Eating well, sleeping well, keeping stress down, and exercising is challenging any day, but the winter holiday season creates a need for triple the effort. Add on the pandemic and this season is overwhelming to say the least.
Over the years it has become easier to stay on track and make my health a priority even during more difficult times, but this was definitely not always the case. These are my top tips for keeping your goals in sight and still enjoying the moment.
Make a plan: Without a plan, we set ourselves up for failure. This year we aren't just planning for how to avoid our favorite holiday sweets, but also how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Plan ahead how you'll be spending time and be upfront with friends and family. Mail gifts, use zoom, keep your distance, and create new ways to enjoy the holidays. Know your schedule for days off and find time for exercise even if it's short. Lastly, know what's on the menu so you don't have surprises that lead to poor food decisions.
Use support: Sharing your goals or plan with a supportive person can help you make decisions that reinforce your intentions. Whether they are with you in person or just a friend you can text, the comfort of having someone on your side is tremendous.
Keep your goals in sight: Write out affirmations, put your vision board out where you see it every day, post notes on your mirror, and write your goals in your journal. Don't let your goals out of your sight this season.
Listen to your gut: Nope, not the hungry one. I'm talking about that inner voice that is constantly telling you what is best for you whether you are usually listening or not. The more in touch we are with ourselves, the better choices we will make. Practicing yoga and meditation on a regular basis can help this voice grow louder so you can strengthen your intuition.
Don't skip meals: Most of us have skipped a meal knowing we are feasting later. This isn't the best idea. By eating even a small meal we are less likely to be starving when that larger meal comes around. This means we will be in better control and not as likely to fill up on appetizers and cookies.
Invest in snacks: If you can't be trusted around junk food or comfort food then you should always be prepared with healthier options. Eating a snack prior to eating out or taking food with you can help you eat smaller portions instead of consuming unhealthy foods that you know you won't feel good about later. I've even taken full meals with me to functions where I know there won't be much for me to eat. Do you!
Prepare your own dish: Going along with number 6, if we want to have healthier food options then we have to take more responsibility and make our own. There is no shortage of healthy recipes online and just because something is labeled healthy doesn't mean it won't taste delicious. Whether you want to prepare the whole meal for your family or just prepare a side you can enjoy, it's worth it to have an item you feel good about.
Walk: If our exercise routine is off or even if we don't have one, walking is one of the best and easiest ways to get moving. Bundle up and take a stroll with a loved one outside. Your body and your mind will thank you.
Keep it simple: Keep recipes simple or don't make as much. Don't do things that stress you out if you don't have to. For some it could be minimal decorations, staying home instead of going out, exercising, meditating, or spending less money. When in doubt remember Keep It Simple!
Savor the moment: If we eat something yummy, savor it. Enjoy the moment and appreciate good food. Celebrate company over food by making time together worthwhile even if it looks different this year. Remember what is most important. Send a card to someone you won't see in person, if you were more fortunate this year donate time or money to help someone that wasn't. And most of all, step away from social media and your screens for as much time as you can handle and savor every moment.