Healthy for the Holidays

While the wintertime months can certainly fly by in a hurry, they can leave effects that linger well into the new year. It’s important to remember that continuing healthy habits and managing stress are also important even during the holidays!

Here are six tips to help you stay healthy and happy for the season.

Do Less, Live More
In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in all the things we believe we “must” do. From holiday party appearances, to door-busting sales, to cookie swaps, to office gatherings, and everything in between! It’s important that you’re also thinking of yourself during the holidays. Take the time to rest when you need it and get plenty of sleep. Don’t let your typical routine get run-over in the name of busyness.

Stay Active
Would you believe that inactivity, more than overindulgence, is the primary contributor to holiday weight gain? Don’t skip your usual exercise routine during the winter holidays. Instead, keep on track with your usual level of physical activity. You might even lose some weight before it’s resolution time!

Be Picky
For some of us, the treats that surround the holiday season are a must. We’ll sacrifice an extra 3 hours on the treadmill for a slice of Aunt Patsy’s pecan pie, right? The point here is that if you’re going to indulge (and this doesn’t mean overindulge), make it count. Don’t waste those calories on store-bought Christmas cookies you could get any old place. If you’re banking some wintertime calories to be able to spend on holiday treats, make sure those treats are special.

Phones Down
The constant “ding” of emails, social media updates, game reminders, and other alerts from your cell phone can actually put you in a constant state of fight-or-flight with adrenaline hitting your system every time you hear the chime. When you’re spending time with loved ones especially, make sure your phone isn’t at the center of your attention. Save yourself the stress and be more in the moment with your friends and family.

Warm Up
Hot food, and especially hot drinks, can do more than just warm you up in the winter. They can actually help improve your mood. That mug of hot herbal tea will trigger the release of endorphins – the natural chemicals in your body that encourage feelings of happiness and well-being. Share a hot beverage with a friend and enjoy a good, long chat.

Focus on Fun, Not Food
We tend to associate holidays with food – turkey on Thanksgiving, cookies on Christmas, chocolates on Valentine’s Day, etc. And while Christmas Day just wouldn’t be the same without Uncle Vincent’s sweet potato casserole, this doesn’t mean that food is the reason for the get-togethers. Try to encourage togetherness beyond the meal table. Trim the tree, hang some lights, sing a few songs, dust off the board games, or find a park to throw some frisbee. Focus on making memories more than getting full.