Tara’s Tuesday Tips:
How To Stay Healthy During The Holidays
The holiday season inspires a sense of excitement, the warmth of tradition, the welcoming of cooler weather. For some, these are wonderful emotions that can be motivating, but for others these emotions entice anxiety, stress, and sadness. These emotions are real and we need to understand what they do to us physically and emotionally to prevent complete derailment of our health.
Doesn’t matter if you celebrate Christmas or not. Doesn’t matter if you are a party of one or twenty. Doesn’t matter if you have finals, deadlines, an overbooked calendar, or a list a mile long. This year, commit to getting through December without the weight gain, the overspending, the overscheduling, the overindulging, getting sick, arguing with someone, and forgetting to …. pause … and enjoy … a little something.
Tara’s 10 Tips To Stay Healthy During The Holidays:
- Wash your hands: This is the easiest thing on the list and the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from illness. Learn more here from the CDC or just wash your hands A LOT!
- Sleep: Put it on the calendar, schedule it, don’t skimp on sleep! Sleep repairs the mind and the body. Sleep deprivation can affect memory, judgement, blood pressure, and can worsen weight gain. Who needs all that? Get some sleep! Want to learn more? Here you go.
- Be present: My yoga teacher introduced me to the concept of being present in what you do. Do one thing at a time and do it well. This is especially true during the holidays because we feel as though we have so much to do. Don’t pass through one moment trying to get to another. Be present. Try it.
- Plan ahead: That means making food your yourself and your family and bringing it with you or packing snacks in your backpack before you leave for the airport so you don’t have to eat airport food, or change your workout schedule, or turn your phone off and create and out-of-office reply, or remind your kids about how to deal with quirky family members, or brush up on your deep breathing exercises to deal with difficult guests. Just do it – before it stresses you out!
- Make a budget: I don’t think everyone needs a budget, but I do think that if overspending on holidays is an issue – make a budget! And stick to it! Determine a holiday spending limit for gifts, entertaining, clothes, travel, etc. Communicate the budget to the others involved in your finances, adjust it if you need to, and stick to it! If you aren’t into budgets and want an interesting take on the whole budget thing, read this.
- Say No: It is ok to decline an invitation or postpone an outing until after the holiday hustle is over. Sometimes alleviating that one thing to do will free up your mind and your spirit. Burnout is real, and it isn’t any fun for you or anyone around you. Say no to some things so that you can be fully present when you do say yes.
- Stay hydrated: After being in urology for 15 years, I have said this a lot! Anyway, drink water! Why? Oh the list is so long. Here I go, back to my urology days! Prevent kidney stones, prevent constipation, clear skin, flush out toxins, help you fight off sickness, prevent dehydration, increase energy, and YOUR BODY NEEDS IT TO FUNCTION! During the holidays we are so busy we forget to drink water, what?!?
- You don’t have to bake the old fashioned unhealthy way: Substitute apple sauce, maple syrup, or bananas instead of sugar. You can use healthy flour alternatives (oat, almond, chickpea, whole wheat) that don’t change the taste one bit but make it healthier! Maybe you don’t need 8 pounds of cookies or 5 variations of pie or fudge or breads. Maybe it will be alright if you don’t make it this year! Need some healthy baking ideas? How about Whole Wheat Pumpkin Banana Muffins, Zucchini Bread, Eggless Brownies, or 3 Ingredient Cookies!
- Just because it is December, don’t eat the _____: (fill in the blank there with whatever you find yourself saying yes to when you would normally say no if it weren’t December). Respect your body, learn how different foods and drinks affect your mood and energy level, ask yourself if it is worth it.
- Bring a healthy, vegetarian dish: Bring something with you that you know you can eat and share – OR – budget your calories if you know for a fact you leave your willpower at home when you go out for a holiday party 😉. Need some ideas? How about Vegetarian Chili, or Simple Vegetable Curry, or Vegetarian Pasta Casserole.
I hope my tips help you stay healthy wherever this holiday season may take you.