For many people, that festive season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day represents fun, family, friends, and gifts. The holidays also revolve around food and sometimes trigger stress, both of which can create weight gain.
The good news is that eating nutrient-dense foods, fitting in time for exercising, and getting quality sleep habits you should cultivate year-round can help you maintain a healthy weight, manage stress levels, and keep your immune system operating well. With these six strategies, stress and weight gain don’t have to sabotage your health this holiday season.
Below are 6 Tips To Help You Stay Healthy This Holiday Season
- Enjoy safe travels.
Many people travel this time of year and your health and safety can be improved by preparing well and being aware and cautious. Plan your trips. Avoid dehydration and eat well, which may involve bringing water and appropriate food/snacks with you on the plane or in your car. Take a few key supplements with you to help combat the germ exposures, including garlic, vitamin C, and others. You can also carry a natural hand sanitizer. Factors that can weaken immunity include stress, nutritional deficiencies, excess sugar and alcohol, and overwork. Good sleep, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and feelings of love and appreciation can also help support your immune system.
- Delegate responsibilities.
Juggling work, gift buying, cooking, and all the many tasks holidays demand sometimes mean you take on more than you can handle. Ask for help. This might involve requesting your children to help set the Thanksgiving table or prepare specific foods; hiring an assistant for the holidays; getting your significant other involved in gift wrapping; or creating a potluck dinner that asks everyone to bring their favourite healthy Christmas recipes.
- Prioritize exercise.
That feeling after a good workout actually is in your head. Exercise can boost endorphins as well as feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin, making it the perfect holiday stress buster. Conversely, research shows that stress impairs physical activity. Getting sidetracked and blowing off your workout can seem easy during the holidays. Knock it out early in the day whenever possible before obligations sidetrack you. Time isn’t an excuse with our high-intensity workouts. Try creating a simple, powerful workout plan that’s just 12 minutes a day.
- Improve your sleep.
Stress and sleep feed off each other. Too little sleep can leave you stressed out over things that wouldn’t normally bother you, and stressing out before bed can impede quality sleep. Create a sleep ritual where you shut off electronics an hour or two before bed, take a hot bath, and create ways to unwind. Consider a supplement to help you safely fall and stay asleep. If you find stress keeps you awake, keep a journal by your bed and write down your worries. They’ll still be there when you get up, but you’ll be better equipped to handle them with a good night’s sleep.
- Create moments for mindfulness.
Find a few moments every day for gratitude: for your family, friends, job, your health, and any other blessing you feel. Research shows expressing gratitude can even improve mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, and pausing to reflect on the good in your life can set a positive tone for your day. Find your own way to stop, reflect, and be mindful of what you’re grateful for. That might mean writing a letter to someone special, delivering flowers to a friend, or taking food to someone you feel needs a little extra attention during the holidays.
- Step up the self-TLC.
Holiday stress management is necessary to cope with end-of-year work deadlines, store crowds, and difficult family members. While an hour massage or visiting a day spa regularly can become expensive, you can create small but, meaningful bliss points throughout your day. Having afternoon tea with your bestie, closing your eyes and breathing deeply, taking a hot bath before bed, or doing five minutes of stretching or yoga poses can dial down stress and leave you feeling more rejuvenated.