Holidays are a time of joy, celebration…..and stress! It’s a time for Christmas shopping, family visits, cooking, spending money, oy! On top of that, it’s the time of year when everyone gets sick. There’s no time to actually get into the spirit of the holidays!
We forget to focus on self-care and emotional nourishment and the holidays whiz right by, leaving us feeling dazed and depleted (maybe a little bloated too?). So with high hopes, we start the new year with a list of resolutions, a gym membership, and a detox program.
Instead of losing your head and ditching your health goals for one more cup of spiked nog, why not make your health and self-care a priority during the holidays while still making some space to enjoy the treats? What if the holidays were full of cinnamon tea, bubble baths, cozy fires, rejuvenating workouts, and time with friends and family? Below are my tips for true nourishment to help you stay focused on what’s most important all year round: your health and vitality.
Rest and Recover
Sleep would probably be my number one priority during the winter months (and always!). Not only are the days shorter (which, in my opinion, is nature’s way of telling us to sleep more), but we are more prone to illness and stress during this time. Sleep helps support the immune system and keep our blood sugar balanced, meaning that our well-rested selves will be less likely to crave sweets. Read about how to get more quality sleep.
“Adrenal fatigue” (also known as HPA axis dysfunction, ) seems to be an issue for many people these days. Many of us end a busy day feeling “wired but tired” – not being able to wind down from the stress of daily life. When we’re stressed out, we don’t digest as well. We don’t detoxify as well. Our bodies hold onto fat. Read more about how stress affects our health.
When it comes to combating stress, it helps to establish a regular routine that works to combat stress long-term, such as meditation. But in the meantime, my go-to’s are ashwagandha (an herb that helps buffer the effects of stress), catnip tea, and castor oil packs.
Set Yourself up for Success
Become aware of the reasons you overeat or over-do it on the nog during the holidays. Then make a plan of action for future instances when Aunt Peg is going to shove that plate of holiday cookies in your face, or when you’re faced with the difficult decision of snacking from the dry veggie platter or enjoying the peppermint bark tray at the office party. Bring along a baggie of trail mix with dark chocolate. Sip on some holiday herbal tea. Or do your workout routine right before heading to a holiday event – that will motivate you to nourish your body properly.
Drinking plenty of water and eating a nutrient-dense meal before you go out can also help temper your cravings for holiday sweets.
Don’t Deprive Yourself
Part of the way we celebrate and enjoy the holidays is through food, so allow yourself to also enjoy some of the goodies. Go on, have a slice of pumpkin pie! And if you’re going to have it, then enjoy it and don’t leave space for guilt. Instead, level out the playing field by drinking plenty of water, piling up the veggies, and getting plenty of quality protein and healthy fats. Staying hydrated and properly nourished (and not doing a nose-dive into all of the holiday goodies) will help buffer the effects of eating sugary delights, allowing you to feel good and enjoy food.
If you live in a region of the world that doesn’t get many visits from Mr. Sun in the winter months, make sure you stay active. It’s easy to bundle up and hibernate during the winter, but cozying up on the couch paired with holiday eating could set you back a little bit with your health goals, not to mention throw off your digestion and hormones. Instead, if you’re not one for outdoor winter workouts, join a gym, do some yoga, workout to Youtube videos (my favorites are Blogilates and FitnessBlender). It will also help with the winter blues.
The Bottom Line
Ok, holiday treats are yummy. But holidays aren’t all about food. Watch holiday movies, put up décor, spend time with family, volunteer for a soup kitchen, go see the snow!
Remember that nourishment is about providing what our bodies need to thrive, but also enjoying life along the way. We want to fuel our body the right way, sleep well, incorporate movement, and drink plenty of water (and tea!). But we also want to allow ourselves the space to enjoy food without going over the deep end or feeling guilty.
If you need some extra support this holiday season, some ideas for deep nourishment and digestive remedies, check out what kind of support I offer. Together, we can set up a plan for the holiday season so you feel in control! That egg nog’s got nothin’ on you!