How To Stay Healthy This Holiday Season!
It seems that the holidays always brings with it an automatic increase in activities in all departments. Kids will have Christmas programs, classroom parties, cookie exchanges and adults, well, the social activities tend to be endless during this festive season!
In order to not miss the true meaning of this season and the abundance of joy that it offers, it is important to take good care of your own health and respective stress levels!
Here are some strategies to help you navigate this season…
CREATE SOME QUIET TIME IN YOUR DAY
Whether you wake at 4:30am or close your office door after lunch or possibly find some time after the kids and/or other roommates retire for the evening, finding 20 minutes of peace will be an energy saver. Use this time to reflect on your blessings, pray, meditate, do yoga or stretch or simply just sit and be still. Your blood pressure (and respective stress level) will thank you!
With the weather changes and the various temperatures we often go in and out of throughout our day, it is easy to become dehydrated. Teach your kids and family members to carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go- at home, school, work and/or in your car. To make your hydration a little more interesting, try fresh mint or basil along with some sliced fruit for a delicious change of pace. A great trick for alleviating digestive distress is to start your day with a glass of warm lemon water.
This meal is providing you energy to start your day off right. Plus, studies have shown that breakfast eaters are less likely to over-indulge later in the day.
REMOVE DISTRACTIONS WHILE EATING.
It is so easy to multitask in the technology driven world we live in. Cell phones, laptops, ipads….oh my! It’s no wonder that we finish eating and often times don’t really recall having looked at, much less enjoyed, our food. Take a few minutes while eating to examine your food and focus on the taste, texture and smell of each item, you will be much less likely to overeat and find yourself more satisfied after each meal.
AVOID BRIGHT LIGHTS AND THE COLOR RED.
Bright lights and lots of noise can speed up the rate at which you eat and cause you to feel stress. The color red has been shown to stimulate appetite more than any other, so be cognizant of your surroundings when you eat!
CHEW EACH BITE TWICE AS LONG AS YOU NORMALLY DO.
Try this experiment- Eat a bite of food, chew 20 times and then swallow. Repeat. Not only will it improve digestion by breaking your food better, but you will likely take time to recognize your hunger cues. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to receive the signals from the stomach that we are content or full. These signals can easily get overlooked when we race to eat a meal as fast as possible.
USE SMALLER DISHES & GLASSES.
Until the 1960’s the dishes we ate off of were around 9 inches in diameter. Today, the average plate is 12 inches, making it so much easier for our portions to be larger. Using smaller dishes will help keep your portion sizes under control and if you serve your holiday cocktail or glass of wine in a smaller cup, you will keep your liquid calories to a minimum as well.
FILL UP ON THE GOOD STUFF- BEFORE YOU HEAD TO A HOLDAY PARTY!
Eat a small meal before heading off to any holiday gathering. This will allow you time to enjoy socializing and keep you from arriving famished at your respective gatherings! When it’s time to eat at the gatherings, make a point to fill your plate with leafy vegetables and lean protein before anything else. This approach will naturally leave you only a little space on your plate for the more indulgent items.
OFFER UP A NUTRITIOUS DISH FOR YOUR PARTIES.
If you are in charge of contributing to an event at the office, school or with family and friends, choose something nutritious (yet delicious) to share. A roasted vegetable platter, hearty salad or any other fresh and light option will likely be welcomed among the more typical indulgent party foods.
ENJOY YOUR INDULGENCES!
If you are going to enjoy some of the delicious offerings at an event or at home, take time to eat each bite with intention and thoroughly savor the appearance, taste and texture.
IF YOU GO FOR SECOND HELPINGS, MAKE IT GREEN & LEAN.
If you have enjoyed a plateful of food but still are not feeling satisfied, make your second helpings healthy greens and lean protein. This tactic is a great one to incorporate for everyday eating and will help you meet your minimum needs of nine fruits/veggie servings per day.
STASH HEALTHY SNACKS AT WORK SO OFFICE GOODIES DON’T BECOME YOUR GO-TO SNACK.
Lack of proper snacks throughout your day is the most likely reason you will end up eating the office cookies, cakes or holiday goodies that will typically be around the office this time of year. Eating snacks between meals is often necessary to keep blood sugar levels stable and to keep those sugary sweets from becoming a daily habit. Keep small containers of nuts, seeds and fresh fruit and veggies on hand for quick and easy snacks.
BRUSH YOUR TEETH AFTER A MEAL.
Once you have finished a meal, freshen your palate with a quick teeth cleaning. This trick will be a cue to stop munching and will make you better able to wait until you are actually hungry again to start eating.
MOVE IT TO LOSE IT!
We’ve heard it a thousand times but it’s true, every little bit of exercise we can incorporate into our day really helps. Instead of rushing to get everywhere this season, park farther away and enjoy a brisk walk to your destination. Offer a helping hand cleaning up a neighbor’s yard, the garage or a space at work. Take a family walk (even in the rain) or bike ride and savor the sights and smells that this season has to offer.
Positivity is contagious. Make a point to recognize and reflect each day on the many blessings that surround you. The practice of being grateful will help keep your stress in perspective and make you feel more fulfilled (and less likely to need a cookie for comfort!).
For more information on how to feel your best and have less stress this month and beyond, email email@example.com.