10 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season
Sometimes all that holiday shopping, prepping, partying, and rushing around can get in the way of actually enjoying the season. Try slowing down a bit so you can stay sane and healthy. Easier said than done, you say? Here are tips for keeping your focus on what's important to you this holiday season.
Don’t let a busy holiday season schedule throw your exercise routine off; keeping fit is the best way to feel good through the season. This is the time to create some structure around your workouts: Join a training group or enroll in a 10-week yoga class. Plan out the time commitment so you can’t skip it. Sign up for a New Year’s Day race and commit to training at least twice a week.
Notice that those catalog-perfect images of holidays don’t have real people or real food in them; this is because they don’t connect directly to real life. It’s okay if your house isn’t spotless and your stuffing isn’t ready for its close-up. Don’t let visions of perfection prevent you from enjoying the good in front of you.
Take the attitude of gratitude
The message of Thanksgiving is a healthy one: Be grateful for the harvest, or, in modern phrasing, for what you have. Cue a daily ritual as a reminder of this throughout the holiday season: Before your first sip of coffee, take a moment to recognize one thing you are thankful for.
Work in solo time
With house guests and parties, parties, parties, it’s easy to drown out your own thoughts. Cultivate quiet time. Devote the first ten minutes of the day to journaling or go for walking meditation after dinner.
Dress your table with small plates
It helps everyone to exercise portion control—consciously or not, you’ll send cues to yourself and your guests to avoid overindulging.
You can’t be everywhere at once. Give yourself permission to decline some invitations so that you can truly enjoy the ones you do accept.
Prep for calmness
Planning goes a long way this season. Stock up on pantry items early, before stores get crowded, and purchase extra nutritious snacks for surprise visitors. Buy a few hostess gifts to keep wrapped in your closet, ready for the last-minute event.
Update your recipes
It’s easy to make small, healthful changes to traditional family dishes: Switch to less processed ingredients wherever possible, and add whole grains instead of refined ones. Keeping foods simple is an easy way to keep a healthy lifestyle—and makes prep work easier on you too. Get great ideas from our Recipe section.
Snooze to win
Getting enough sleep is essential for your physical and mental health. Don’t shortchange yourself by trying to squeeze extra hours into the day; recognize your own need to rest. Learn how to get the sleep you need.
Soak in some natural light
Fluorescent mall lights don’t cut it—sunlight is a better mood booster. Take a walk at lunch or duck out before making dinner to absorb the natural world.
Pump whirled peas
Pitch in at a canned food drive and walk to the drop-off site toting your 1-pound weights. Make it a daily effort; your donations will add up, and your strength will grow.