The holidays are a time to indulge, whether it’s on meaningful gifts for loved ones or an elaborate light display for your home. And it’s hard not to indulge in goodies and a drink or two, be it eggnog or wine.
If you’re committed to getting or staying healthy, those same holiday indulgences can spoil your progress. Don’t get discouraged—we have some helpful ways to stay naturally healthy this holiday season.
1. Watch your diet.
For many, the holiday season is basically six weeks of being surrounded by food. It starts with Thanksgiving dinner, followed by about four weeks of baked goods and other comfort foods, and finally ending with a lavish dinner to ring in the New Year. Many folks already gained weight during the pandemic thanks to spending weeks, if not months, quarantined at home.
The holidays are perhaps not the best time to get back on track. However, it’s essential to at least attempt to be mindful. For starters, try to stick to healthier eating. Moderation and portion control are critical.
Balance the “naughty” and “nice” foods. Drink water rather than sugary drinks. Watch your caffeine intake. Take a dietary supplement with some guidance from your counselors to ensure you’re getting your daily dose of the right nutrients. We’re hearing a great deal about Vitamin D these days and its value contributing to boosting immune systems.
2. Exercise regularly.
Colder weather means shorter days and less time outside, so make the most of it. Take every chance you have to get out into nature. Taking a brisk walk or jog can get your heart pumping, give you an energy boost, and also help keep your weight in check. It can benefit you mentally and emotionally, as well.
Take a break from your commitments and obligations, even if just for a few moments or short intervals during the day. Refresh and regroup. Nothing restores like nature! Breathe in the fresh air and take in the natural beauty around you. If you practice grounding, try it outdoors in the winter by using proper grounding shoes.
Make the winter elements work for you. Touch the snow with your bare hands. If the weather is too extreme, bring your practice inside. Sit near the hearth of a stone or brick fireplace and put your hands on it (not too close to the flames, of course!).
Or buy one of the many grounding products on the market, including grounding footwear, and try them inside if you have concrete or unsealed tile floors.
3. Limit your alcohol consumption.
Holiday gatherings and alcohol often go hand-in-hand for many. Be mindful of your consumption. Enjoy a cocktail or two and try not to overindulge. Too much alcohol can not only cause headaches, sluggishness, and nausea, and it can impair your judgment and cognition. (We don’t need to tell you alcohol and driving don’t mix). Drinking too much alcohol can also make you pack on the pounds.
Plenty of studies have shown the many benefits of unplugging from electronics. You will sleep and wake up better, be more efficient at home and work, be more engaged and alert during in-person conversations and meetings.
Going offline will also create a clear boundary between “work time” and “home time,” even if you’ve been working at home for several months. It’s not good to be accessible for work at all times. It’s also healthy to take a break from social media.
Consider and redirect how you spend your time if some adjustment is welcomed. Focus on your family, read a book, dabble in hobbies, decorate your home, or do other activities you may have been putting off but remain on your wish list. You’ll find you have more hours in your day than you thought!
6. Get enough sleep.
Besides diet and exercise, proper rest is essential for good health. Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can lead to a host of problems, including exacerbating heart disease, contributing to high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and depression.
Disrupted sleep has reportedly been a common issue for folks during the pandemic; stress and anxiety can certainly make you toss and turn.
Make sleep a self-care priority. Feeling physically and mentally sluggish for days on end is not ideal. Rather than medicinal aids, try grounding, also called earthing. Several studies have shown even 20 minutes a day of grounding improves one’s quality of sleep and sense of well-being. It has also been reported to lower cortisol levels, reduce morning fatigue, and generally help every step of the sleeping process.
7. Keep stress in check.
And finally, one of the best ways to stay naturally healthy this time of year is to keep your stress in check. Easier said than done, we know, however, with the try. It’s been hard to have many of the annual traditions we all treasure, but we have the opportunity to start new traditions and have new experiences.
In these uncertain times and especially during the holidays, we encourage finding ways to stay connected with loved ones. Meditate, even for five or 10 minutes a day, if you are a newbie to the practice. There are a lot of programs available online.
Make time for self-care activities, too. Try making your gifts if your budget is tight. In a year when we’ve all learned to shift dramatically, put that creativity to further good use by putting together a unique holiday to remember. And do it in a way that’s affordable, safe, and healthy for you and your family.
Ask yourself these questions. We encourage making yourselves accountable to YOU. How are you staying healthy this holiday season? Have you started any positive wellness routines? What is working for you? Wishing you a healthy holiday season this year and many to come.