The holidays have officially kicked into full gear… and with them, so has that annually familiar push-and-pull, yin-and-yang conflict we often have with ourselves this time of year.
In short, it’s this: How do you enjoy the festive indulgences of the season (Hello, cornbread stuffing and eggnog martinis!), while still staying healthy and keep from going off the rails?
Not easy, is it? Nope. And we all know it’s supposed to be about balance, of course. But balance is a pretty ambitious goal. It’s a self-driven choice. And especially at this time of year, it’s a choice that can be harder to make than usual.
But here’s the thing: Our bodies need us to nourish them with foods full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, at the exact same time that our minds need us to help keep them from feeling like everyone around us is having a blast, while we sit there at the party and chew carrots in the corner.
So as you probably guessed it, a happy medium is key. And yes, you most certainly can jump into the fun with worthwhile splurges. After all, the holidays are about being with family, friends, and loved ones fully, about being present in the moment, and definitely not about being anxious that you might be getting off-track.
So here’s how to relish the holidays to the fullest with no depravation or drastic rules, while also giving yourself the care you need and deserve:
*Be conscious of what you’re eating.
Again, the goal here isn’t self-deprivation. Exactly the opposite: It’s to truly enjoy the food you’re eating. Avoid mindless eating like a little kid avoiding stocking coal. If you want to indulge? Great. Go for it. Indulge. Just make sure you’re truly enjoying each and every bite and sip. And when you do, then press reset on getting back to your healthy habits the next day. Instead of saying, “I’ll begin again in January,” let each day be an opportunity for a fresh start. That makes it far, far easier to keep yourself from going too far down into a hole you can’t dig yourself out of later on. Here’s a personal example: I drink my 32 ounces of cold-pressed green everyday. It starts my day off on the right foot. So find a healthy reset that works for you, right after you splurge.
*Find the quiet. Meditate.
There’s no question in my mind that you deserve a moment to breathe, relax, and carve out time for yourself. All you need is a few minutes. You, everyone around you, and probably the rest of your week will benefit. And probably the rest of your year.
*Set an intention.
It’s great during this season to ask yourself what do you want during each experience you’re encountering. How much of it are you doing for yourself? How much are you doing for others? Are you giving more than you’re being given? Are you taking more than you’re giving back? Again, balance is key to everything.
Is there any question that we should practice this all year round? Do it in person (even just with a simple hug and some kind words), over the phone (if things have gotten too complicated in person), or over email (when things have gotten really complicated in person). But one thing is for sure: Finding time to send out your thanks to the universe attracts more blessings into your life, and encourages people to be more grateful and happy themselves. What comes around truly goes around.
When there is lack of sleep, you’ll have low energy that may prevent you from exercise or searching for foods that give you energy, and may send you reaching for the wrong thing. It’s a tough time of year. And sleep is one of the best ways to take care of yourself, hands down.
*Move your body.
I don’t care if it’s in between holiday concerts, crazy work hours, open houses, or gift shopping. Find something you love to do, and do it already. Maybe you grab a spin class or go walking. Maybe you do some downward dog before finishing up the errands. Go take a run or do Pilates before taking care of everyone else. Exercising helps to reset the body, burn calories, ease stress, and help you focus. Plus, it’s just fun and pretty darn joyful.
And honestly, in the end, isn’t that what the holidays are about anyway?