Welcome back!

Hope you enjoyed The ABCs of Holiday Health: Part One.  Keep reading to learn more strategies for a successful holiday season!

 

Make a plan!

Plan your time by creating a calendar of events and activities.  Create a budget to plan your finances for gifts, travel and activities. Plan for health.  Keep healthy snacks on hand to help satisfy your cravings and prevent impulsively indulging in less healthy foods.  Schedule your workout like an appointment.  Add exercise to your calendar so that other obligations don’t get in the way.

 

Notice when you’re full.

If you feel out of touch with your body’s natural cues, try using a Hunger Scale to become reacquainted.  Imagine a meter ranging from 0–10, with 0 being beyond hungry (headaches, dizziness, your body is totally out of energy) and 10 being beyond full (you feel physically miserable and feel like you never want to look at food again). Most people enjoy their food and eat comfortably when they are between 3-6 on the scale.

 

Opt out!

Learn to say no when your calendar is too full.  Consider your priorities. Focus on the high priority items first. If possible, remove low priority items from your list. Consider rescheduling commitments and appointments that can wait until after the holidays.

 

Prevent illness.

Colds and the flu are most prevalent in the winter. Prevent them by washing your hands regularly and urging others to do the same.

 

Quiet time.

We are biologically programmed to slow down during the winter months, which makes this the perfect time to reflect and turn inward.  During these quiet moments, consider freeing yourself from technology.

 

Relax.

It can be difficult to completely avoid the holiday stress, but you can learn healthier ways of responding to it. Learn how to elicit your relaxation response by using progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness meditation, yoga, or guided imagery.

 

Set realistic goals.

Be honest with yourself and acknowledge that it’s unrealistic not to indulge in some holiday treats.  The key is to eat mindfully and in moderation.  Also be … Consider a goal of weight maintenance instead of weight loss during the holidays.

 

There’s an app for that.

Apps can make your life easier, more organized, and even healthier during the holidays. Consider trying an app to help you focus on the positive like Attitudes of Gratitude or Happier, an app to help you stay on track with your eating and exercise like LoseIt or MyFitnessPal, an app to help you plan like Orderly or List Ease, an app to help you save money like Shopkick or Snip Snap, an app to help with gifting like Giftster, or an app to help you stay calm like Smiling Mind or Calm.

 

Understand your limits.

This season often demands a lot of us.  Share household responsibilities with your family. Consider planning holiday parties at a local restaurant, or organize a potluck dinner instead of doing all the food preparation.  Trying to do and be everything can lead to burnout.

 

Volunteer.

Consider the needs in your community, and find opportunities to give as well as receive this holiday season.

 

Watch your portions.

You don’t need to memorize a complete inventory of food serving sizes or carry measuring cups with you to monitor your portions at parties. You can use your hand to easily plan proper portions.  For example, your fist is approximately the size of one cup, your palm is approximately the size of a three-ounce portion of meat, and your thumb is approximately the size of a one-ounce portion of cheese.

 

Xerochilia.

It’s the medical name for having dry lips.  If your lips are chapped, find a good emollient-based lip balm and drink plenty of water.

 

Yams…

Spinach, squash, pumpkins, pomegranate, pears, dates, cranberries, chestnuts, cabbage, carrots, artichokes, apples… Eat seasonally!

 

Zzzzz.

Sleep affects your mood, your cognitive processing (attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, problem solving, and memory consolidation), your immune system, your skin, your sex drive, and your weight. For a better holiday season, make sleep a priority!

 

If you haven’t read it already, check out The ABCs of Holiday Health: Part One for more healthful tips!