Healthy Tips for the Holiday Season
The holiday season is shortly approaching us Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. During this time, we are most likely to spend the holiday season around our family members and friends celebrating together. Which, we often put off healthy habits just for now to enjoy the festive fare!
Between the flu and the cold season, staying healthy and managing stressors can be challenging. We are all about enjoying ourselves and enjoying yummy home-cooked meals during the holidays, but usually, the marathon food fests begin between Thanksgiving and the New Year, which can take a toll on our bodies emotionally and physically.
Celebrate In Moderation
Think about it, a big part of celebrating the holidays involves food, sugar, and alcohol. Many people often think of missing out on holiday food all year because it's either get it now or wait until next year. Therefore, it is important to have an abundant mindset during the holidays by being more selective in food choices.
Typically, people are prone to overeat, eat very poorly, and drink heavily throughout the season. But it is important to realize that overeating, eating poorly, and drinking heavy can definitely affect your mood, sleep schedule, weaken the immune system, and trigger stress.
Even though navigating the holiday season can be stressful and tricky, knowing the difference between eating delicious foods instead of a crappy diet, such as indulging in all the festive cakes and cookies on the dining table while drowning down glasses of wine, is not the way to go. You will feel guilty, and the foods that cause the most inflammation are refined sugar, processed foods, and alcohol.
When it is time to celebrate and eat, instead of loading up your plate with all the good stuff. Consider changing how you view your plate; load up your plate with bright-colored foods. Such as leafy greens, fiber-packed, antioxidant-rich, and high-quality foods.
-Connect to foods that make you happy
Have you ever noticed your physical body signals when eating certain foods? You will learn over time to ignore those signals. For example, those signals might create an attachment or craving, such as eating a whole chocolate cake to yourself because you want it and want to feel good. How about this? Start to tune into your body and understand your physical signals, such as bloating, gas, reflux, energy, and fullness from certain foods. Depending on your body signals, what you will discover will help you determine when eating the foods you, makes you full or wreaks your digestion.
It is totally okay, to have a glass or two but overdrinking can definitely lead to a horrible nightmare by affecting your mood negatively, and you might wake up with a nasty hangover. We recommend to sip on water in between meals and do not drink on a empty stomach. If you are partying throughout the night because the party isn’t over, it is important to nibble some food throughout the event because it will help control the alcohol intake. The more you drink on an empty stomach the more drunker you will be.
It is okay to say “no, thank you”! Although, it's so easy to say yes to another glass of wine or another cookie from the kitchen, but its important to set boundaries for your well-being. It is totally okay to say I am too full or thank you so much, but right now I can’t! Do not overdo it for yourself!
-Make time for movement
During the transition to the winter season, we tend to stay up late and stay in due to weather conditions. Keeping our bodies moving can definitely help with digestion through detoxifying and not making you a couch potato.
Do not over do it! Rushing to the store to get last minute presents or racing to the grocery store to get the last turkey, can cause you to be overwhelmed and stressed. Take a few days or time throughout the week to allow our bodies to nourish and rest. Not matter what, if we are not getting an average of 7 to 8 hours of sleep, lack of sleep will creep up stress and can send us to make poor eating decisions. It is recommended to go to bed between the hours of 10 pm to 2am to feel more energized, rejuvenated, and stronger for balanced circadian rhythms. Being out of sync with out internal clocks, can cause problems with your health which are linked to insomnia, obesity, depression, diabetes, a weaken immune system, and more.
-Take time for yourself
Doing self-care practices is very important for our physical, emotional, and mental health. The holiday season can be hectic and overwhelming with all duties we like to do, but we can’t always be on the go. We must slow down and think about our overall well-being. Trust us; you will enjoy the holiday season more if you don’t run yourself worn out. Practice some deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, take a brisk 10-minute walk around the neighborhood, and many more. Take a moment for yourself and be kind to your well-being; it is important to take care of ourselves for emotional and mental health.
We often forget to stay on track with drinking the right amount of water recommended each day. It is very important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water during the holidays. Drinking less water, more alcohol, more refined drinks can cause dehydration which associates with fatigue, poor concentration, trigger migraines, and more. Drinking water helps our body dispose toxins and waste from our vital organs by ensuring the body is running smoothly.
-Continue to get Acupuncture
We can’t address this enough, acupuncture helps in many ways from preventive health to restoring our bodies naturally to bounce back to normal function, like our bodies are supposed to. We love to tell our patients to come in during the holiday season to help with stress relief and relieve any build up tension/pain. The holiday season can be one of the best times of the year but can definitely increase our stress levels from all shopping, wrapping gifts, sending out cards, watching traditional movies, baking, cooking, spending time with family and friends.
What Not To Do
Don’t take those extra sips when toasting to the season! If you are drinking eggnog, red wine, beer, cocktails, etc. it is important to drink in moderation and pace yourself.
-Do not stay inside during the holiday season. Yes, we know its cold or snowing but it is important to get vitamin D. Believe it or not, many people are vitamin D deficient and vitamin D is such an important vitamin for our bodies and the primary source comes from sunshine.
-Do not overeat or pick bad choices. You will feel sluggish and will regret later!
-Do not stay up late at night munching on snacks while binge watching holiday movies until 3 am. Take a break and shut the tv off. Your body is tired and refrain from electronics. Electronics can suppress our natural melatonin in our bodies and makes us not tired from the blue light the devices give off.
-Do not eat a heavy meal before heading to bed. Typically, it is recommended to not eat meals or food at least 2 hours before bedtime.
-Do not be a slouch potato! Get on moving and let’s keep your heart/health healthy. Walk around the neighborhood, walk your dog outside for the festive atmosphere with seeing lights, decorations, feeling the fresh crisp winter air, and more. You will be happier and feel less stressed!
-Stop thinking you “should” do something. Slow down and go with the flow. Do not overwork yourself and have the holiday stress hit you. Do you find yourself constantly thinking “Should I spend more on presents? Should I send out holiday cards? Should I host a holiday party at my house? Etc.” Let’s help you, try to make the effort to stop the “shoulds” and start doing what you “need” to what makes you happy and comfortable. This will help with built up pressure and guilt that has a tendency to increase stress during the holiday season.
Cassetty, S. (2019). Ask an rd: Does it matter if I let healthy habits slip over the holidays? NBCNews.com. Retrieved October 13, 2022, from https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/10-tips-avoid-those-letting-healthy-habits-slip-during-holidays-ncna1098496