Halloween officially marks the start of the holiday season. For many, life becomes a marathon from now until the New Year. From sweet treats on Halloween to homemade pies on Thanksgiving to Christmas cookies and New Year’s Eve cocktails, daily health routines and wellness rituals can easily get forgotten. Use these six tips to successfully navigate the holidays and maintain your healthy lifestyle from now until the New Year.
It’s easy to stay hydrated during the hot and humid summer months, but remembering to drink water during the cold, dry winter months can be a challenge. We say: challenge accepted! Sip your favorite herbal tea throughout the day or add a splash of flavor with your favorite citrus fruits like grapefruit, lemon, lime, pineapple and oranges. Bonus: These citrus fruits are excellent sources of Vitamin C, which can help keep your immune system healthy during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Many of us associate the holidays with our favorite comfort foods and although it is completely okay to indulge, do so mindfully. Listen to your body and only eat when you are truly hungry. Never arrive to a holiday party hungry, but instead stay properly hydrated (see step #1 above) and arrive having eaten a light snack beforehand so you don’t show up ravenous — and thereby diving face first into the cheese tray. (We’ve all been there before). Be sure to keep fresh fruits and vegetables on hand and prepare a couple of better-for-you dips like hummus and almond butter. Also, be sure to stock up on all of your favorite snacks before the start of the holidays so you are never left hungry or worse, hangry!
One of the best parts about the holiday season is the sweet treats. Thanksgiving pumpkin pie and Christmas cookies anyone? Unfortunately many classic holiday dishes are laden with sugar and other artificial ingredients, so take matters into your own hands by baking up some better holiday alternatives. Here are a few of our favorite baking substitutes:
- Trade in traditional flour for almond flour, coconut flour, or gluten-free flour
- Ditch the vegetable oils for coconut oil
- Instead of butter use ripe avocados, bananas or applesauce
- Set aside refined sugars and use a better sugar options instead like coconut sugar, maple syrup or raw honey
- Opt for baking whole grains like oat flour, which will make your baked goods more filling and nourishing
During the holidays, daily workouts are traded in for cocktail hours with coworkers, festive family meals and cookie swaps with friends and neighbors, but there are still plenty of opportunities to work out during the holiday season that don’t involve the gym.
- Shovel the driveway. Bonus if you shovel your neighbor’s driveway as well — it is the season of giving, after all!
- Take a walk around your neighborhood to view the holiday lights and decorations.
- Bring your furry best friend to the dog park.
The days may be short and the weather may be cold, but don’t let the winter weather stop you from getting outside and finding a way to move your body each and every day.
Although daily movement is important, make sure to get enough rest every night. Proper sleep will help keep your immune system strong. After a busy day of holiday preparations, carve out time for some rest, relaxation, and self-care practices. Sip a hot mug of cocoa or herbal tea, curl up with a good book or a classic holiday movie, take a bubble bath, create an at-home spa experience, or simply sit in silence and meditate.
The holiday season is packed with invitations to happy hours, parties and social soirees, but just because you are invited doesn’t mean you have to attend. That’s right, you can say no! Plans to stay at home curled up on the couch catching up on episodes of your favorite TV show do count as having plans. Don’t feel obligated to do everything and see everyone. Choose to participate in activities you truly enjoy and that fill you up, not deplete you, of your precious energy reserves. Remember, “no” is a complete sentence all on its own.