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Five Tips to Stay Healthy Through the Holiday Season

Five Tips to Stay Healthy Through the Holiday Season

Holidays can be magical. They can also be a time when eating well and regular workouts get replaced with work parties, family gatherings, sugary treats, and alcohol. There is a way to stay well this holiday season, however. Below, I’m sharing five things that I do personally to maintain good health, and actually enjoy, the holidays.

1. Relax

Kick off the holiday season with a big, deep breath!

It’s important to take care of yourself during the holidays, but I also encourage you not to be so hard on yourself. When you’re celebrating with your family and friends, allow yourself to be in the moment and enjoy it, rather than stressing yourself out about the things that you’re not doing. Sure, your diet may not be perfect and your workouts less consistent, but it’s ok. Take this time to celebrate, connect, and go with the flow – your routine doesn’t have to be perfect.

2. Indulge Consciously

During the holidays, we often find foods that we don’t eat at any other time of the year on our plates. Give yourself permission to consume these foods, mindfully.

When I travel for the holidays, I don’t have the same type of control over what I’m able to eat and cook as I do when I’m at home. When food is served, I kindly remind myself not to over consume foods that I typically avoid, especially when it comes to sugar. If there is cake, cookies, or pie, I allow myself to take a few bites and savor them. I notice the smells and the texture as I place it in my mouth or take a bite. I give myself permission to enjoy it in moderation, rather than denying myself completely – sometimes denying ourselves the pleasure of these foods can backfire, creating regret, resentment, and binge eating or over-consumption later on.

Allow yourself to have a treat – a few bites won’t completely derail your health.

3. Hydrate

Staying hydrated is really important throughout the holiday season, and in the winter months in general.

The cold, dry air as well as increased alcohol consumption makes it really important to drink water and consistently take electrolytes, as both can be dehydrating. Remember to have three glasses of water for every two alcoholic beverages that you consume, this will allow your body to digest, detoxify, and re-hydrate.

4. Move Your Body

You don’t have to maintain your intense workout routine or anything regimented that you do, but find fun ways to move your body – dance, go for walk, or participate in other movement activities that bring you joy.

When you are spending time with friends and family, invite them to join in on the fun. Encourage everyone to get moving with an after dinner walk, group hike, or 10 minutes of yoga. Not only will you reap the benefits of moving your body – better sleep, increased energy, and a boost in mood – but you’ll get to spend more time with the people you love and create new memories.

5. Be Grateful

It’s easy to get so caught up in the holiday festivities that we forget to take a moment to be thankful for it all.

This holiday season, I encourage you to make time for self-reflection and gratitude. Take time to think about all that you are grateful for in life – the people that have had a positive impact on your life, the places you’ve been, and the opportunities that have come your way.

When you spend time in gratitude, your body relaxes and your adrenal glands slow down production of the stress hormone cortisol, which enables your immune system to function more effectively. Gratitude has also been shown to alter brain waves in a positive way, as it helps us to feel safe in our environment. It creates an internal environment that is more conducive to overall health and healing – perhaps, the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season!


How the Quality of Relationships Impacts Health

How the Quality of Relationships Impacts Health

The Holiday season is here, and for many of us, this means getting together with family and friends and participating in more community-based activities.

These types of connections have the ability to affect our health just as much as eating well, getting adequate sleep, and regular exercise.

Studies have shown that people who have healthy and satisfying relationships are happier, live longer, and have fewer health problems.

On the other hand, a lack of healthy relationships is associated with depression, more rapid cognitive decline later in life, and increased mortality – one study, which examined data from more than 300,000 people, found that lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50% — an effect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, a greater impact than obesity and physical inactivity (1).

It is said that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. I would take that one step further to say we are the sum total of the quality of people we spend time with.

Each time you interact with someone there is a spoken and an unspoken exchange, an exchange of energy – this energy we receive from others can either nourish us or deplete us.

If we engage in healthy, nourishing, and supportive relationships, it has a positive effect on our stress levels, immune function, insulin regulation, and gut health (2).

With that in mind, this holiday season I urge you to take stock of the relationships you have and the people you choose to spend your time with. Make a list of the 5 people in your life that provide you with unconditional love, people who support you and bring joy into your life. Once you’ve made your list, reach out to the people listed, thank them for being a part of your life, and set the intention to spend time with them, if you aren’t already.

Similarly, create a list of the people in your life who drain your energy, people who criticize and judge you, are not supportive of your growth and healing; people who generally take more than they give and leave you feeling depleted. Examine this list and determine the next best step for yourself. It may be that you need to spend less time with the people on this list, or set clear boundaries with them when you do.

This holiday set the intention to have more positive people in your life – not only is it a great way to support your overall health and well-being, you’ll also enjoy the holidays much more!


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