The holidays are almost upon us yet again. A season to be merry, to enjoy, feast on delicious food and spend time with loved ones but it can also be a season of stress, overeating, flu and guilt. Both mental and physical health is so important and shouldn’t take a back seat during the holiday season. Here are my top 13 ways to stay healthy during the holidays, whether you’re at home or travelling this holiday season.
#1 CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
The holidays are a time for relaxation, family, loved ones and indulgence. Holiday parties are often some of the best of the year, the food some of the most delicious and there’s no point in beating yourself up about a couple of extra pounds. It’s all about your mindset and having a balanced one. Allow yourself to go out there, have a great time, indulge and try a bit of everything without going crazy and perhaps feeling guilty later. It’s possible to have a merry and healthy Christmas, just keep both in mind. As much as we’d all like the holidays to be a time to unwind, relax in front of a cosy fire, it can at times get pretty stressful. We want everything to perfect from the gifts to the food, we work so hard and of course, most of the time it’s not. Again this is all about mindset. Don’t aim for perfection, go with the flow and oftentimes you’ll enjoy it a lot more.
#2 STAY HYDRATED
Dry air, excessive alcohol and a busy lifestyle all contribute to dehydration. Staying hydrated is optimal for the body to function fully, especially at this time of year with bugs and flu going around. Staying hydrated will also speed up digestion, keep energy levels up and can also help you to consume less. Drink up!
#3 BEWARE OF DRINK CALORIES
Everything we consume, well, almost everything has calories, drinks included but we often forget about them. Some drinks, in fact, can have even more calories than certain foods. Alcoholic drinks, sugary fruit punches and juices and creamy hot chocolates are the main culprits at this time of year. To stay healthy during the holidays, stay away from oversweetened drinks, drink water with lemon instead of fruit juices and have wine instead of beer. Cocktails can also be swapped for vodka with club soda with a dash of lime and order your hot chocolate with no cream.
#4 STOP WHEN YOU’RE FULL
No one wants that feeling of being so overly full you feel sick. Avoid this by stopping when you feel almost full. Doing so will make your stomach able to digest the meal faster and you can always come back for seconds later.
#5 SWITCH UP YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE
It goes without saying that exercise during the holidays is pretty important. When you switch up your everyday workout routine, you give your metabolism an extra boost as your body has to work harder doing those exercises it’s not used to. The holidays are the perfect time to do this for that extra calorie burn. Switch up your exercises, try TRX, or barre or even a spinning class- just try something you don’t always do. It can have an amazing effect on your metabolism allowing you to burn through that Christmas dinner in no time.
For my travel or home-friendly workouts that require no gym or equipment, click here.
#6 CONNECT WITH OTHERS
While food is a massive part of the holidays, why not trying to centre your focus away from food, drink and anything that might bring you stress. Focus your time and energy on connecting with the people around you. Cultivating both old and new relationships can have a huge effect on our mental health and a strong family or community circle has the power to make us feel invincible.
#7 SLEEP WELL
The holidays could be a great opportunity to catch up on sleep. Make sure you sleep well as sleep has the ability to further reduce holiday stress, puts you in a better mood and also helps to maintain weight. Those extra days off work and putting that alarm far inside the bedside-table drawer gives us the opportunity to catch up on all those lost hours.
#8 TRY A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING
Staying healthy during the holiday season is not about missing out. By all means, treat yourself to a bit of everything. Whether you’re at a party, thanksgiving or Christmas dinner or at a Hanukkah celebration, try a bit of everything, just make sure to come back for seconds of natural, fresh foods rather than the greasy, fried stuff.
#9 DON’T GO OUT HUNGRY
One sure-fire way to eat everything under the kitchen sink is to go to a party hungry. Just don’t put yourself in that situation. Try to always eat something small beforehand, so your not full but not hungry either. This way you’ll have room for drinks and extra snacks without wanting to devour everything in sight.
#10 CHOOSE WISELY
During the holiday season, we’re all faced with many different food and drink choices. Don’t miss out but choose wisely. If you’re at a buffet try a little of everything but then choose more of the healthy stuff. If at a cocktail party choose veggie sticks with hummus over fried potato chips. Choosing healthy, natural or home-cooked foods rather than fried or processed foods will be one of your biggest wins during the holidays.
#11 WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN
Unfortunately, the holiday season for most is also flu season with a plethora of germs and bacteria going around. During the holidays we also socialise more and have contact with more people than usual. To make sure you don’t catch anything and get sick right before big events make sure to wash your hands often as bacteria and germs are mainly transferred by hand. You should be washing your hand thoroughly with soap each time.
#12 BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Another sure way to stay healthy during the holidays is to give your immune system a little boost. To avoid colds and flu make sure you have a high intake of vitamin C as well as taking Echinacea on the days you may be coming down with something. As well as all the holiday food, eat an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, get adequate sleep and drink alcohol in moderation.
#13 TRY A PLANT-BASED CHRISTMAS
More and more people are switching to a plant-based diet each year for many reasons from health to animal welfare. Why not try a plant-based Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner for a change? It could be something different, just as enjoyable but healthier and ethical too.
Do you have any ways to stay healthy during the holidays? I’d love to hear from you! Leave all your questions and comments below.
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