As we enter the holiday season as caretakers, we also begin the busiest, most stressful, and least healthy times of year. This is where we can overextend ourselves. From parties to holiday treats, this time of year brings challenges even to the healthiest among us. Here are some tips for staying healthy through the holidays:
- Gratitude List - studies show that its WAY easier for negative thoughts to penetrate and stay in the mind, but that you CAN train your brain to recognize and hold positive thoughts longer and stronger that negative thoughts. It’s so easy to get bogged in the negativity and feeling victimized with our lifestyle. Humans have a tendency to take the good stuff for granted, but this type of journaling can prevent this from happening. This is where writing down 1 thing you were grateful for the day can help you feel better about your daily stressors. It can be the same one thing everyday, practice being thankful everyday and it will become second nature. By keeping a record of the things that you feel grateful for, will ensure a positive outlook on life and help you stay less stress during busy and demanding times.
- Practice Mindful Eating. This time of year is especially challenging for staying on a diet or eating healthy. Digestion is highly dependent on a restful state as it takes a lot of energy to digest. We have all heard for fight or flight, but have you heard of rest and digest? Research shows if we are eating on the go or in front of TV we have elevated cortisol which diverts blood away The body’s nervous system must be tuned way down to eat and absorb your nutrients and calories from food. Mindful eating isn’t just about eating healthy but digesting, chewing your food and being calm. Mindful eating is not sitting in front of the TV or in the car, but eating a yummy smoothie at the table and chewing your food. I recommend starting the day at the table with a protein filled breakfast. This can set the intention of the day for purpose and patience. Mindful eating also means eating your favorite dessert, just not one of everything on the dessert tray. Before a party eat a protein-filled snack such as almonds and drink a glass of water before heading out to a party. You will be less hungry and less likely to overeat. Treat yourself…just in moderation. Bring digestive enzymes that you take before eating your party foods to help your body assimilate and heal after eating.
- Take Time to Meditate. Did you know our bodies, minds and spirits are connected? When you are experiencing anxiety, for example, your physical body is stressed. Just ask a massage therapist how many clients have shoulders that seem to be stuck to their ears! During this time of year it is especially important to take time away from the hustle and bustle to relax. Take a walk. Meditate. Spend time in quiet. Do something a few days a week that takes your mind away from your holiday to do list. You will be more productive than if you don’t relax.
AND DON’T FORGET TO CONTROL YOUR CALENDAR… While we want to help everyone and be at every party, we can’t do it especially if we want to survive this busy time of year. As the requests are coming in, remind yourself that it’s okay to say no. The goal isn’t to run yourself to exhaustion; the goal is to have a happy holiday season with the ones you love and care for