5 tips for a stress free holiday season

The holiday season is one that brings about excitement and joy, but it also comes with a heavy dose of stress. Between traveling to new places, getting out of your routine, and extended time with family (which may or may not be stressful) it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Below are a few tips to follow for the holidays so you can make sure that you enjoy this time fully but keep your stress levels at a manageable level.

  1. Eat Breakfast
    • Sounds like a strange thing to start with, but I find that starting off my day with consistency and routine is a great way to stay on track during the holidays. Even though I’m with family, I try to keep my breakfast consistent and have some eggs or fruit & yogurt. This way, I know I am starting my day off with some good nutrition and fuel, and when I do that, I am less likely to eat more later in the day. Also, you may think it’s a good idea to go into big holiday meals starving, but this is a recipe for disaster and often leads to eating too quickly and over eating. So eat a balanced and solid breakfast, then treat the holiday meal as you would any other.
  2. Watch the Alcohol
    • The holidays are a time of celebration, and with celebration usually comes the drinks. I don’t have any problem with having a glass or two of wine or champagne, but if we aren’t watching we can easily double or even triple that amount as you are chatting with family or drinking while eating. So my tip? Prior to eating, have no more than one glass of alcohol. Alcohol also stimulates your appetite, so having too much before a meal can actually cause you to eat more. So, have one glass prior to the meal and then one glass during the meal. Usually by the time I start eating, I get too full to even want to continue drinking. Be cognizant of how you are feeling and watch how many times your glass is being refilled. Also, if you want something festive but without the alcohol content, have a La Croix sparking water and add some fresh fruit.
  3. Move
    • Whether it is going on a walk with one of your family members or making sure you get to a yoga class, make sure you get some activity in your day. Exercise and movement keeps us in tune with our bodies and allows us to listen to how our bodies are feeling. You may notice that the day after a sugary dessert you just don’t feel that great, but getting some movement in the next day will help clear excess sugars out of our system and may also help you make better choices for the current day.
  4. Choose your indulgences
    • I think it’s important to note that food is more than just fuel. Food also represents memories, happy times, etc. So when your Aunt brings her amazing, special cake, even though it’s not something you would usually have, decide if this is going to be worth it. And if you decide it is, then enjoy it fully and without an ounce of guilt. One day of eating in excess will not do any damage or alter your body composition. It is only when we do these things consistently. So enjoy the dessert fully and then move on. Also, I always like to pick things that have been homemade by others and don’t come out of a box. Even if the ingredients aren’t perfect, they are at least fresh and have been made with love and care.
  5. Lose the Leftovers
    • The way Thanksgiving or Christmas becomes a way of feeling sluggishness for the next few weeks is usually because of all the leftovers. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE leftovers. But, after two or three days, I throw them out and move on. And no, I’m not talking about eating ditching the turkey meat now made into soup, I’m talking about the pumpkin cheesecake that is inevitably still around for the next week. Eating too much sugar and desserts leads us to feel foggy and lethargic, so ditch the extras and have some herbal tea when you feel a craving post meal (it really does work!)

Hopefully some of these tips are helpful and I hope everyone has a wonderful and enjoyable holiday season!

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