Theare a time for celebration, family and joy. It is also a time that revolves around food, busy shopping, festive parties, cocktails and seasonal treats. The season can represent a time for serious temptation to overeat and abandon healthy habits. Surviving the holidays by properly maintaining one’s waistline, bank account and sanity can be challenging for everyone. But the season affords opportunities to be mindful of staying healthy not only through the holiday season but also beyond. We all know that the holidays are the time of year when you really want to feel and look your best.
Before the holidays are fully under way, make a conscious effort to develop a plan, stick to it and check in regularly with yourself. There are ways to stay on track so that when the new year rolls around, you aren’t finding yourself resolving to lose the extra pounds you gained over the holidays. A healthy outlook coupled with regular exercise, a consistent sleep schedule, and a proper diet goes a long way to feeling positive and being successful.
Relax your body and mind.
A relaxed mind allows you to get more done — and feel better while doing it. When you feel overwhelmed, take a few minutes to breathe deeply. Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose while you count to four, hold your breath while you count to two, breathe out through your mouth while you count to four and repeat.
Physical activity is the best and simplest step you can take to benefit your health during the holidays and any time of year. It is certain to make you feel good and help your body and brain function better. Make opportunities to walk for at least 10 minutes at a time. If exercising alone is hard, grab a partner!!! Always consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise routine.
Eat healthy and be merry.
Holiday foods can be high in calories and low on the nutrition you need to battle germs and boost energy. Make it a priority to eat five or more fruits and vegetables a day (choose the whole fruit instead of juice so you feel full longer and avoid added sugar). Carry an apple or a bag of baby carrots so you always have a healthy snack available. That’s not to say you must totally abstain from festive goodies. On the contrary, it’s fine to indulge a small amount, enough to satisfy your craving, but know your limits and keep an eye on your consumption.
Take advantage of seasonal bargains. Many stores begin year-end sales during the holiday season. Saving in advance is also good, if possible. Discipline yourself to save a few dollars from each paycheck during the year. Another option is to draw names. This will reduce spending, especially if your list of family and friends is long. Lastly, allow time for planning and comparison shopping. Keep your budget in mind and shop carefully to get the best selection and price. In other words, budget for purchases.
Remember what the holidays are all about — spending time with family and friends. Tell yourself that you deserve to wake up on Dec. 26 feeling as good as you do today. Laugh and enjoy life— the holidays only come around once a year.
Written by: Desandra Washington, FTCC Director of Counseling Services
Article originally appeared in Up & Coming Weekly