The holiday party season is officially underway in our household! As I have been updating our calendar this morning with everything we have going on in the coming weeks, I felt compelled to share some tips that I have found to be helpful over the years to help manage stress / maintain my wellness during the craziness of the holidays. I hope you find them to be helpful too! And don't forget to share any of your favorite tips in the comments. :)
Tip #1: Stick to your regular routine.
While traveling to be with family, late nights out with old friends, kids being home from school for vacation and holiday house guests can throw a wrench in your normal day-to-day, try to stick to your usual routine as much as feasibly possible. I know how tempting it may be to skip your regular morning run or sweat sesh because you have house guests to entertain, but if you can still fit it into your schedule, do it. Your body and mind will thank you for your regularly scheduled burst of endorphins and let's face it: the more we make exceptions for things that that take us out of our element, the more likely we are to stray from our routine entirely, making it challenging to get back into the swing of things come the new year. Who wants to start the new year already stressed out? Sticking to your routine also helps you keep stress at bay because your body and mind know what to expect. Yes, things will come up that are out of the ordinary, but you're more apt to take it in stride because the rest of the world around you is business as usual.
Tip #2: #TreatYoSelf (wisely).
The holidays are definitely a time to #treatyoself and you absolutely should! Yes, really! Moderation, not deprivation, is your friend here and the holidays are the time to indulge a little bit. If you totally deprive yourself of a treat that you enjoy or look forward to, you're more likely to binge harder on it later. So yes - treat yourself a little bit! And as for an easy way to keep your treats in check? I have found it helpful to think of what's coming next after the party / gathering / reunion. For example, if you have your office holiday party Friday night and a spin class that you've already registered (ahem, *paid*) for early Saturday morning, keep your spin class in the back of your mind while you're at the party. For example: "I'm going to stick to two glasses of wine with water in between so that I have a really kick-ass ride tomorrow"). Another way to stay on track brings me to tip #3...
Tip #3: Eat before you party.
While this tip might bring you back to your college days (good times, amirite?), I'm not referring to making sure your belly is full before a night of drinking at your favorite frat house. The holiday season = all. the. food. It's almost overwhelming how much food is around us during the holidays, isn't it? Plus, each gathering we go to can be more and more tempting to get side-tracked from our health goals...but the power is in your hands. If you're going to a party and you know that you're going to be tempted by the dessert table or your favorite savory appetizer, eat something healthy + substantial beforehand. This way, you're not starving when you get to wherever you're going and your hunger pangs won't be a distraction. Plus, if you arrive with a satisfied belly but you lock eyes from across the room with your favorite ooey gooey baked brie appetizer on the buffet table, if you do indulge, you're more inclined to have a smaller portion since you've already satisfied your appetite. Similarly, if you're going to a party and you're worried that there won't be food that you can eat (hi, my fellow vegans), obviously grab something to eat beforehand but also offer to bring a dish! This is a great way to ensure that you have a go-to option at the party and the host / hostess won't have to stress about making sure there's something there that accommodates your dietary preferences. A win-win.
Tip #4: Stay hydrated.
The parties, the booze, the running around from house to house for family gatherings...it can be a lot on your body. While sipping a glass of champagne or wine at parties is definitely a given, don't forget to drink your water, too. Your body will thank you! If you're the kind of person who always has to have a drink of some sort in-hand at a party, alternate your glass of wine or beer with a water. Staying properly hydrated will also help keep cravings for seconds (or thirds) from the buffet table under control.
Tip #5: Take time for yourself.
Yes, I know the holiday season is about giving to others and yes, I know that amidst the hustle and bustle it can be challenging to put yourself first....but you are a priority, too. It's so easy to neglect our own health and well-being for the sake of others, but I really want to encourage you to take care of yourself, in whatever way that may resonate most with you. Maybe it's having someone else in your family cook dinner one night during a week when you or your family have a lot going on or treating yourself to a pedicure on your lunch break and reading some of that book that has been collecting dust on your nightstand. By taking time for yourself, you'll be able to give more fully to those around you.
What are some other ways that you stay well during the holidays? I'd love to hear them! :)