The holiday season is a time of year filled with joy, festivities, and of course, plenty of delicious food. However, it can also be a time when healthy habits take a backseat, which can lead to unwanted consequences like weight gain, stress, and even various health concerns. But fear not, because there are a few simple hacks that you can use to enjoy a healthier holiday season without sacrificing any of the fun. Keep reading to see our favorite 6 habits that are sure to help you maintain a healthy balance throughout the coming weeks, allowing you to savor the festivities while still taking care of yourself.
Understanding Holiday Health Challenges
The holiday season presents various challenges that can derail our wellness goals. From the temptations of holiday feasting to the impact of extra stress and travel, it’s important to understand what these challenges are and where they come from so you are better prepared to navigate them.
- The Temptations of Holiday Feasting. Not only is it easy to overeat at holiday gatherings, but the foods you are reaching for will likely be a little different too. Foods filled with unhealthy fats or sugars tend to be holiday staples, and eating too many of these items can wreak havoc on various areas of your body, especially your gut.
- The Impact of Holiday Stress. There’s no doubt that the holiday season can be a time of increased stress, with added pressure from family gatherings, gift shopping, and preparations for various events. Learning how to manage this holiday stress, or any stress for that matter, is crucial for not only your mental health but also your physical health, especially during this time of year.
- The Effect of Travel. Not only can creating and executing travel plans add to your stress levels, but the act of traveling itself can be hard on your body. It can make it difficult to stick to your healthy habits and routines, as well as disrupt your sleep, put extra pressure on your immune system, and alter your gut microbiome.
6 Habits for a Healthy Balance Through the Holiday Season
Now that you understand the most common health challenges that you may face this time of year, let’s take a look at our top 6 habits you can use to help you maintain balance and have a healthier holiday season.
1. Embrace Healthier Alternatives
One of the best habits for a healthier holiday season is to embrace healthy alternatives. Try healthier versions of your favorite recipes, swap sour cream for yogurt in dishes, incorporate plenty of veggies into holiday meals, opt for whole grains instead of refined grains, and explore new recipes that use healthy, whole-food ingredients. By making these types of small changes, you can still enjoy delicious holiday foods while still providing your body with the nourishment it needs to stay healthy.
2. Keep an Eye on Your Portions
Another essential habit to adopt if you are looking to have a healthy holiday season is practicing portion control. It’s easy to get carried away and overindulge in your favorite treats during gatherings, but learning to keep an eye on your portion sizes and enjoy items in moderation can be a great tool to help you avoid the discomforts and weight gain associated with overeating. To better control your own portions, consider taking small steps like using smaller plates, serving healthy foods like fruits or veggies first, eating slowly and mindfully, and avoiding going back for seconds. That way, you can still enjoy all your holiday favorites without going overboard.
3. Make Holiday Exercise Fun
Staying active during the festive season is crucial for your overall health and well-being. Finding ways to make exercise fun can help you stay motivated and engaged when you may otherwise let your routines fall by the wayside. This year, try incorporating holiday-themed physical activities, like ice skating, sledding, or hiking, into your festivities. Better yet, make movement a family affair by involving everyone in fun and active games or traditions like an after-dinner scavenger hunt, football game, or dance party. Even something as simple as an evening walk with family members can be a great way to get your body moving and connect with the people you love. Plus, who knows? Maybe the activity you decide to try this year will become a new tradition, giving you and everyone else something fun to look forward to next year as well.
4. Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule
It can be easy to let your sleep schedule become low on the priority list during this time of year but sleep is a vital part of maintaining your overall health. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, even during holidays, can help regulate metabolism, improve immune system function, support optimal digestive function, and much more. While you navigate the various plans and festivities that this time of year brings, do your best to stick to a regular sleep routine, create a sleep-friendly environment, avoid caffeine, alcoholic drinks, and electronics before bed, and adopt relaxation techniques to help you calm your body and mind so you can get better sleep and feel as rested as possible.
5. Find Ways to Manage Stress
Managing stress is essential to your overall health and well-being, particularly during this time of the year. Finding healthy techniques like deep breathing, meditation, physical activity, and mindfulness, to cope with the stress you feel is of the utmost importance. As you navigate the next few weeks, make a point to prioritize self-care, set realistic expectations, practice daily gratitude, and reach out to family or friends if you need support. By taking steps now to figure out what best helps you effectively manage stress, you will be prepared to have and fully enjoy a happier, healthier season.
6. Nourish with supplements
If you want to ensure your body has all the vital nutrients and support it needs to stay as healthy as possible over the coming weeks, then consider adding high-quality whole-food supplements to your daily wellness routine. Natural supplements, especially those infused with superfoods, are a simple and effective way to ensure your body is getting vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, omega-3s, and other important nutrients that it needs to keep looking and feeling its best. Keep in mind that not all supplements are created equal, so only reach for one that is all-natural, made from whole foods, and certified safe.
Cheers to a Healthier Holiday Season
Needless to say, the holiday season can be a challenging time when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, embracing a few of these key habits can go a long way toward helping you maintain a healthy balance in a way that prioritizes your well-being and prioritizes your health.
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