One great way to stay healthy over the holidays, is to stay focused on what really matters to YOU. Why? Because this season is filled with temptations, invitations, and sollicitations that lead to more stress, less sleep, and many opportunities to overeat and drink too much.
As you can imagine, none of these will score well when it comes to our health record. Not to mention the fact that because we are so busy, running all over the place, there is little time for self-care and the only way left to treat ourself seems to stuff our face with whatever we can grab.
That sounds familiar, right?
So, let me share with you 3 ways to avoid losing your mind during the holiday season. Instead of pushing your health into the background and piling up extra weight during this stressful and busy time of year, you can make it a time to slow down, replenish, and prepare for a more productive and fulfilling year to come.
1/ Don’t do things mindlessly
Of course, it is critical to keep an eye on our food and beverage intake during the holidays. I have laid out easy ways to do so in 2 previous articles, which you can discover here:
- All about food: Should I Eat When I Am Hungry?
- All about drinks: The ONE Thing to do for Healthier Holidays
Now if we want to tackle the holidays in a healthier way this year, we have to be mindful, not only of what we put in our mouth, but of every single thing we do every day.
Whether it’s sending holiday greeting cards, going to parties, or volunteering for charities, being truly aware of every single “decision” we make will help us be more selective and less overwhelmed. We will reduce stress, frustration, exhaustion, and we might even avoid the accumulation of a few unwanted extra pounds.
2/ Concentrate on what/who really matters
I am not saying “do only what you really want to do”. Let’s be realistic, there are people we want to make happy, good deeds we can’t pass on, and chores we can’t avoid. But if we CHOOSE the things we do, there is a good chance that we will eliminate a portion of our seasonal load.
No matter how big or small that portion is, it will always help us reduce stress, have more time for sleep, and save our waistline!
It takes practice to be mindful, though. So let’s not wait until the last minute. Let’s reflect right now on what we usually do during the holidays, and ask ourselves:
- Do I really want to do this?
- Why is it important to me?
- Will I feel better after I have done it or will I feel worse?
- What will happen if I don’t do it?
Sometimes we do things to please others, to advance our career, to feel accomplished, to avoid guilt, or for the pleasure. Those (and many others) are all very good reasons to do what we do! And no one besides ourselves should be judging our own personal motivations. But when we do things just because we assume we should, or because we have always done it this way, or “just ‘cuz”… that’s when it’s worth pausing for a second, and taking the time to make a mindful decision.
If being selective and prioritizing is a tough thing to do on your own, feel free to reach out. This is an area I really enjoy working on with my clients and I will be happy to guide you through a process that can decrease the overload not only during the holiday season, but all year long and in many areas of your life. Feel free to contact me if you want to know more.
3/ You don’t have to please everybody
One big drive for our actions is wanting to make people happy, especially during the holidays. And that’s commendable; we want to make the world a better place, right? But can we take a second to make sure that what we are about to do will really bring joy around us? Is there maybe another way to spread the love, or another time? What if we say "no" once in a while? Will that make a big difference?
If you find it hard to pick what is and isn't important to you, ask yourself who the people are who matter the most in your life. Don’t answer “my family, my friends, my loved ones...” Write down their names. Make a list of specific people you care the most about. And those who don’t make it on your list, well, maybe you can see them in January! Do the same for causes, charities, traditions. Come up with a list and stick to it.
BONUS: Cut yourself some slack!
It’s all about being selective and making decisions rather than going with the crazy flow of things. Mindfulness. That's what it is. And once you have decided that a certain party, a certain food, a certain group of people, or even a certain cause lies toward the bottom of your priority list, stick to your decision and DON’T FEEL GUILTY. You are not Santa Claus! You don’t have a flying reindeer (or, do you?). You cannot do it all and please them all while caring for your health and happiness. Let go of what doesn’t matter THAT much (even if it's still important to you) and throw yourself entirely into what/who counts THE MOST.
When you do that, you will be able to make things more special and exceptional, because you won’t be stretched so thin. Try it this year, and let me know how it works for you!
One step that you can take today that will help you stay focused on what matters to YOU, is to commit to doing something JUST FOR YOU, regularly, throughout the holiday season. Whether it's a walk in the park 2 times per week, sleeping in once a week, or joining a group of friends for tea once a week, make sure to commit to yourself and to taking care of yourself the way you take care of others.
As always, if you feel that you need a bit of extra help figuring out what to do and how to do it, reach out!
You can even request a FREE Discovery Session if you want to know more about my approach and how it might help you reach your wellness goals. I’ll be happy to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Let’s Go!