So often when we talk about having a healthy holiday, it is about what we eat, or don’t eat. And while that is important, it isn’t where this post is going to start.
Holidays are supposed to be joyous and happy, but so often they are full of stress, sadness, and disappointment. A large cause of stress at the holiday season is financial strain. There is no need to spend the most to have the best time, set yourself a reasonable budget, find ways to bless those with less, and release the need to commit to every holiday party. Other times, we are missing people, and sadness creeps in when we see others celebrating with the missing links in our own family. Acknowledge your sadness, remember the happy times, even if you are sad about people still living. If your grief is overwhelming, please seek help from those more skilled than I. Another reason for the stress is lack of sleep and overindulgence, which we will cover later. As for expectations, Ryan Reynolds is onto something, have you gone into the holidays expecting things of others? Sometimes we expect the worst in everybody, and whether it happens or not, it can set a tone about the holidays that is not joyful. When you release the expectations you have placed on other people, on the party, on the food, etc, it frees up the holidays to happen as they will. I found a great Tiny Buddha article on ways to beat the holiday blues, so if you are feeling stuck, I encourage you to check it out!
Now, about that sleep and eating problems! Do not overcommit yourself this season. If you are going black Friday shopping, go to bed at a reasonable time, or take a nap post shopping. If you normally go to bed early and will be up late for parties, find a way to keep up on your rest. Even if that means laying down for a few minutes, but not actually napping. Be realistic with your time, and your friends will appreciate that you aren’t a moody zombie as you try to go to every function in the next 5 weeks. You all should know by now, I am a bit zealous about my bedtime routine. I have to say, when we have holiday concerts, family parties, and friends getting together, it throws my routine for a loop. I do not come home at 715 to brush my teeth and put on pjs (Normal days, I do this with the kids as they get ready. I don’t want to be too tired to get ready for bed later.), but when I do get home, it isn’t time to watch tv or surf my phone. By shutting electronic devices off, it helps tell your brain “I’m getting ready for bed.” If you have a hard time turning your brain off, try journaling. When I come home late, I like to go about my normal bedtime things, and then read or write if I’m too wound up to sleep. A lack of sleep is directly linked to an increased appetite the following day, so after a night out with friends, you eat more food the following day, unless you receive adequate sleep.
I heard a great thought about food and holidays the other day, you can eat the food any day of the year. Sometimes we have this urge to eat all the food because it is our only chance. In actuality, it is just food and available pretty much every day of the year. I like to subscribe to the overindulge in the portion size of foods you normally eat, or indulge in realistic portions of foods you don’t normally eat. Helps keep you in check, while allowing yourself some freedom and flexibility. When family is involved, sometimes we just need to think Frozen and sing, Let It Go! So someone is commenting on how you aren’t eating one of each slice of pie. Or someone has a snide comment about your lack of drinking. Remember, it is your life and you are free to live it as you would like. You went about making some lifestyle changes, and that means your choices are going to look different than in the past. When you stick to your lifestyle, the comments, questions, and stares stop, as they see it really is your normal. Often times, the reason others struggle with you maintaining your healthy through the holidays is because it forces them to look at their own self. They are pretending happiness when really they want to feel good in their body and about their body. Kevin Trudeau has a saying that really resonates with that thought, Most people don’t know how how good their body is designed to feel. Don’t let other people’s insecurities hold you back from becoming your best, you probably have a hard enough battle fighting your own insecurities.
This year, let’s make it your healthiest and happiest yet for the holiday season. Find traditions that don’t revolve around food. Be fully present with the friends and family you choose to surround yourself with. Find outlets for your sadness. Bless others. Make sleep a priority. And above all else, love.