The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, a time when friends and family come together to celebrate another year gone by. This year, 2020, for many of us it is a year to ‘let go of’, to feel a new sense of relief from many challenges we have experienced.
Despite new habits of social distancing and new insights to boost immunity, it is easy to allow our holiday calendars to quickly fill up with so many different activities, which in turn can mean cocktails, sugary treats, fried delights and lots of added stress (both physically and mentally).
The holiday season often becomes a time when we overextend ourselves and neglect our health, usually with the idea that we’ll get back on track after the holidays and make health one of our new years resolutions.
It doesn’t need to be like that! Hopefully, 2020 has also allowed for some reflection time to consider our health priorities. With a bit of simple planning and mindfulness, your health can stay a priority and you can end the year feeling just as good as you’ll be starting a new healthy year ahead.
A stress-free and successful holiday season is all about planning. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the food preparation, present buying, socialising and anything else on your to-do list. Don’t let it swamp you, start by writing a list of everything that needs to be done. Use that list to make a schedule and plan when things will be done. Plan when you’ll go shopping, wrap presents, bake, prep the food or even have a quiet moment to yourself. Having a schedule will mean that you won’t get overwhelmed as everything is under control. It’s also a good idea to schedule in some physical activity so that it doesn’t get forgotten amongst all the holiday activity.
The holiday season can mean chaotic schedules fill up with different parties and eating engagements. Amongst the excitement of it all make sure you don’t skip any meals and try to maintain a regular eating schedule. Starting your day with some protein, green vegetables and a healthy fat will mean your body is nourished and you’ll be able to make healthy choices for the rest of the day. Ensuring each meal has some protein and a healthy fat, along with lots of green vegetables will also keep you from grazing and stop those sugar cravings. If you’re going to a party it’s also a great idea to eat a healthy salad or veggie-packed dish so you’re not starving when you get there and avoid overindulging on party pies.
Staying hydrated is SO important for our bodies overall health. It’s easy during the holiday season to forget about the water and switch it for a glass of wine or beer, but dehydration is dangerous for our bodies and can cause a whole range of issues including allergies, asthma, colitis, constipation, migraine headaches and rheumatoid arthritis, just to name a few. As a little holiday bonus water can also help with weight loss and flushing out unwanted toxins, perfect for when we may have overindulged a little too much. As a general rule, we should aim for 25-35 mls of water per kilogram of body weight. To calculate how much you need simply multiply your weight by 35ml, eg. 80kg x 35 = 2,800 = 2.8L per day.
Stress is definitely part of the holiday season and we all know that it’s coming – no matter how prepared you are. Don’t let it get the best of you, stay on top of your stress and you’ll be able to fully enjoy the holiday season. Start your day with a simple 5-minute meditation, simply sit quietly on the floor or in a comfortable chair and focus on slow deep breathing. This grounding exercise gives your body some time to calm and stay centred before a busy day ahead. Another simple technique is to make time for some simple yoga in your schedule, this will allow your body to rest, recover and recalibrate. You could try our simple at-home Sun Salute guide.
Sleep is the most important part of the day, yet during the holiday season, it is often one of the first things we sacrifice. If you sleep right you’ll be able to make better decisions about what you eat, drink and how you approach all the stressors of your day. The recommended amount of uninterrupted sleep is 7-8 hours each night. This can be difficult during the holiday season with all the parties, but if you make sleep a priority you’ll be amazed how good you can feel. Arrive at a party early so you’re in on the action from the beginning, then you can be home in bed by 10 pm and still getting a good nights sleep.
The holiday season definitely has a big focus on family time, which for some people can mean a lot of anxiety and stress. Don’t let it get you down this season, take a deep breath and look at the big picture. We’re all so lucky to have family around us that we can celebrate these occasions with, so if a problem does arise just respond with love and allow it to diffuse the situation.
Don’t let junk food become the norm during the holiday season. When we eat healthy whole foods we feed our body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at it’s best. Of course, it’s ok to have a little treat occasionally but if it becomes an every day and every meal occurrence then it isn’t really a treat anymore.
Time flies by so fast that it can quickly feel like a big blur. Be mindful and enjoy the moment this holiday season. This special time of year can mean we get caught up in the big celebrations, but don’t let the little moments pass you by. Happiness is valuing what you have and living in the moment to enjoy the people, places and events in your life. While gift-giving is a fun experience, it’s the connections and moments you share with your loved ones that will last a lifetime, enjoy it!
From the team at SHDC, we wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season!