The holiday season between Halloween and New Years is great for celebrating with family and friends, but don’t throw caution to the wind and indulge all you want because come January, you will most likely regret it!
I say this from experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can enjoy the holiday season AND stay healthy mentally, physically and financially so when the New Year rolls around, you aren’t struggling to lose the extra pounds or pay off the massive credit card bills that you chose not to think about in November and December.
Here are my top five tips for getting through the holidays so you can start the New Year off right:
- Plan Ahead. I know what you are thinking. Who has time to plan? You do! If you really want to manage your weight, health and budget over the holidays, you must think ahead. Party later? Eat light and make healthy choices during the day, but don’t go to the party hungry. Have an organic yogurt or banana smoothie before you go. Plan ahead how much you can spend for gifts, then buy a visa gift card for that amount and don’t spend a dime more! Make a list of your “must do’s”, then get out your calendar and make a plan for getting them done.
- Practice Moderation! Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to over indulge. Save your calories for those special treats. What are your favorite foods during the holidays? Have those, but in moderation. Skip the extra cookie that isn’t your favorite. Skip the 2nd glass of eggnog. Eat half of the pumpkin pie you love and savor each bite. Choose only your favorite appetizers at the party, but focus on the people instead.
- Stay Calm. It’s easy to get stressed during the holidays with deadlines and expectations. Find your balance between work, home and fun. Be sure to carve out time for some self care and go get a manicure, go for a long walk or take long baths.
- Move! Too many times I’ve heard people say, “I’ll get back to my fitness program after the holidays”. Don’t fall into the trap. It’s in November and December that you need to be active more than ever! Not only will it help to offset the extra calories, but it will help reduce the added stress. Find ways to fit in activity while enjoying the holidays with family and friends. How about a game of touch football, a holiday stroll downtown to see the lights, or dancing to your favorite holiday music? Can you squeeze in just 10 minutes a day in the morning before work? Try this app, it’s a 7 minute workout you can do at home.
- Cultivate Joy. Be as present and mindful as you can. When you have a joyful experience, really savor it! Love holiday decorating? Try to stay present and enjoy it fully. Be as present with your family and friends as you can during social gatherings. Savor their joy when opening a gift. Really take it in and feel it. You can even say to yourself, “This is what joy feels like, I am so grateful for this experience!” The more you “feel into” the joyful moments, the more you will notice other joyful experiences to savor. What you are doing by noticing, and then internalizing the feelings of joy is rewiring your brain for more happiness. This in turn improves your immune system, decreases negative moods and increases over all well being.
Debra Betterly, PhD is an Integrative Wellness & Life Coach and Metaphysician whose passion is to help women expand their health, joy and purpose in midlife and beyond.
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