I love the holidays! I mean, I love most things about the holidays. Ok, honestly there are a just a few things I truly love about the holidays.
Downtime with my family. Cooking special meals for those I love. Decorating the Christmas tree. And the extremely raucous and competitive Yankee Swap party my friends host every year…. I mean how could you not love a bunch of tipsy grownups fighting over quirky gifts!
The rest of it.. the traveling, the present buying, the present returning, the rushing, the insane feeling that big blocks of sugar are following me everywhere, disguised as cookies, cake, brownies, and sweet little gingerbread men.. I don’t love that.
So every year when the holidays roll around I do my best to incorporate all the wellness lessons I’ve learned, to stay happy, strong, and calm between Halloween and New Year’s Day.
I’ve been sharing these tips with my private clients, so I wanted to share them with you too.
The first thing I do is put a kibosh on the excuses. Yes, we’re all busy around this time, and yes we’re surrounded by more unhealthy food- everywhere we turn, but that doesn’t mean we throw in the towel off the bat.
I hear these all season long, maybe you’ve mumbled them to yourself?
“I’m too busy, I don’t have time to workout.”
“I don’t want to stress about trying to eat healthy at every celebration.”
“It’s the holidays, why should I deprive myself.”
“It’s only a few weeks, I’ll start my diet again in January.”
The problem with all these excuses is that the negative thoughts set us up for failure right off the bat. The annual thought of “I’ll go on a diet in January” is lame- you should never have to diet, because living a healthy lifestyle leaves room for treating yourself- so you’ll never feel deprived in the first place.
What if you did something different this year?
What if you set an intention to stay healthy and stress free from now until the new year?
What if you decided you could enjoy the rest of the holidays, have your favorite foods, and still stick to your wellness goals? What would happen is you’d feel great, you’d have more energy to deal with the running around, more patience to deal with family, and psyched that you didn’t have to lose any holiday weight.
Life isn’t either/or… you can balance the celebrating with sticking to your goals….. here’s how:
Create a mental picture of how you want to feel come January 1st
Instead of feeling overwhelmed and stressed by the season, take five minutes and actually sit and picture in your mind the attitude you want to start 2016 with- and what that feels like. Do you want to be even more stressed by not having made the best choices about fitting in exercise or passing on that the second piece of pie? I’ll answer that for you- NO you don’t.
Let go of perfect
When we have expectations of how a situation is going to be, we can feel defeated before it even happens if we think we won’t be able to execute it exactly as we pictured in our minds. Say you had put aside 60 minutes to work out one day, but your son forgot his lunch and there was construction on the way to the gym which cost you an extra 30 minutes- are you not going to go just because you can’t do your full workout? NO, you’re still going to go and give your best effort in that amount of time-and it will be enough. The upside is that you got moving, and you will feel great when you are done!
Declare your top 2 treats during the holidays and commit to them
The funny thing is, it’s not really what we eat on Thanksgiving or Hanukah or Christmas, but all those days in between. The cookies in the office, the banana bread your neighbor baked you- that you don’t even like, but you eat it because it’s there and you feel bad because she spent time baking it. So do you eat all those tempting things just because they are there? NO, you choose your favorites whether it’s a peppermint martini or pecan pie. Make it non-negotiable that you aren’t eating any other treats, and then the conversation doesn’t need to happen in your head about whether to “cheat” or not, because you’re allowing yourself to have your favorite things, just not all the things.
Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t
Let go of the “I don’t have time,” blah blah blah. Look at your calendar and your commitments and make what you want to include a priority- eating healthy, moving your body, and downtime to relax. Take off anything that doesn’t actually make you smile just thinking about it- unless it is an absolute. The endless holiday parties with people you aren’t interested in seeing, the Christmas show in the city that your kids could care less about sitting thru- OFF. Then see how much time you have left and commit to doing what you can, whether that’s moving your body at the gym, or doing a conference call with a headset while walking around your neighborhood or on the treadmill. The whole idea is to stay healthy, yet be stress-free.
Remember that this season only comes once a year
There are so many fabulous things about the holidays, so focus on the positive and implement the above tips to deal with the rest. Be smart and creative about getting through this time with a smile on your face, not extra inches on your waist….and above all enjoy yourself.
Happy Merry Everything!