Why do we love it? Well, it’s the time of year where we can put on the ‘pause’ button on work or school and have more time to relax and enjoy the company of our loved ones. Naturally, enjoying plenty of good food with our friends and family goes into that mix as well. During this time of the year, we may not be so strict on watching what we eat or maintaining a healthy diet – which inevitably, it can lead to unnecessary stress once the holiday period ends.
Though we tend to be in a more jolly mood during the holidays, stress somehow always manages to find its way to us. And stress is a lethal – some may say that it’s a silent killer! It has a domino effect. Once it goes off, it brings only more and more negative effects. This medical research shows just how detrimental it can be to our health. This is why it’s in your best interest to be aware of things that can help you to reduce holiday stress.
So how can we manage stress & stay healthy during the holidays?
You probably already know that these two things are interrelated. When we feel stressed out, many of us fall prey to emotional eating. And when we stress eat, we don’t reach for the types of food that are necessarily good for us aka junk food.
Since stress and eating are connected to one another, if we change one of them, by the law of logic, the other one will change as well. With that, here are some useful tips that will help you to keep a healthy diet and minimize stress during the holidays:
Set a holiday spending budget
When it comes to spending, we often get carried away while we are on holidays. We buy things we don’t need at all, or we go way over budget. By the time we get our credit card statements, that’s when the ‘shock’ sets in. This situation can definitely lead to a lot of stress that will last for months after the holiday season has ended.
In order to avoid this, be sure to set a holiday budget and abide by it! Keep in mind that sacrifices will need to be made if you are serious about staying on budget. Being on a budget may not be fun in the short term, but in the long run, it will save you from making purchases that you will likely regret.
Always squeeze in some exercise
Yes, exercise is often the last thing we want to do during the holidays but if you want to maintain your health and not pack on that dreaded holiday weight, make a point to exercise even on holidays! Before you go on a trip, think about what types of exercises you can do while on vacation. Lucky for us, we don’t necessarily need equipment to stay active. You can go for a long jog around the block or have yourself daily yoga sessions right in the comfort of your hotel room!
In case you’re still skeptical, have a look at this medical research that breaks down how regular exercise can tackle anxiety and stress all year round – including the holidays.
Savor your meals
Let’s face it, when you’re on vacation, you just want to relax and to indulge as much as you can. It’s definitely not fun having to watch what you eat or how fast you eat all the time – especially during the holidays. But alas, speeding through a meal is not only bad for your digestive system, it can also have negative effects on the rest of your body.
So, choose to savor the food that you’re eating and practice mindful eating. As much as possible, slow down and focus on the food you eat – enjoy its flavors, textures, even its scent.
Stick to portion control
Like I’ve said before when you’re on holiday, you deserve to have some fun and good food! Inevitably, you will indulge in junk food and that’s OK. That said, be sure to not go overboard. Stick to portion control and you can pretty much enjoy all types of food – as long as they are done in moderation. You can have that slice of homemade Apple pie – but certainly not the whole pie.
It’s not easy to resist temptations but trust me, if you do, you won’t end up feeling guilty and won’t end up with that pesky extra weight by the time the holiday season ends.
Stay active while traveling
Wherever you are heading for the holidays, make the most of that destination by exploring it! Stay active – Take frequent walks to the beach, through the woods, or wherever you feel at peace. That said, don’t over plan your days with activities – or you’ll end up feeling exhausted and stressed out.
Set aside some time for reflection
When we travel, especially to new destinations, we end up being over excited and forgetting that we need some ‘down time’. So, be sure to set aside at least 10 minutes each day to reflect or to meditate.
Channel your thoughts the way you want them. Reflect on the day, take it in – or better yet, jot it down on a journal so you can always look back fondly and reminisce about your experiences.
There you have it, some tips to help you make the most of the holidays, I hope you find it as useful. As you can see, by being aware and mindful of your choices, staying healthy, and stress-free during the joyful season can be a piece of cake. Happy holidays!
Want more from Kathy? Be sure to follow her on Twitter!
Looking to start the new year on a healthier note? Curious how you can whip up delicious foods that won’t expand your waistline? Sounds like an organic culinary vacation is your perfect choice!