Hello my friends!
With the holiday season upon us, it can be easy to get stuck in a slump when it comes to being well. So many times we set ourselves up for disappointment with high (unreasonable) expectations for ourselves and for those around us. So, here just a few of my favourite tips to not only survive the season, but maybe enjoy it too!
- Fill up on nutrient dense foods before you head out for the festivities.
So often when we know we’re heading out to a shindig in the evening, we deprive ourselves of food all day, “saving” the calories for later. The reality is, your body will be STARVING for nutrients and you will find yourself diving headfirst into any tray of h'orderves that passes your way.
Instead, fill your body with amazing foods during the day (seasonal soups made with local ingredients, smoothies etc.) before heading out. This will give your body the nutrients it needs so it won’t be looking for the quick-fix come party-time.
- ENJOY without guilt.
We are MEANT to enjoy the pleasures of life…and food is one of them! So allow yourself to enjoy the treats without the guilt. Guilt actually creates a stress response in our body which shuts down digestion and elevates cortisol.
So instead of shoving the whole bowl of Lindt Chocolates down your throat hoping no one will notice (including yourself), choose to savour the treats! Chew slowly and ENJOY. EVERY. MORSEL. I guarantee that if you approach the sweet eats this way, you will eat less and get a whole lot more satisfaction out of it.
- Listen to your body.
How many times have your found yourself unzipping your pants after a meal at the holiday table and then waddling over to the couch to sleep off the food coma? This year, I encourage you to listen to your body. You can do this by slowing down when you eat so your brain has an opportunity to receive the “I’m satisfied” signal BEFORE the zipper has to be undone, or you have to change into your stretchy pants.
Aim to eat until you’re about 75% full…think about eating to a point where you feel satisfied, but would still be able to go for a brisk walk. Don’t worry…the leftovers will be there the next day!
- Move your body and get outside (but be gentle on yourself).
In the past around holidays, I’ve found myself committing to more exercise (because I’m off work, I have more time, right?). Year after year, this approach has left me wallowing in a puddle of guilt and self-loathing. Ever found yourself there? What if, instead, you committed to whatever movement makes your body feel good?
Absolutely, you should move your body, but allow it to be about enjoyment during the holidays (and all year, come to think of it!). Maybe it’s getting outside for a walk in the snow. Maybe it’s snowshoeing. How about going skating? What about a dance-party with your friends and family?
And, make it a family affair…enjoy an amazing meal with your family (that you've chewed slowly and savoured while eating to 75% fullness), wait half an hour and then go for a walk around the block. This will not only be great for everyone’s physical heatlh, but it’s an excellent hit for your mental health. Who knows...perhaps an impromptu snow-ball fight may ensue!
- Express Gratitude.
Even if you don’t celebrate the holidays, don’t have family or friends close by and want nothing to do with gift-giving or receiving, make a conscious effort to express gratitude. Make it a practice for the next two weeks to jot down three things you’re grateful for first thing in the morning and just before you go to bed. This simple exercise can shift your perspective and your mood, and do wonders for both physical and mental health.
This time of year can be hard for many people. The focus and emphasis on spending time with family can bring with it a sense of loneliness and loss for many. So, please be kind to others because you never know what they are going through.
Whatever you are experiencing this season, know that you are being thought of, you are loved and you are absolutely worth taking care of yourself.
"Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness."
-Lucius Annaeus Seneca