The holiday season is here, which means parties, sugary treats, cocktails and lots of added stress. It’s meant to be the most joyful time of the year, but instead we typically overextend ourselves and our health gets neglected. The good news… with a bit of mindfulness, you can manage to enjoy yourself this holiday season while keeping your health on track.
1. Plan Ahead
Holidays are supposed to be the most joyful time of year, but it’s often the most stressful. There are endless to-do lists, crazy in-laws, traveling and chaotic schedules. Sometimes it can leave us feeling depressed and irritable. One of the simplest ways to avoid this is to plan ahead. You know it’s coming, so decide to take action this year. Make a schedule. Map out when you plan to shop for presents, wrap gifts, bake or anything else you may have to do. The moment you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a glance at the calendar to calm your nerves and remind yourself how you have everything under control.
2. Keep a Regular Eating Schedule
As a general guideline for meals, I suggest sticking with a lean protein, green vegetable and healthy fat. This is even more important during this season as it will keep you from grazing and starve the sugar cravings. Start your day with a protein smoothie or a vegetable omelette. Have soup or a salad for lunch and add a side of greens to your dinner. If you’re at a holiday party, you can follow this same rule. I always make sure to eat a light meal before a party so I don’t overindulge.
3. Nourish Your Body With Healing Foods
It’s cough, cold and flu season and with so much happening, energy levels are often depleted. This is why it’s so important to fuel your body with healing foods. It’s a perfect time of year for nutrient dense soups and bone broth. Bone broth is full of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and glucosamine in a form the body can absorb easily.
4. Get Ahead of Stress
We all know stress is coming with the holidays, so it’s best to get ahead of it by including some simple techniques each day.
Take five minutes at the start and end of your day to meditate. It will ground you, help keep you stay centered and remind you what the holidays are really about.
Find some time during the day to practice restorative yoga. It’s the perfect antidote to holiday stress. It allows your body to rest, recover and recalibrate. My favorite pose is Reclining open chest pose as it brings me into such a restful state.
5. Let Go of Family Drama
I love reconnecting with family over the holiday but boy can they push my buttons sometimes. What is it about in-laws or your crazy aunt that can trigger anxiety? Even when you prepare to avoid conflict or drama, it still might show up. Step back and think about the big picture. You don’t need to let the silly little family drama get you down. Instead, just respond with love and allow it to diffuse the situation.
6. Focus on Your Breath
We underestimate the power of our breath. In just seconds, it can completely calm your nervous system. When you start to get overwhelmed or get anxious, take a few moments to sit down and follow this breathing technique: Take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs. Take six to ten deep, slow breaths per minute until you feel better.
7. Live in the Moment
I have two small children and sometimes my days fly by so quickly it all seems like a big blur. I’m working hard to be mindful and live in the moment. Especially during such a special time of the year, don’t be so busy that you miss all the small, meaningful moments. Happiness is valuing what you have and living in the moment to enjoy the people, places and events in your life. Make a commitment this year not to miss all the holiday magic!