do’ list. Prioritize activities, eliminate time-sucking non-essentials and cross off items when completed to feel a greater sense of control and accomplishment. Lists on your smart phone are especially handy since you usually carry it with you and can plan your errand route efficiently and can cross things off as you go.
- Remember what it’s all about, keep things in perspective and be truly present. Time spent with your children making not-so-beautiful cookies may be a better option than staying up late after tucking them into bed to produce eye-popping confections.
- Allow yourself to be more than what you can produce. There is no prize at the end for accomplishing the most errands in a day or volunteering at the most charitable events. You are worthy by just being you. There is no need to knock yourself out to prove a point.