Staying Healthy O’er the Holidays
These weeks before Christmas it’s easy to struggle with balance. Every year we find ourselves firing on all four cylinders, not willing to “give up” anything. We make little time for exercise or rest and spend an inordinate amount of time with chocolate and wine in hand. It’s no surprise that every year around this time lots of people get sick. Really sick.
But it doesn’t have to happen! There are ways to make it through the holidays unscathed…and have your eggnog too.
Tips for Staying Healthy and Having Fun this Season!
1. Eat Fruits, Vegetables, Lean Protein and Healthy Fat…..Despite the Treats!
When there is an unlimited supply of sugary, chocolatey, cheesy rich foods around it can be really easy to “chuck it all out the window”. I’ve known more than one person who stops eating healthy food altogether because they think it will help compensate for all of the extra holiday party calories they are consuming. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work that way. Eating unhealthy food makes us want more unhealthy food. Our blood sugar becomes unstable, setting us up, physiologically, to overeat foods that are the worst for us. Indulge if you will. Of course! It’s the holidays! Just keep eating regular meals. Then, hopefully, you’ll be more likely to keep cravings in-check and keep treats moderate.
2. Take B Vitamins and an Herbal Adaptogen.
B vitamins are particularly helpful in times of stress. This time of year we eat holiday foods, stay up late, consume alcohol, and spend little time resting and rejuvenating. It’s stressful on the body! B vitamins will help your body cope with all of the ups and downs of the season. Herbal “adaptogens” also help the body cope with stress. Depending on the herb, adaptogens may help conserve energy or release energy. These are my GO-TO supplements at this time of year. Take them several times a day***. (Examples: Withania, Bacopa, Borage, Rhodiola)
3. Drink Green Tea/Herbal Tea Instead of Coffee.
Coffee is a stimulant, obviously. As we become busier; more sleep-deprived, more stressed, our bodies begin to crave stimulants: coffee, chocolate, soda. Moderate amounts of coffee a day is fine. One cup? No problem. If you start to crave more, try substituting with herbal tea or green tea. It may not seem like “enough” at the time but you’ll find yourself feeling better through the day and sleeping more soundly at night.
4. Get Some Rest.
This is tough, I know. I was out until after 11pm 4 times last week. Yikes! My new motto is, in bed by 10:30pm most nights of the week. That means that from now until after New Year’s I have to be in bed early at least 4 nights of the week. I’m planning my schedule around it. It helps me decide how much fun I can say yes to and when it’s time to say no and head home. Rest is the key ingredient to fending off illness, managing weight, stress and mood.
5. Make a Green Smoothie
If you find it hard to get your greens in over the holidays, drink’em. Make a smoothie and add kale/spinach at the end. You’ll hardly notice a taste difference and the greens will help ward off sickness and revive your liver!
6. Make time for Exercise and Outdoors.
As busy as things get, I vow to get outside and get some fresh air and exercise every day from now until the New Year. The air clears my head, the exercise makes me feel stronger and the action of both make me want to make healthy choices.
7. Cross Two Things off of Your To-do List Everyday (without doing them!)
This is how I started my transformation this year. Yesterday I was super-stressed. I had 10 holiday gift projects on the go, two tired children, and NO time to finish anything. I was getting edgy and snappy.
“Why” I thought “am I losing my mind trying to finish things so I can enjoy the holidays?” Why don’t I just enjoy them NOW?
In that moment I cut three projects off my list and started having fun.
That is, after all, what these weeks are all about!
***You should see a naturopath before starting new prescriptions:)