It's December 16. Nine days till Christmas. Maybe because it's because I'm in a new city, or maybe because it has been about 20 degrees warmer than I prepared for in Boston during my first winter here (when is it going to SNOW, people?! I've STILL been dreaming of a white Christmas, and it's warmer here than L.A. right now!!), but for me the holidays approached almost out of nowhere this year.
Holidays are fun. However, they can also be very stressful and emotionally challenging. And with all the holiday parties, the abundant tasty treats wherever you go, and the loss of your regular daily routine, it can be easy to drop your healthy eating and exercise habits this time of the year. Here are 3 tips to help you enjoy the holidays, with a healthy mind and body:
1. Be thankful with less. For most of us, somehow, somewhere along the way, the holidays become a time of staggering excess. We do too much, spend too much... and eat too much. We put too much on our plates, both figuratively and literally. This season, savor the small. Be able to turn down invitations if you're overextended. Give a sentimental or thoughtful gift instead of the expensive one. And enjoy one of the holiday desserts instead of sampling them all. Be thankful with less, and your heart will be warm seeing you still have more than you need.
2. Focus on friends & family, not food. Even if you're practically Betty Crocker, your conversation will be more memorable than your award-winning mashed potatoes. Don't stress over preparing the perfect meal. And plan holiday activities that aren't food-centric, such as walking through a neighborhood with decorated homes, seeing a tree lighting, visiting temple or church to hear the Hanukkah or Christmas story, or making art with others. Instead of covering your family's holiday party table with appetizers before a meal, lay out an assortment of family photos. No one will miss them as they're focused on the beautiful memories captured in the photos.
3. Slow down & savor. Ironically, holidays can be downright chaotic. Instead of vacation, you're more stressed than ever. Work and school often resume in January with a feeling of let-down, of rest and relaxation missed that you were hoping to enjoy. As with your enjoyable holiday foods, engage in holiday activities using all your senses. Stop and notice the moment, instead of rushing from event to event. Find something good in the present, and communicate it with your friends and family. By savoring the moment and being thankful for it too, you can truly enjoy your holidays and prepare yourself for a great healthy 2016.