10 Ways to Thrive (Not Just Survive) This Holiday Season
The air is crisp and cool (especially in Minnesota), which means that the festive and fun holiday season is just a few weeks away. Are you excited for the upcoming holiday season?
While I love this joyful, festive, and fun time of year I also know how it can take a toll on us with more social gatherings, parties, late nights, and the gift giving season.
As a recovering CPA , sugar, and caffeine addict turned holistic health and wellness coach, this time of year always brings back memories of when I ran myself into the ground with too many late nights and over indulging in food, alcohol and, of course, sweets!
My late nights working and going to parties meant I skimped on sleep and therefore, would often skip workouts. Come January I would jump on the New Year’s Resolution band wagon, hit the gym again, and obsess about my food choices.
My journey to health and happiness is one that has evolved over the past 30+ years. I didn’t start eating and taking care of myself the way I do today overnight. I’ve approached my own journey with an open mind and have experimented with dozens of treatments, approaches, foods, supplements, exercise programs and lifestyle hacks, and to this day I am very much a work in process.
I am here to inspire you change up any holiday habits that you want to improve this year and fully enjoy this fun, festive, and wonderful time of year.
- Start your day off with a protein and nutrient rich smoothie. This is especially important the day of a party or gathering with friends. This one drink will provide you with a good dose of vitamins and minerals to keep you going strong all day. Plus, it will help you maintain your blood sugar and feel fuller longer, which will allow you to make better food choices later in the day. You can even enjoy a smoothie before you head out to a social gathering so that you’re not starving when you arrive. I love making a variety of seasonal smoothies (and bowls); click here for recipes and inspiration.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. When at a party or celebration, consume one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. This will help you you stay hydrated and control your intake. Watch out for sugary cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. A few of my favorite low sugar drinks (which can be easily made non-alcoholic) are kombucha mixed with a clear liquor, soda or sparkling water topped with limes and fresh mint. I also love Twisted Shrub apple cider vinegar based drink mixers. My latest favorite cocktail is something I call a “spicy margarita” which is simply tequila blanco with muddled jalapeños, fresh lime juice and soda water (and salt on the rim if desired).
- Get your heart rate up with a good workout several times a week. You’ll feel more energized, happy and positive all day from the endorphins that are released when you exercise. When you feel more confident and better in your own skin you’re likely to make better food choices that evening. This is especially important the day of a social gathering. The morning after a big night, try to include a light to moderate workout in order to flush out any toxins from the night before. Too cold to move outside and no time for the gym? Use my HIIT and Strength Tabata guide and do a quick 10-15 minute workout in the comfort (and warmth) of your own home. Maybe make a date with a friend to enjoy a brisk walk the next morning. Movement, conversation with close friends and sunlight all do wonders to boost our mood and overall health.
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats throughout the day, including a healthy snack an hour or so before heading out to a party, When you feed your body a variety of whole foods including fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, healthy fats and protein, your body will naturally crave fewer salty, sweet and processed foods (I promise).
- Set your intention for the evening so that you can feel your best and live your best life. Maybe your goal is to connect with people who you enjoy spending time with and who you haven’t seen in awhile. Or you could strike up a conversation with someone you’ve never met and find out what you have in common.
- Start the evening with an “attitude of gratitude”. Be thankful for your hosts and the effort that everyone made to spend time together. I often hear people complain about how busy they are this time of year. It’s easy to get focused on your to do list and jam-packed calendars; however, I encourage you to remember what is truly important for you this time of year and find happiness in something you do every day.
- Chew your food! It sounds basic, but most of us ‘inhale’, rather than actually chew, our food. Digestion begins in the mouth with the activation of saliva. If we eat too quickly, our body has to work harder to digest. Try to chew 20 times before swallowing. This will also have the effect of letting your stomach catch up to your brain. Being mindful of your eating will also increase your enjoyment of it.
- Enjoy food at social gatherings! Fill your plate with foods that nourish your body, and offer to bring a dish to share so you know you’ll have at least one option that feels good for you. I like to fill my plate with veggies and hummus, olives, and these yummy cinnamon spiced or lemon rosemary spiced mixed nuts, both of which make perfect hostess gifts. These chocolate nut clusters will satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you satiated with the healthy fats so you never need to feel deprived.
- Sleep! Sleep deprivation is real and can result in weakened immune system, eating more and more unhealthy foods as well as impaired cognitive function (think memory, alertness etc). Remember that alcohol and sugar can affect the quality of your sleep, so if you’re having trouble sleeping, you may want to take note of foods and beverages that could be contributing to the problem.
- Enjoy social gatherings with family and friends including your favorite traditional foods and drinks. Be kind to yourself if you do “over indulge”! Tomorrow is always another day to start fresh and maintain your healthy habits. And remember, health is a journey not a destination.
If you’re looking for a holistic approach to health and wellness, someone who will listen, offer recommendations based on your specific needs and will help you address the root of your concerns then schedule your FREE 30-minute consultation with me today.
Interested in becoming part of a community of like-minded women over the upcoming holiday season? Check out my Thrive, Not Just Survive This Holiday Season 30-day group program and use code WCTC10 for 10% off.
Stephanie is a certified Integrative Health Practitioner and holistic health coach who empowers women to transform their health through nutrition, mindset, movement and lifestyle by creating sustainable habits for life. You can check out her website, connect with her on Instagram, and subscribe to her podcast, The Art of Living Well.