Top 20 Tips for a Healthy & Happy Holiday (#1 & #15 are my favorite)
This is my absolute favorite time of year. I love holiday decorations, the music, parties and even the hustle and bustle of crowded stores and busy shoppers.
Yet it can also be very stressful. Studies have shown that 88% of adults feel the holidays are too stressful and according to the American Psychological Association 41% turn to food and 28% turn to alcohol to manage their angst.
I remember years ago someone asked me, “How were your holidays?” and after a long pause I responded, “I have no idea.”
I felt like I had been on a super high-speed train from Thanksgiving to Christmas and everything in between was just a blur.
And while it was still fuzzy, I did know Christmas was over, I was sick, exhausted, and suddenly sad. I had been so frantically “busy” that I missed out on the joy and fun of my favorite holiday season.
That day I decided I was never going to do that again. So, I sat down and wrote my own holiday manifesto with the intention to create future holidays that were light and fun and meaningful and had more bliss and less blur.
I found it so helpful, I turned it into Top 20 Tips to have a Happy and Healthy Holiday.
I recommend that you use all the ideas that work for you and then add your own special touch.
Remember every day is truly a gift and we all have the power and ability within us to make each one count.
- Decide what you really what for this holiday? What is one thing that really matters? What must happen to achieve that? (Remember perfect doesn't exist, aim for meaningful)
- Create Magic Moments this holiday. What do you love most about the holidays? Take the time to create and appreciate those moments. They don’t have to be big- they can be as simple as singing along to your favorite holiday song, taking the time to laugh with a friend or enjoying the magical sparkle of Christmas tree lights or Hanukah candles
- Celebrate Connection - We put a lot of focus on food, drinks, and presents, remember the time you spend with family and friends is what matters most. Who do you truly want to spend time with this holiday season? Or if that is not possible, how might you create a new meaningful connection.
- You feel what you focus on. If you are feeling stressed, notice what you are focusing on and re-frame or re-focus. What would serve you better?
- Enjoy and embrace what you are doing. If you are feeling overloaded or overwhelmed give yourself permission to say NO – sometimes less really is more.
- Create a schedule that includes exercise, sleep, and fun in addition to work and other responsibilities. Write it down. Many of us are unrealistic about what we can accomplish during this time and that increases stress.
- Breath- Try the 4x4x4 - Breath in for the count of 4, hold for 4 and release for the count of 4. You can even do this at a holiday table or party if your friends and family are stressing you out.
- Meditate, pray, or keep a gratitude journal daily.
- Prioritize Sleep- it’s important to get 7-9 hours especially during the busy holidays. Remember getting run down or sick takes much more time and can put a real damper on the season.
- He gu - With your index finger and thumb, apply firm pressure to the webbing between the thumb and index finger of your other hand. Massage the pressure point for four to five seconds, taking slow, deep breaths.
- Shen men: top of wrist, pinky side- massage for a minute when feeling stressed
- Yin Tang- midpoint between eyes…3rd eye. Massage in slow circular motion. Acupressure points for stress relief:
- Choose Water or Seltzer instead of alcohol.
- Don't B-line to the bar, talk to people first.
- If you are drinking alcohol alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
- Proximity is Power- while it’s popular to stand by the food table, it’s also a powerful lure to eat more. Try mingling further away from all the temptation.
- Decide what you will eat and drink “before” you get to the event. I have found this to be key in staying healthy over the holidays.
- Choose to eat only green things (unless it’s Saint Patrick’s Day;-).
- Crowd out the unhealthy with healthy vegetables, fruits, nuts, or other healthy proteins.
- If you are the host, experiment with healthier, more plant-based recipes
- If there is an option to dance or move, do it or create it…. it will make the event more fun and you’ll get some extra exercise.
- Involve friends and family into activities during the holidays. Meet for a walk, exercise or dance class before going to a party, play active holiday games.
BONUS: Be Bold and Change the Paradigm- choose a healthy goal starting after Thanksgiving or on Dec. 1st. For example, do a 3-week cleanse, train for walk or run (ex. New Year’s Eve run in the park), do a 21 day yoga or meditation challenge.
From my heart to yours, have a Happy and Healthy Holiday!!
Go out and SHINE!
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