We all know that the holidays are approaching fast. It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of social commitments and to-do lists. However, maintaining our mental and physical health this season is critical. It is sometimes easier to sacrifice healthy food choices, adequate sleep and relaxation in favour of sustaining a hectic schedule. Unfortunately, such choices can be taxing on your sense of overall wellbeing and can start the New Year off in the wrong direction (like flat on your back).
What are the holidays for if not to indulge in sweets and large meals shared with family and friends? In fact, our culture often uses food as a foundation for socialization; however, it is easy to get carried away when socializing is extended over the period of two to four weeks. Therefore, it is important to choose the times when we decide to treat ourselves – and even more important to avoid some of the sweets and cheese trays at hand. Instead, infuse your meals with healthy choices: load your plate with veggies and fruit and other nutritionally-dense food, leaving less appetite for desserts or snacks.
Late nights and high excitement can certainly affect the quality of one’s sleep. Aim to get an average of eight hours per night but, should that be impossible, try to take a nap in the afternoon. The holidays can be hectic and the last thing we want is to return to the hustle and bustle of January completely exhausted.
Although exercising means that we are expending energy, we will also gain energy from it. Don’t have time to run to the gym? No problem. Instead, head outdoors for a walk in the cool air. Take your family with you and incorporate it into your social time. The outdoors will help refresh you and keep you energized.
Don’t forget to breathe through the chaos. No matter how fun holiday celebrations can be, sometimes we need a time out. Remove yourself from it all and take a few minutes to sit in a quiet room or outdoors to take a deep breath or meditate a little to allow time to process thoughts and emotions.
Just say no!
It can be difficult to decline an invitation to one more party or respectfully refuse to bake a pie, but between shopping, work, cooking, parenting and social engagements, we risk exhaustion if we do not. The truth is that saying no can be the best gift we give ourselves this holiday season.