While the holidays can bring out joy and excitement, there is also more stress from added demands on schedule, finances, and travel plans. Though these stressors can take a toll on your mental and physical health, I have good news! It doesn’t have to drag you down. Approach this time of year with 4 tips to stay healthy through the holidays.
Consume Plenty of Fiber With Each Meal
It’s not unusual for our eating habits to shift during the holidays. In order to feel your best, it’s important to consider your fiber intake. Why? Fiber helps keep you full, controls your blood sugar, and supports digestion. It also feeds the good bacteria in your gut – so very important.
The primary sources of fiber would be vegetables and fruit, as well as legumes and whole grains. You don’t find much fiber in breakfast cereals, but old-fashioned oats with some chopped nuts would do the trick. If you eat bread, check the label. You want at least 3g of fiber per serving.
Incorporate Movement Throughout The Day
With the added commitments of the holidays, it can seem impossible to get a regular time for workouts. So just focus on movement. You can take short breaks for some lunges or add some crunches while you are on the floor with the kids. When a toddler wants to be picked up, curl them a couple times before perching them on your hip.
Cleaning and decorating count as movement too. Cleaning is a physical activity, and you can raise your heart rate pushing a vacuum cleaner, scrubbing a tub or window, even moving up and down stairs repeatedly. When decorating, put on some tunes and add some dance steps and singing – joy in movement!
Prioritize Quality Sleep
Quality sleep is vital for your overall health. The last 18 months’ wavering schedules and uncertainty disrupted many people’s sleep routines, assuming they had one. I’ve shared before about what I call sleep hygiene, the practice of which has helped my clients improve their sleep.
Circadian rhythm – an internal process that regulates the sleep cycle – plays a significant part in the quality of sleep. You can stabilize the circadian rhythm by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. If you spend a lot of time looking at electronic screens, wear blue-light blocking glasses to reduce the disruption to your circadian rhythm.
Practice Stress Management Techniques
Chronic stress over time can have major ramifications on your health. Though I don’t believe we can fully eliminate stress, I’ve shared several approaches for moderating it.
Focus on finding joy in things you do every day and having a gratitude practice. Both of these can help to shift your body into the parasympathetic nervous system and lower your cortisol levels. Less stress will help your digestion work more effectively and support better sleep.
The holidays often involve heightened activities and emotions. Simply holding on and riding it out can be a challenge. Yet using these tips to support your mind and body during the holidays will help you come through favorably.