Since the holiday season is clearly in full swing by today (though, let's be real, I've been watching Christmas movies and listening to my (six) favorite Christmas Pandora stations since October) I have teamed up with goodnessknows to put together a list of my top five tips for a healthy holiday season. Let's be healthy and happy this holiday season!
1) Be gentle with yourself.
This one comes first on the list, because it's so important. Especially in NYC, where everyone is so high-powered and high-strung and ambitious, being unnecessarily strict with ourselves isn't a rarity. Whether it's expecting ourselves to be perfect nutritionally, or throw the perfect party, or stick perfectly to our fitness goals, or prepare the perfect holiday dinner, all that perfection is very unhealthy!
The holidays are a time to enjoy ourselves and we can't do that if we try to demand perfection from ourselves. One of the biggest things for me in staying happy and healthy is remembering that it's all not so serious and that not always being an overachiever professionally and as the 'perfect' hostess is not a bad thing. Yes, it's important to push ourselves to do and be our best. But especially during the holidays, it's equally important to let ourselves enjoy the imperfections!
2) Find a reliable source of stress relief.
I like yoga or listening to Christmas carols. A friend of mine likes meditation. My mom loves a stroll and chatting.
Whatever it is that calms you down every time that you're stressed, figure out what it is before the holiday season begins and keep it in your metaphorical back pocket for those stressful moments that will inevitably occur at some point during the holidays!
3) Snack Smart.
In my household, we love chocolate and cranberries (*cough, cough* cranberry sauce) are a huge hit around the holidays. For a seasonal treat that won't send us on a sugar-high with higher highs and lower lows than a Universal Studios roller coaster, we reach for the cranberry, almond, dark chocolate goodnessknows snack squares.
They're conveniently packaged for on-the-go snacking, sweet and seasonal, and packed with 100 milligrams of naturally-occurring cocoa flavanols (the goodstuff found inside cocoa beans) in each serving, just like all the other goodnessknows snack squares varieties.
If cranberries aren't your thing, try one of the other two flavors. Both the apple, almond & peanut, dark chocolate and the peach & cherry, almond, dark chocolate are a delicious choice for a mid-afternoon, mid-morning, or anytime pick-me-up!
4) Incorporate a little more movement into your daily routine.
Let's face it - during the holidays, exercise routines tend to fall to the wayside. There are mixed opinions on this, but I'm of the opinion that it's fine - healthy even! - to have the holidays as a natural break in exercise. Our bodies need a break now and then, and taking the holidays more or less off can leave us more excited to get back into the swing of things in January!
On the other hand, exercise is great stress relief, endorphins keep us happy and relaxed, and staying active keeps us feeling and looking our best. But we can stay active without regimented workouts and hours at the gym!
Park at the farthest lot from the door. Throw on your favorite Christmas tunes and dance a jig around the tree. Clean the house with music and put some elbow grease into it! Take an after-dinner stroll. Try skiing or have a snowball fight or go sledding. Or get some cardio running away from upsellers at the holiday market who are trying to convince you that you need to buy yet another thing, when you're really only there for the festive pine needle smell.
|This is also me when I see my roommates out in the hall, but am not in a chatty mood!|
There are so many great gym-free ways to get moving during the holidays that don't feel like exercise at all!
This one is so basic and feels so good. It's free, it's necessary, and it improves your physical and mental health. Get those 7, 8, or however many hours of sleep you need, especially during the holidays!
Whether that means turning off the television a little earlier, planning ahead to shorten your morning routine, or turning down a party invite now and then (let's face it, even during the holidays three or four parties in one week is more than most of us want to attend), make getting enough sleep a priority!
What is your favorite way to de-stress during the holidays?
What is your favorite healthy holiday snack?
How do you stay active during the festive season?