Okay! Here we go! My first official post with healthy living tips! After an affirming Skype conversation (aren’t those the best?!) with a dear friend in Berlin the other morning I am ready to dive in and write out suggestions for ways to stay healthy during the holidays. This time of year can be extremely stressful. The good news is you can choose to have a different experience by following a few of my simple tips :
1. Stay Active. It is very important to keep moving during the holiday season. Exercise will help reduce stress levels and give you energy. It can be very tempting to get lazy over this season but try your best to keep with your current routines. If you are traveling be sure to take your yoga mat, exercise bands, running shoes, whatever you need to support your activities. Look up gyms, studios while traveling and check out a class. It is a fun way to meet people and often it’s easier to stay on track if you see other people exercising as well. If you are finding it challenging to stick to your routine, develop a new one! If you normally run for and hour, try 30 minutes. We don’t want to be rigid about exercise, make it as easy on yourself as possible to stay on track.
2. Relax & Breathe. When we feel relaxed it is much easier to accomplish our tasks and be present for ourselves and others. It is important for our overall health to make sure that we are taking at least ten minutes a day for ourselves to practice meditation or breathing exercises. A very simple and effective breathing technique is to find a comfortable seated position and focus your attention on the breath. First do a silent quick body scan to see if you are experiencing any major pain or discomfort. If you are adjust yourself accordingly and remain as still as possible for the duration that you chose to sit. Inhale and say “one” in your head. Exhale and say “two”. Repeat this up to ten then start back over at one. When your mind wanders start back over at one. This is a great technique for stressful situations as well. If you find yourself in one take a moment to yourself and practice this until you feel calm.
3. Eat Nutrient Dense Foods. This is a big one. Often times a great deal of junky food is consumed during the holidays and it’s important to know which foods you find most nourishing and make a commitment to eat those. If you are going to a potluck bring your favorite healthy dish to share. Try not to over do it with sugar and alcohol and make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you are not sure what foods are best for you to eat contact a health counselor (such as myself ;) or another one) and set up an appointment to discuss your current diet. This can be a great way to take care of yourself in the new year and get the support you need. Some other suggestions are to be sure and eat at least one big salad a day or have a green juice or smoothie to make sure you are getting valuable nutrients.
4. Eat Before You Go & Don’t Skip Meals. One of my favorite tips that I practice often is eating before I go to parties and sometimes to certain restaurants. When we show up places with some food in our bellies we are less likely to over-indulge and over eat. Skipping meals is not a good idea and can cause binging and over eating, especially of sugary foods. Often when very hungry and at a party it can be difficult to make healthy choices regarding food, unless of course we are at a party where all of the food is very healthy! Also remember to be gentle with yourself in this area. If you eat too much cake or whatever it is one night don’t beat yourself up, enjoy it while you’re eating it and do your best the next day.
5. Write Daily Gratitude Lists. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of this time of year without taking a moment to practice genuine gratitude. One gratitude exercise I practice is writing a list of what I am grateful for each morning. This doesn’t need to take an hour and can easily be worked into your morning or evening routine. Developing a daily gratitude practice is a great way to connect with yourself, remember what is really important to you, and gain some perspective on your life. This exercise is also a great way to allow our hearts to open thus becoming more available to the beauty and wonder of the present moment.
I hope you found these tips useful and interesting. Don’t get caught up in trying to do them perfectly. Use them as you wish to help motivate and inspire you, not just around the holidays but anytime you find yourself extra stressed or needing a bit of guidance.
Thanks for reading and I wish you all the most pleasant holiday season.