The holiday season is a time of celebration and indulgence. But all the wonderful things that make the holidays great — large meals, rich desserts, elaborate appetizers, and the freedom to laze around the house all day — can wreak havoc on your health. Even if you’re careful to practice healthy habits through the winter, you’ll still find yourself at the mercy of holiday stress and infectious germs. Thankfully, you don’t have to slog through the holidays feeling run down and depleted. Check out our tips below to keep your brain and body in tip-top shape.
Keep Your Body Moving
As the days get darker and colder — and life gets busier — it becomes harder and harder to exercise. But engaging in regular physical activity will help you stay energized, sleep better, and burn off those extra holiday calories. Look for ways to maintain an active lifestyle. For example, you could join a Pilates class from Absolute Pilates, hit the slopes for some downhill skiing, or bundle up and head out for a walk.
Your mind will also benefit from some physical activity. You may have heard that exercise releases “feel-good” endorphins in your brain — and it’s true! These endorphins act as natural painkillers to produce a sense of relaxation and wellbeing, which we could all use when the weather turns gloomy. Exercise is also important for moderating blood cortisol levels to keep stress under control.
Struggling to find the motivation to exercise? You’re not alone. Getting started is the hardest part! A fitness tracker or smartwatch is an excellent workout accessory to keep you accountable. For example, the Apple Watch includes workout-friendly features like daily activity tracking and real-time exercise metrics that will keep you going when you feel like throwing in the towel.
Enjoy All Things in Moderation
Staying healthy over the holidays doesn’t mean passing on all of the things you love. As True Citrus explains, moderation is the key to enjoying the holidays without hurting your mental or physical health. Aim to eat healthy most of the time but give yourself permission to indulge in your favorite treats once in a while without feeling guilty about it. When it comes to unhealthy foods, eat only those you really love. You don’t have to fill your plate with everything on the menu. The same goes for drinking. To curb your consumption of cocktails, alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks like flavored sparkling water.
Fill Your Plate with Veggies
During holiday meals, it’s easy to load your plate with heavy foods that sit like a brick in your stomach. Instead, try to fill half your plate with vegetables. This will leave less room on your plate for buttery, sugary, and otherwise unhealthy side dishes. Vegetables are nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods that will keep you feeling bright-eyed and energized all day long. Plus, eating plenty of vegetables will ensure you get the nutrients your body needs to strengthen your immune system against diseases like the cold, flu, or COVID-19.
Give Yourself a Break
No matter how much planning and prep work you do in advance of the holidays, this time of year is bound to be a little stressful. Give yourself a break this year! Learn to say “no” and delegate some of your holiday responsibilities to friends and family members. For example, if you always host a holiday party for your family, ask someone else to take it on this year. Keep your décor minimal, go easy on the gifts, and remember to treat yourself. Developing a simple self-care routine is an excellent way to prioritize your wellbeing over the holiday season. Remember, the holidays are a time to relax.
When it comes to healthy living, balance is key. Don’t beat yourself up about indulging a little over the holidays! That said, you can get a head start on your new year’s resolutions by implementing a few healthy habits before all the stress, snacking, and socializing begins.
Want to try Pilates over the holidays? Absolute Pilates offers affordable classes for people of all fitness levels. Register for a free consultation to discuss your goals and determine if Pilates is right for you!