It’s here. That time of year when things get crazy and hectic. We are all so busy during the regular days of the year, but the holidays can be especially hard on our sanity. There are some things you can do to help make the holidays a calmer, more relaxing time for yourself and your family. These reminders will allow you to enjoy your holidays the healthy way.
#1 – Don’t call it a loss
Nothing drives me crazier than hearing people say their diet is out the window from November to January. Seriously! The holidays do not have to be an all or nothing season. You don’t have to choose between eating celery and rice cakes, and stuffing your face with heaping piles of mashed potatoes and cookies. There is this wonderful thing called balance. If you are currently in a healthy eating pattern, continue to do that…MOST of the time. It’s not realistic to say you aren’t going to indulge at all between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and you don’t have to. A healthy life is not about deprivation. Go into this holiday season with the word “balance” on your mind. Maybe even stick it on your fridge or make it the background on your phone.
#2 – Plan for splurges
It is inevitable that you are going to be surrounded by a lot more treats and rich food than usual during the holidays. That doesn’t mean you have to eat them all. Make a list of your absolute favorite holiday foods, and keep it to five items or less. Allow yourself to enjoy these foods without any guilt or regret. If there is something else that is tempting you, take one bite and walk away. With all of these extra splurges, you just need to be sure to balance it out with exercise and keeping the rest of your diet on track. If you do happen to have a holiday binge, get right back on track with the tips in this post.
#3 – Get your butt moving
If you plan to indulge this holiday season, then you absolutely must keep your regular exercise routine going, or start one now. Sure, you are busier with a lot more tasks to get done, but you can’t let your workouts take a back seat. Continue to think of those sessions as appointments that you can’t break. If you have to adjust your routine a little, do what you have to do. Do your workout in smaller increments across the day if you have to, but get it done. You want to keep your body strong and healthy, as well as able to burn off some of those extra cookie calories. Learn how to make time for exercise in this post.
#4 – Plan and prep
Meal planning and meal prepping are a busy person’s lifesavers when it comes to eating healthy. Anything is always better and easier when there is a plan. I mean if you decide to go camping but have no plan, you could end up lost, or without necessary equipment and other essentials. It’s the same with healthy eating. You have to plan your meals ahead of time so you are ready for any kink life decides to throw at you. Doing some meal prep ahead of time will save you so much time when you are super busy, and will still allow you to stick to your healthy eating plan. If you have kids that can help meal prep, put them to work. If you are really in a bind, download my 4-Week Meal Plan for only $9.97!
#5 – Drink up
And I don’t mean wine! Drinking enough water can make all the difference in how you feel trying to get through this busy holiday season. Water keeps you feeling energized, looking fresh, and cleanses your body naturally. It also helps keep you feeling full, so you are less likely to reach for food. Fill a big bottle and take it with you wherever you go. Sip constantly throughout the day. See this post for more about the amazing benefits of water.
#6 – Hit the sheets
Sleep is the first thing to suffer for me when it comes to the holiday season. With two small kids, it’s difficult to get things done during the day. They need a lot of attention and tending to, so a lot of tasks get pushed back until after they go to bed. I would like to be going to bed then too, but I have presents to buy and wrap, cookies to bake, meals to plan and prep, cleaning, laundry, and a bunch of other holiday chores. I usually lose an hour of sleep on busy days during the holiday season, and boy do I feel it. It is so important to keep up a consistent sleeping routine, otherwise your eating and exercise habits will be affected too.
#7 – Make lists
I love lists, and the older I get, the more I need them to keep me on track. I used to be able to remember all sorts of things, but now, if I don’t write it down, forget it. There are always lists going of things I run out of at home, grocery lists, things to do lists, recipe lists, party lists, gift lists, and so much more. Lists are a great way to organize your ideas and plans. The best part…feeling accomplished when you get to cross something off the list.
#8 – Just say no
Chances are, you probably get invited to a lot of parties and hear about all sorts of holiday events happening in your town. Does that mean you have to go to all of them? Heck no! Only go to parties that are thrown by close friends or family that you truly enjoy spending time with. Plus your kids don’t need to go see Santa at five different locations. Tell the kids they can select two holiday events to attend and that’s it. You will be busy enough trying to get other things done. Instead of all the running around to entertain the kids, try having a family board game night at home, or play holiday charades. Kids really just want quality time with you.
#9 – Make time for yourself
Listen, if you don’t take care of yourself, all of those holiday errands and cleaning aren’t going to get done, so you can’t run yourself ragged doing everything for everyone else. Carve out at least one hour per week to destress. That means you get to do whatever you want all by yourself. It might be a workout, bubble bath, massage, pedicure, surfing Pinterest, or whatever else you really want to do to relax. Let everyone know this is your time and you are not to be disturbed.
#10 – Let go of perfection
The holidays do not have to be perfect. It’s okay if you forget to buy rolls for dinner. The world won’t end if your Christmas lights fizzle out. Your relatives won’t care if your cookies are not perfectly shaped because your 2-year-old wanted to help. No one is going to leave your party or dinner because of any of these little things. Actually, all of these little imperfections are what will be most memorable, and hopefully will have you laughing about in years to come. People will say, “Hey, remember that year your Christmas tree lights went out? And Jen shined a flashlight on the tree as we sang Christmas carols? That was so funny!” Do your best, plan as much as you can, but accept that this is real life and things do not have to be perfect.
With that, I will leave you by saying that I hope you all a have safe, happy, and healthy holiday season!