Staying Healthy and Active during the Holiday Season
Updated: Nov 16, 2018
Without a doubt, the holiday season is a wonderful time of year. For some people the holidays bring excitement, while others become stressed. Regardless, it is a time of joy, family, friends and being mindful and thankful. Family and friends might be coming to visit, or you might be going to visit someone, but either way the result is usually an altered routine from the norm – and that is okay! There are still plenty of ways to enjoy the time you have with your loved ones, indulge a little, and remain healthy.
1.) Get outside!
Before it gets too cold, enjoy the foliage or crisp air by taking a walk, hike or bike ride. This is great if you are overwhelmed and need to clear your mind, or you can call up a friend or family member to join. Even going apple or pumpkin picking involves a good amount of walking, and every step counts!
2.) Keep your immune system strong.
Keeping your immune system strong during the holiday season is key! I like to start off my day with green tea (plain hot water or any tea will do), fresh squeezed lemon, cinnamon, turmeric, and a bit of honey. This will provide your body with sufficient antioxidants and vitamins to start the day. Also, be sure to get enough sleep and continue taking a multivitamin.
3.) Do something active every day.
Shop! Seriously – steps add up when you’re walking across the mall or outlet stores. If you don’t have the time or desire to work out one day, get some holiday errands done to kill two birds with one stone. You can never go wrong with walking! Anything you can do to increase your daily steps is great. Taking the stairs or parking farther away will have a positive impact, and if you’re consistent and mindful with those choices then you will notice a difference. One other tip is to never underestimate stretching! Yoga is great for the mind and body, and even dynamic and static stretches are great as well. I used to think that if I didn't do a hardcore workout class or spend hours in the gym every day that I wasn't getting in a "good" workout. Although a more intense workout might be ideal, the truth is, there is no "bad" workout. If your traveling, here are some of my tips on the go.
4.) Partner workout.
Like I mentioned before, the weather is beautiful in the fall to call a friend for outdoor workouts. Even if it’s too cold, call up a friend to take a yoga or SoulCycle class with you to catch up. If you’re back home visiting family, make it a family event and ask siblings or parents to join in.
5.) Be prepared.
When I travel I like to bring leg weights with me (fair warning, if you are flying, be sure to take them out of your bag before going through security… I might have made this mistake before…). This also means being prepared with healthy snacks. If I am home, I always try to have some fresh fruit or cut up veggies on hand to snack on with guacamole, hummus, or nut butter. When I am on the go I try to carry fruit, almonds, or protein bars (you can check out my guide to protein bars here). The main idea is to keep healthy snacks on hand, and to not go too long without eating. It is better to stay nourished, than to be ravenous when you arrive somewhere with a bunch of holiday treats!
6.) 80/20 Rule.
Follow the 80/20 rule of eating healthy/“clean” 80% of the time and allowing treats 20% of the time. I know everyone has heard this before, but you don’t even have to follow 80/20 exact – tailor it to yourself. If 60/40 helps you feel like you’re enjoying your holidays and not depriving, or if you’d rather stay more regimented but still have some indulgence and 90/10 works better for you, then do what your body tells you. The key here is to focus on mainly eating healthy, but remember that this is only happens once a year, and do not lose sight of the importance of the season and family time. No one can be perfect all the time, but do what you can. If you are baking or cooking, then add some more fruit or veggies into the mix, or make some substitutions in your dessert! There are endless possibilities, just remain aware.
7.) Don’t lose sight of drinks.
This applies in many ways. Try to have one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have so you do not dehydrate yourself, or end up drinking way more than planned. Beginning the day with a cup of water or warm water with lemon will also help to detoxify. Try to drink more water instead of soda, and save the drink indulgences for something special, like homemade eggnog, or your family members punch.
8.) Pick your indulgences.
Know what you love, and enjoy it. Whether it is a childhood favorite dessert, a second helping of a family members’ cooking to make them smile, or a drink you can’t live without – indulge mindfully. Do not deprive yourself of life’s simple pleasures, but be present in the joy that is brought during this time of year, and don’t overdo it. You need to be sane, and the holidays have a deeper meaning which time should be spent reflecting on, not feeling guilt.
Practice yoga, stretch, go for a walk, read a book, or watch your favorite Christmas movie. Do something that will help you wind down and lower cortisol if you get too overwhelmed with planning, cooking, shopping and family.
10.) Don’t overthink.
With all the craziness of the holiday season, it is easy to lose sight of what is important. This time of year is meant for people to think about all that they are thankful for, to be joyous and to spend time with loved ones. There is undoubtedly a societal influence to spend more, buy more, bake more, and do more, but do what makes you happy. Don’t lose sight of the true importance of this time of year. Whatever you choose to do, be safe and happy this holiday season 😊