Staying healthy during the holidays can be a bit challenging when it comes to focusing on maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle, but it doesn't have to if you follow some healthy tips to ensure your success.
1. Eat a Snack Before Going Shopping
If you're eating out, going shopping, or going to a party, grab a healthy snack first. Why? Hunger is a slippery slope on which it's really hard to balance. The scene is pretty familiar you're famished and you're waiting for a meal at a restaurant or you’re at a party or shopping for food and suddenly hunger strikes. What happens? You eat a basket of rolls, gobble up the hors d'oeuvres, grab whatever fast food is handy, or buy more food at the market than you really need. Plan your day so you eat before you shop and stow a healthy snack in your bag. Healthy snacks include seasonal fruit like apples and pears, vegetables like carrots, radishes, or broccoli florets and nuts like almonds or walnuts which pack a decent amount of protein.
Physical activity is the clearest step you can take to benefit your health during the holidays and any time of year. It is certain to make you feel good and help your body and brain function better. If you're stuck in the office, make opportunities to walk or take stairs for at least 10 minutes at a time. If you prefer to get some fresh air, bundle up, throw on some comfortable shoes and go out for a brisk walk around lunch time.
3. Make Time to Relax
Relax your body and mind. When you are relaxed you sometimes get more done and feel better doing it. When you feel wound up or overwhelmed, take five minutes to breathe deeply and scan your body from head to toe. Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose to a count of four, hold your breath for a count of two, breathe out through your mouth for a count of four, and repeat. Check your forehead, jaw and tongue for tightness, relax; then check your neck and shoulders, stretch and move them to find a comfortable position, then continue with your arms, chest, abdomen and legs. You can even breathe and relax your body while driving...just don’t close your eyes! :)
4. Stay Mindful
Researchers agree that the key to a happy life is to appreciate what you have. Dwell on the positive, and your mood quickly lifts. Spend five minutes each night during the holiday season reflecting on the good things that happened to you that day, even if they seem inconsequential. The sky at sunset, the loving look in a baby’s eyes, a gift from a friend, a tasty meal, a funny incident at work. Human minds tend to skew toward the negative to alert us to predators and other threats, so you need to make a special effort to correct the bias.
5. Plan Playdates, not Potlucks
People love eating and drinking. But people (real adult people, not just little kids) also love playing! So, instead of hosting yet another holiday potluck, plan a playdate with your friends and family, make a snowman, toss a Frisbee, have an arts-and-crafts afternoon and focus on the FUN, not just the food.