SWIFT SMARTS: 6 Simple Ways to Survive and Thrive throughout the Holidays
Welcome to the holidays! For some of us, it’s a joyous time of the year, and for others it can be a challenge. No matter which camp you fall into, one thing is for certain, to get through the season of giving, we need to remember to be kind to ourselves as well! Here are a few ways to embrace the season and help keep stress levels down, from now ‘till 2015 and beyond:
1) Treat your body to a time-out.
Making time for simple pleasures and carving out time away from computers and smartphones is essential, particularly during the holiday season! Remember to decompress and de-stress your body with a few minutes in the steam room at the gym, or book a pedicure or massage. If time is tight, something as simple as a good soak in a hot bubble bath can do wonders. Only have a minute? Then bust stress instantly with my favorite qigong move.
2) Give your brain regular vacations.
And when I say vacation, I mean meditation! Though it may seem difficult to drown out the noise of life at this celebratory time of the year, give your brain a gift and take 5 or 10 minutes a day to calm the mind with meditation. If you’re new to the practice, try a guided mediation to help you get into the groove more easily. Check out my dear friend Belleruth Naparstek’s guided imagery resources at www.healthjourneys.com.
3) Eat strategically.
Curb the temptation to over-eat by having a healthy snack or mini-meal before you head out to all those cocktail parties and events. Small quantities of good-for-you protein shakes, hard-boiled eggs, apples, olives, hummus, almond butter, miso soup or Greek yoghurt with fruit and nuts can help keep you from over-indulging on anything-but-healthy party foods. And if you do overdo it on party foods, forgive yourself and commit to making better choices next time!
4) Drink a lot…
…of water that is – particularly during the busy holiday season. Salty foods, caffeine, overheated offices and even stress can be dehydrating, and make you feel lethargic when you need to be on your game. Dehydration can also take a bite out of your immune system, so remember to drink up to help your body fight off seasonal ills.
5) Party less hard.
Because there are health benefits associated with wine consumption, many people think that wine somehow doesn’t count calorically, or that it’s not detrimental to the body – but it’s simply not true. There is no such thing as an alcoholic free pass, so be honest with yourself, and take it slow, no matter what your drink of choice. If you drink hard liquor cocktails, water them down with lots of club soda, and if you’re making a night of it, alternate each alcoholic drink with a tall glass of water or club soda. Doing so will help keep you hydrated, slow the alcohol’s entry into your bloodstream and give your liver more time to process the alcohol. Another benefit of drinking less and more slowly – you’ll keep your wits about you and be able to keep a closer watch on what you’re eating.
6) Keep moving.
During the holidays, even though time is short, do your best to maintain a regular exercise routine. Though you may not have time for an hour on the treadmill four times a week, try to squeeze in at least 2 or 3 workouts a week and walk everywhere to help pick up the slack. Even if you have to cut your exercise sessions a little short, some exercise is better than none at all so keep at it! The feeling of accomplishment for staying on track (or close to it) is a reward unto itself!
For more thoughts on how to keep your body well no matter the season, check out my recent post 7 Steps to a Healthier You!