6 Ways to Stay Happy and Healthy this Holiday Season
Here we are as the Holiday season quickly approaches. All of a sudden it is rushing around to shop, bake, host, and travel. While we all would love a warm and cheerful season, that’s not always the case.
Routines are thrown off, stress piles up, and sugary foods fill our guts. And then there is the stress of coordinating plans with whom and where, and what to bring, and then there’s that crazy aunt (don’t we all have one?). It can all get overwhelming, but here are six tips to make wellness part of your holiday season!
1. Learn to Say No and don't over commit
Save yourself from the anxiety and from raising your blood pressure just by simply learning to say no. You can’t be everywhere and please everyone (I know, I’ve tried!). Holiday’s should not be centered around obligations, so stop inviting that stress into your life. Most often times, stress is something we choose whether intentional or not, and it takes learning new habits and breaking old ones to stop choosing it.
For example, one strict boundary I have to not run all over God’s green earth, is that I’m not going anywhere (nor is anyone coming over) before 1 pm on Christmas Day, no exceptions. People can get cranky if they want, but it’s a boundary I set to keep my own sanity. Christmas is sacred, therefor I respect it as so and refuse to stress to fit myself into the schedule of others.
Alexander Chang-Reavis (pictured below) started declining invitations a long time ago to avoid any added stress over the holidays. Stress can be a choice, so just don’t over commit. It is ok to say no!
“The stress that can occur isn’t actual stress. It isn’t something beyond our control. You choose to stretch yourself thin during this time of year, and frankly I think that is, at best, silly that people continue to do this year after year.”– Alexander Chang-Reavis
Life Changing Book: Learn how to establish boundaries and take control over your life, and enjoy your holidays! The book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend is a great start. And let me tell you it is FREEING and wish I read it years ago. They also have editions for Boundaries in Marriage and Boundaries in Family as well. Definitely a must read.
2. Choose ‘Merrier’ Friends!
Choose positive ways to reduce stress to have a great impact on your wellness. Surround yourself with people that you love that are uplifting and inspiring. Hang out with positive people and sign up for a group fitness class to meet more like-minded folk.
The holiday’s can be lovely but not for everyone. Don’t let yourself be lonely, instead meet with those that care about their health and wellness. Sign up for group fitness classes, laugh, have a little fun, sweat off some stress, and don’t wait til after the holidays to do it. Positive people are always around, YOU are the one that just needs to show up! Once you get started, you won’t want to miss.
"Rather than thinking of fitness when it is convenient, it should be thought of as a lifestyle and it’s important to have people around you that think this way as well. Surrounding yourself around people in a group fitness class is a great way to stay accountable and connected in the midst of the insanity of the holidays and madness of life in general. Once you get connected to class for example Hip Hop Fitness in which I teach, you start rearranging your schedule around your classes and wouldn’t dare missing them because it becomes a priority that you just love so much!”- Alisha Allicock from Swerve Hip Hop Fitness
Alisha Allicock - Swerve Hip Hop Fitness
3. Turn Stress into Energy
Channel your stress into a workout. Sure, it may not fix worrying about overcooking a turkey or dreading sitting at a table with someone eagerly waiting to debate politics (again set boundaries!), but a quick workout may help blow some steam help you feel less tense. Try 20 minutes of HIIT of your choice if you just need something quick or sign up for a group class. It will help you walk away feeling stronger physically and mentally.
"We release chemicals in the brain that helps us to feel good, combat stress and stay resilient. These chemicals can linger for up to 72 hours after certain workouts. And finally, group fitness classes are fun, make people laugh and allow us to get our mind off of other things for a while. This can be a helpful channel to help us keep our mindset clear and step away from stressful things for a while. When we return, we have had an increase in oxygen to the brain – and so we tend to be able to think more clearly and make more confident decisions." -Julie Wilkes, Author of The 7 Life Miracles, and Owner of Seven Studios in Columbus, Ohio
4. Inhale, Exhale ahhhhhhhhhh
Before you rush out that door to stress over shopping, baking, hosting, other tasks, and dealing with the crazy aunt, it is important to take time to unwind and reset your mind to continue with relaxation activities and/or to continue your own exercise routine.
Make sure you keep the things during busy schedules and crazy holidays that brings life and calmness to you and for you. Whether it’s yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, prayer, devotions, or a massage; don’t skip it. Your mind, body, and the people around you will be thankful and refreshed that you did!
5. Bring Your Own Treat
Bring your own healthy flare to the party. People will be impressed to find something that tastes delicious plus has quality nutrition! I personally aim for the protein and vegetables first, so I don’t overdo the carbs and sweets. Then have a little something amazing after!
Here are some yummy, healthy, and impressive recipes to try!
- Salted Dark Chocolate Mousse
- Clean Eating Pumpkin Spiced Latte
- Raw Trail Mix Bars with Drizzled Chocolate
- Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes (substitute non-fat plain Greek Yogurt instead of sour cream for extra protein and less fat!)
- Paleo Pumpkin Pie in a Paleo Pie Crust
- Maple Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- The Best Damn Vegan Mashed Potatoes
- Wild Mushroom Gravy
- Charred Green Beans with Garlic and Pomegranate Seeds
- Herbed Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Shooters (Gluten Free!)
6. Enjoy Holidays Without Damaging Yourself
Yes, relaxation and enjoying food and company is needed for the holidays! But Thanksgiving and Christmas are usually four whole weeks apart. People make phenomenal body transformations in just four weeks, so imagine the damage you can equally do by 'enjoying' the holidays every single day.
Enjoy Thanksgiving Day. Give thanks, share, be blessed, and be a blessing; but don't destroy yourself to make more work to do later. Get back to your routine the very next day. You can still build strength and momentum to carry you through the holidays and start the new year on fire.
You can still have a balanced approach to being fit and healthy while enjoying the holidays without gorging yourself everyday. Sign up to lift weights three days a week to get strong and learn how to correctly feed your muscle to burn fat through the holidays. Buy The Three Day Body 90 Day Program here and realize you really can make progress during the holidays.
With these 6 tips into play, you are on your way to enjoying wellness as part of your holiday season! Don’t put it off til the new year again, just take small steps each day towards your own goals. You will be happy, healthy, and strong that you did!
What do you do?
I would love to hear from you! Do you have practices that you keep to stay healthy over the holidays? Or maybe one of these you will try? Please share in the comments below, can't wait to hear your thoughts.