6 Tips to Stay Healthy & Stress Free During the Holidays 6 Tips to Stay Healthy & Stress Free During the Holidays

The holidays can be a challenging time of the year, especially if you’re trying to stick to a diet or maintain your healthy weight loss goals. The most wonderful time of the year can sometimes feel like the most stressful time of the year as your routine, eating, and spending habits change. 

So how can you stay healthy and stress-free during the holidays? Here are six tips guaranteed to help ease your holiday blues so you can enjoy the season while staying focused on your health and weight loss goals.

1) Set realistic expectations

If you hold yourself to the same expectations during the holiday season that you do for the rest of the year, you’re more likely to experience feelings of shame, guilt, or added stress. Instead, acknowledge that this time of year is going to look a little different. 

This doesn’t mean you should throw your healthy habits out the window. But you also shouldn’t feel like you need to deprive yourself of a fun holiday experience. Part of staying healthy and stress-free during this time of year is readjusting your expectations. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Create a reminder: Write yourself a note reminding you to not pass judgment on your weight after the holiday season is over. Read that note in January as a reminder that your weight does not define your self-worth. 
  • Be realistic with your weight loss goals: If you’re setting weekly or monthly weight loss targets for yourself, map out your holiday season ahead of time and lower your goal for the weeks you know you’ll be busier.
  • Reframe your expectations: If every year you tell yourself, “I’m not going to gain weight over the holidays” and every year you end up disappointed, reframe your expectations this year. Try, “I might gain weight over the holidays because I’m enjoying myself. But that’s okay and here’s my plan for staying healthy….” 
  • Don’t set (unrealistic) New Year’s Resolutions: Instead of falling into the New Year’s Resolution trap of unrealistic expectations, spend some time planning your weight loss or health goals before January 1. Start small and be realistic. By mapping out a plan ahead of time you can forgo the last-minute unrealistic goal setting. 

2) Enjoy in moderation

It’s possible to enjoy the sugar cookies, cocktails, and mouthwatering dishes while still keeping in mind your goals. The key is enjoying your holiday traditions in moderation. And the best way to set yourself up for successful moderation is to plan ahead.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Eat before you go: If you know you always overindulge at the holiday party, enjoy a healthy meal replacement shake before you arrive. This fills you up ahead of time, making you less likely to overdo it.
  • Choose a smaller plate: Our eyes are sometimes bigger than our stomachs during the holiday season. With a smaller plate, you have less room for more food, forcing you to choose smaller portion sizes.
  • Cook or bring a healthy dish: If your family outings are known for fried foods and never-ending sugar then commit to bringing healthy options. This way you know you have something healthy to eat once you’re there. 
  • Walk away: Don’t linger by the food table grazing on all the goodies. By staying away from the food you’re more likely to only eat when you’re actually feeling hungry. 
  • Take 10 before you go for seconds: Before you fill up your plate for round two give yourself ten minutes to digest. If you’re still feeling hungry after that ten minutes, head back up (with your small plate) for more. 
  • Stay hydrated: It’s easy to confuse dehydration with hunger. So between cocktails make sure you’re also enjoying some H2O.

3) Find healthier recipe alternatives

If some of your favorite holiday dishes are high in unhealthy fats and loaded with sugar, see if you can swap for healthier alternatives instead. That way you can still enjoy your favorite dishes, but with a healthier twist. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Try Greek yogurt instead of sour cream
  • Cauliflower or sweet potatoes instead of mashed potatoes
  • Yummy roasted green bean recipe instead of green bean casserole
  • Spaghetti squash, quinoa pasta, or chickpea pasta instead of regular pasta
  • Coconut milk instead of heavy cream in your stews or soups
  • Almond flour instead of white flour
  • And more! 

4) Make a holiday fitness routine

If you know you tend to slack on fitness during the holidays, it’s time to get proactive (and realistic) about your holiday fitness routine. Not only is a fitness routine going to help you maintain your healthy weight loss goals throughout the holiday season, but moving your body could help reduce some of the stress you might be experiencing. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Make a plan: Map out your holiday schedule and plan out when in your routine makes the most sense to work out. Then schedule this routine directly into your calendar. By planning it out, you’re less likely to skip. 
  • Try out a new class: Sign up for a new studio or class you’ve been wanting to try. Schedule a few on your calendar so you have some fitness to look forward to. 
  • Switch up the routine: You might not have time for your usual workout routine. But instead of throwing in the towel, opt for shorter 5 or 10-minute exercises you can fit in during those “in-between moments”. Even if you can’t get the full workout you want, it’s better to move your body a little bit than not at all. 
  • Get outside: These shorter winter days can take a toll on your mental health. Take time for a walk or run outside in the morning or afternoon to fit in both fitness and Vitamin D

5) Buddy up 

Chances are you’re not the only one in your family or friend group who needs some help staying healthy this holiday season. Finding someone who can help you stay accountable to your goals and support you along the way will make the holiday season a lot easier. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Find a workout buddy: Scheduling recurring time to sweat it out with someone else helps hold you accountable to your fitness goals while having fun in the process. 
  • Schedule time with friends: Plan out a few fun outings or activities with friends who make you feel happy. These are great mood boosters during a stressful holiday season. 
  • Talk it out: If you’re struggling with difficult feelings during the holidays don’t keep these feelings pent in. Find someone you trust with whom you can share how you’re feeling. It’ll feel good to air things out and they might even have a unique perspective on the situation to share. 
  • Share your weight loss goals: If you’re planning on eating healthier this holiday season or aiming for a weight loss goal, share your plans with the people you care about. They can offer support along the way and help hold you accountable to your goals when you’re feeling tempted by the holiday party dessert table. 

6) Take time for self-care

In between all the holiday shopping, cooking, and planning it’s easy to forget about taking care of yourself. Schedule time for self-care to help you recharge and reset during the busy holiday season. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Cancel on events or outings that don’t bring you joy 
  • Make yourself a bubble bath
  • Treat yourself to a healthy but delicious smoothie after a tough day
  • Take a walk during your lunch break
  • Schedule a massage or manicure during a stressful week
  • Cuddle up with a good book or your favorite movie
  • Take a nap or get to bed early when you’re feeling tired 
  • Make time to work out or move your body a few times a week (especially getting outside when you can!) 

The holiday season can be a stressful time of year. But with a little bit of planning and expectation setting, you can help reduce some of the stress and enjoy a healthier and happier holiday. 

Check out more health and fitness articles to help you stay on track with your goals on the DietShake-Reviews.com Health Blog today!

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