There are many reasons to anticipate the holiday season: time with your family and friends, familiar traditions, new memories, delicious food, traveling, fun gifts and the anticipation of a new year. The busyness that comes with this time of the year can also throw off your daily routine, sleep schedule and eating habits—but it doesn’t have to!
Here are some practical ways to maintain healthy holiday habits during this time of the year, as well as the months afterward.
Healthy Holiday Habits for Your Routine
1. Get Creative with Exercise
Exercise is significant in relieving stress, improving your mood by releasing endorphins and of course benefiting your overall health.
With the holiday season comes winter weather and darker nights. Since the days are colder and our schedules are busier during these months, it’s easy to fall out of a workout routine—understandably so!
Exercise doesn’t typically happen spontaneously but involves thought and preparation ahead of time, especially when life gets busier.
Find a time of day that works best for you and stick to it. Maybe it’s before or after work, on weekends or even on your lunch break. There are plenty of indoor options: the gym, yoga studios, cycling classes, kickboxing. Or for a more budget-friendly option, there are plenty of free workouts on YouTube—from cardio to blogilates and everything in between, right in the comfort of your own home! Here are some other ideas for quick at-home workouts.
If you prefer to run or exercise outdoors, try finding a running group so you don’t have to run alone when it’s dark out.
2. Keep Your Portions in Check
It isn’t the holiday season without endless amounts of food! With Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas parties, our waistline often feels the effects of heavy comfort food. Don’t feel like you need to restrict yourself from some of your favorite holiday foods; allow yourself to enjoy the season!
With that being said, staying mindful of your portions can go a long way. If you love stuffing, cheesy casseroles or pecan pie, stick to one serving instead of doubling-back for seconds. A small serving can be just as satisfying as a large one!
3. Make Healthier Meals at Home
Since holiday meals and parties are often heavy on the calories, be mindful of the meals you’re eating at home or eating out. Lightening up these meals can balance out the party food. More than that. all kinds of illesses spread during these colder months, so adding in immune-boosting foods to your own meals can help keep you healthy.
Some ideas: oranges, red bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, yogurt and green tea.
We’ve also put together a list of superfoods that benefit both your health and teeth. These are great to add to your list of healthy holiday habits.
4. Opt for Water
Try to choose water as much as possible as certain drinks, especially sugary drinks like flavored lattes or eggnog, can easily have as many calories as your food!
Once again, you don’t need to completely restrict yourself from these things (because honestly, where’s the fun in that?), but water impacts your energy levels and flushes toxins out of your system, as well as many other things. Your body will thank you for staying hydrated during the rush of the holiday season!
5. Find Healthy Ways to Relieve Stress
Take time for yourself so that you can recharge. Maybe it’s going for a walk in the neighborhood or a trip to the store on your own. It’s easy to go from one event to the next or focus on taking care of others, but don’t forget to take care of yourself!
Knowing how you typically respond to stress can help you determine healthy ways to take care of yourself. Be cautious of unhealthy habits to deal with stress, like emotional eating. Exercise or making time for your favorite hobbies are good ways to practice handling stress healthily. If you need some other ideas, here’s a list of healthy and natural ways to relieve stress.
And if you have time off during the hoidays, be sure to take it! Don’t add to your stress by trying to work during your time off. Take time to rest so when you return to work, you are ready to work hard and do a good job.
6. There’s an App for That!
There really is an app for everything these days, especially health and fitness. Many of these apps are free and convenienty track different aspects of your health and help you set goals to improve it. You can download an app to help improve your quality of sleep, like SleepCycle, or track your workouts and food intake with an app like MyFitnessPal. Sometimes writing out your daily meals helps keep your intake in check.
Here are some of the top health and fitness apps of 2019 if you need some ideas.
The holiday season is definitely worth splurging on some of your favorite things—just make sure not to go overboard, especially at the expense of your health! Maintaining healthy holiday habits during these busy months will require some preparartion and intentionality, but these tips will help make it more practical.
Have you found other ways to take care of yourself during the holidays? Let us know in the comments below.
Here’s to a happy, healthy holiday season!