The holiday season is upon us! We know what that means – added stress, empty wallets, and increased temptation towards unhealthy choices such as indulging in treats and neglecting your fitness routine.
With shopping to complete and what can feel like a never ending supply of sugary treats and other festive foods, our mental and physical health can suffer around this time of year.
Here are 4 tips to keep your health intact and stress levels down over the holidays:
- 1. Monitor Food Intake
The holidays are a time for indulgence, especially when it comes to food. Often times, we don’t even realize how much food we’ve consumed throughout the day. With a constant stream of gift baskets at the office, endless baking, mounds of candy, and numerous family dinners, it’s best to focus on portion control rather than avoidance. Limit your treat consumption to one or two a day and eat smaller portions with the majority of your plate filled with vegetables.
- 2. Keep Moving
This time of year has the fewest amount of daylight hours. This can cause us to feel unmotivated which can lead to reduced physical activity levels. The cold weather and dark hours are serious physical activity inhibitors! It’s important to incorporate as much physical activity into daily routines as possible this time of year.
There are a number of simple ways to get your heart pumping throughout the day:
• Stand as much as possible
• Clean the house rather than curl up on the couch
• If you are invited to a holiday party with a dance floor, make sure you take full advantage! Dancing is an excellent and fun way to burn calories
There are also many traditional winter activities to take part in that can get everyone in the family active, like sledding or ice skating! Even simply substituting a family winter walk after a dinner instead of a nap can make a difference! Shovelling the snow and building snowmen are also great ways to be active in the winter!
- 3. Limit Liquid Calories
There are many festive holiday drinks to enjoy this time of year and it can be easy to forget that the yummy cider or delicious eggnog comes with a calorie count. Small adjustments, like choosing low-fat, or non-alcoholic beverages can make a positive difference.
As a party host, it is also important to take responsibility for your guests and to make sure they arrive home safely. Provide snacks and small meals, offer non-alcoholic options for beverages, and ensure that each guest has a safe ride home. Taxis, metro transit, designated drivers, or sleeping-over are all great options!
- 4. Take A Moment For You
Let’s be honest, some holiday-related stress is to be expected. Unpredictable weather, flight cancellations, burned meals, and last minute gift shopping are all real possibilities. Looking after your physical and mental health can help you respond more positively to stress.
Keep the fruit and vegetable intake high, and the physical activity levels up. When things get overwhelming, take a walk, a quiet moment alone, or a hot bath. Simply finding quiet alone time can help your mental reaction to stress.
Happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year from everyone at Doctors Nova Scotia!
We’d love to hear some of your ideas. Leave a comment and share with us some of your tips for avoiding a holiday meltdown.