It seems there has been a shift in energy these last few weeks. I have started to notice my clients and yoga students are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and uneasy about the approaching holidays. It’s not surprising. Seems like the holiday hype starts earlier every year. Did you know that as a nation we will consume more calories on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year? Tradition has conditioned us to feast on this day with family and friends to honor our country’s agrarian past and bountiful harvest. Today, that bountiful harvest comes from the grocery store and brings with it the stress of planning, shopping, and cooking during the holidays, often alone. If you are feeling that the holidays are something to endure rather than something to enjoy then the following tips will help you thrive this holiday season.
10 Tips for a Healthy Stress-Free Holiday Season
Set an Intention
Just as you set an intention for your yoga practice, it’s a great idea to set an intention for the holiday season, too. Gratitude is a great intention for Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean you have to move on when the leftovers are gone. Choose an intention that means something to you and meditate on it throughout the holiday season. Remember it every time you hear holiday music blasting through the speakers at your local retail establishment to keep you grounded.
Keep Your Goals Realistic
During this hectic time, make sure you are realistic about all that you can accomplish—in terms of both time and money. Make sure to check-in with yourself and don’t be afraid to turn down certain activities or commitments if they will result in increased anxiety and stress. Saying no to things that do not truly resonate with you allows you to be open to say “yes” to those things that bring an immediate sense of joy rather than one of obligation.
Remember Self Care
Schedule down time. Recognize when you’re experiencing too much stress and take the time to do something just for you.
Develop a Healthy Eating Plan
With abundance comes temptation, so create a plan to eat healthy before the holidays begin. Make food a part of the festivities, but not the sole purpose for them. Eat the food you love but in smaller amounts. Make your initial helping last by eating slowly. Wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds as it takes time for your brain to realize that your stomach in satisfied.
Use healthier ingredients in your favorite holiday dishes. For baked goods, exchange the refined white sugar for a wholesome substitute like grade B maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, or apple sauce. Check out IIN’s BLOG for great healthy holiday recipes. http://blog.integrativenutrition.com/2011/11/101-healthy-holiday-recipes
Before you indulge, bring consciousness into the moment. For example, before eating, be aware of what you are going to eat and perhaps say a simple prayer or thanks. Prepare to really enjoy what you are about to eat, to take it deep into your tissues so as to fully nourish yourself. If your holiday isn’t a celebration without a slice of pumpkin cheesecake, don’t deprive yourself, eat slowly and savor every bite.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water before and during your holiday meal will suppress your appetite, keep you hydrated, and boost your energy level.
Maintain balance during the holidays by exercising. You will feel lighter, reduce stress, and keep your body nourished by participating in exercise you enjoy. If you don’t have time to go to the gym, just move more during the day. Take a walk after meals with family and friends or go to a yoga class.
Cultivate flexibility in body, mind, and spirit. Learn not be constrained by plans but to go more with the flow.
Count Your Blessings
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie
Wishing you a joy-filled Holiday Season!