Read this blog post as a reminder to slow down and carve out some time and space to truly nourish yourself this holiday season. At this time of year more than ever, we tend to abandon our own self-care and goals, in the name of getting it all done, perfectionism, and even holiday cheer. We’re sharing our Fully Functional® pro tips for practicing healthy holidays and keeping up with self-care goals.
It’s easy to find ourselves losing touch, running out of steam, and not supporting ourselves nutritionally or spiritually. There is a certain kind of balance that needs to happen this time of year.
We need to care for ourselves in the midst of all the food and the frenzy. To support our health so we can look and feel our best, focus our energies on the people and projects that matter, then enjoy and celebrate! The holidays can lead to spiraling out of control and falling out of healthy habits, but they don’t have to! You can enjoy yourself, live it up and still stay on track, it just takes some effort and a little planning. You’re worth it.
Keep the holidays magical by prioritizing your wellness. After all, who wants to head into a new year feeling sick and exhausted? You can actually feel better by the end of the holiday season with a little focus, intention, and self-care.
Here are some tips and reminders!
How do you want to feel heading into the new year? I doubt exhausted, bloated, and depleted are on the list. Don’t sabotage your health by using this season as an excuse to treat your body poorly. Think of how you want to feel come January and begin working on it now! Write the reasons down! Keeping this front of mind throughout the holidays will help keep you on track.
While some holiday indulgence is expected, keep it under control! The holidays are not an excuse to throw away your healthy habits. Keep the nourishing foods front and center, then indulge! Food is fuel.
Maximize nutrient-dense foods such as veggies, fruits, high-quality proteins, and healthy fats (nuts/seeds/avocado/coconut) for high energy. Not only do whole foods provide the energy-boosting nutrition you need to get you through hectic shopping sprees or extreme holiday decorating, but by eating whole foods, you will naturally “crowd out” energy-draining, nutritionally deficient junk foods and sweets. Choose the good foods, first!
Another tip for fueling up: Keep your blood sugar stable!! Blood sugar spikes lead to blood sugar dips, which means low energy, cravings, mood swings, and worse. Always make sure you include protein, fat, and fiber at each meal and snack! For example an apple with nut butter, a salad with lots of veggies, avocado, and shredded chicken or hard-boiled egg.
Don’t rely on willpower! Eat something with protein and fat before you go and take a healthy dish with you. Don’t try to “save up” your calories for a party during the day, because it will backfire. Hunger and deprivation followed by overeating wreaks havoc with your blood sugar, your digestive and hormonal systems, and can lead to exhaustion, moodiness, bloating, headaches, constipation, and weight gain.
You will get too hungry and set yourself up for some major overindulgence come party time. If you nourish your body in a healthy way the day of the party and eat some protein right before you go, you will still get to enjoy, but will eat less and feel better! If you’re drinking alcohol, choose wisely. Stay clear of the sugary mixed drinks and drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol.
Just because everyone else is overeating holiday treats doesn’t mean you have to. Peer (whether family, friends or coworkers) pressure around food is a very real thing and a lack of support or understanding can be a real challenge for people trying to make dietary changes.
If you’ve changed your diet and lifestyle (or are trying to), but others around you haven’t, it can be very difficult. But if you don’t want it, don’t eat it. Don’t sabotage your goals trying to please people by eating their homemade treats or favorite foods, if you truly don’t want them. Politely say no or “maybe later”. You don’t have to justify yourself. You are in control of your own choices.
The holidays are for celebrating and food brings us together in a special way. Enjoy your special holiday meals, appreciating every ingredient, truly tasting every flavor, and eating the foods that bring you joy, but there are ways to be healthier about it. One trick is to fill your plate with the healthiest foods first so that your most essential nutritional needs are met and you’re satiated. You’re then apt to make better choices.
Once you retrain your mind to gravitate toward healthier options, you’ll be surprised by how satisfying the healthiest foods can be, even at a party. And dessert? Sometimes just a couple of bites of a rich dessert will do the trick. Lingering over a couple indulgent bites allows you to still enjoy the flavor and texture without overdoing it with sugar and empty calories. Did you know that the gratification you get out of eating a special treat drops significantly after just 1 or 2 bites? It’s a scientific fact! Check out our healthy anti-inflammatory recipes here.
If you do over-indulge, bounce back by putting some of our favorite daily detox tips into action.
Hydration is the most basic and important form of nourishment, but often the most neglected, especially when it’s cold. Did you know that the gnawing hunger you sometimes feel throughout the day is not actually hunger, but dehydration? Those headaches and lethargy too? Dehydration.
Most of us go through our days in a constant state of dehydration without realizing it. Your goal should be to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water. Hydration should also be your first step each morning. Drink at least 16 oz. of water before you do anything else in the morning to rehydrate after sleeping and to rev up your digestion. Drink water at room temp or even warm to avoid getting cold. You can also drink herbal teas (caffeinated beverages of any kind do not count- they are dehydrating!)
Schedule them if you have to! It is so easy for the day to slip away, but moving your body during this season is more important than ever, so make it a priority, especially if you’re going to be indulging at a party or holiday dinner. You’ll feel better, more confident, and more able to enjoy things if you keep up your workouts. Not only will it help you burn the extra calories you consume over the holidays, but it is critical for keeping stress levels down and keeping your immune system strong.
C’mon, you know you need to. Endless hours of internet shopping is taking its toll. Take a break. And not just from the shopping, but from the scrolling. Your FB friends will still be on there tomorrow. Take a day off to enjoy undistracted holiday time. Sundays or special holidays are great for this! Turn off the notifications too, because every ding, or knock or chirp, comes with a distraction.
Be fully present with the ones you love, device-free, distraction-free. You’re not missing anything by logging off, but you are missing A LOT in the distraction. It’s so important for us to have periods of time when we’re not interacting with technology when our minds are free to wander and explore when we’re able to simply be present with ourselves and our surroundings. The after-hours work, tweets, or Instagram updates will always be there but these precious holiday moments with loved ones won’t. Be present. Renew your connection to yourself and others.
Ask yourself what you need. An infrared sauna? Time for play? A restorative yoga class? Coffee with a friend? Carve out some time for it!
“It’s not the happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy.” There is so much research out there on the benefits of a simple gratitude practice. Shifting away from stress and toward gratitude has a powerful effect. It can infuse positivity into even the worst of days. What and who are you most thankful for? Just taking even a couple of minutes to shift your focus with a daily gratitude check will increase your sense of well-being immediately! You can journal your thoughts or just make a quick list somewhere!
Commonly this time of year, we get so caught up in the shopping, obligations, and rush of the holidays that we become overstressed and exhausted and lose focus on what’s important. Stress is a joy-stealer. Keep the reasons we celebrate front of mind. Focus on family, friends, and faith rather than the stuff and the to-do lists. Keep it all in perspective. Be mindful and meditative. Choose joy!
Schedule a Consultation Today.
The Center for Fully Functional Health® is led by a team of award-winning, internationally recognized physicians, committed to providing personalized, life-changing care.