Six Ways to Stay on Track During the Holidays
With the holidays upon us, Meg Seitz shares six ways to help stay on track as we head into the New Year.
Six Ways to Stay on Track During the Holidays
It’s… the holidays.
It’s funny how we reach this time in the year, and it feels like we’re all living on vacation in Vegas. It’s as though all bets are off, and anything goes. We indulge, we live, we stay up late with good people. Everyone is going a million miles an hour.
Then, suddenly it’s January 1. The lights come back on. We’re back to reality. And instead of feeling restored and refreshed, we feel like we need to start over.
The thing is, starting over is that implies we’ve royally screwed up. We’ve double-crossed ourselves and our promises to our health, wellness, and mindfulness.
There’s a way to do the holidays well –with just as much sparkle and glitz and good cheer.
1. Be prepared with seasonal food and clean snacks. Look. You know it’s coming. Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus and New Year’s Eve have happened (and will continue to happen) the same date, every single, year of your life. Yet, we all act like that moment in Airplane! when someone comes over the speaker and asks if anyone knows how to fly the plane. We’re panic-stricken, overly self-conscious, out to save ourselves.
So, be prepared. Stock your fridge with fresh, seasonal fruits or vegetables that you will be able to find at your grocery store or local farmers’ market this winter. Or make sure you have a bag of raw nuts or a package of jerky in your handbag; they’re easy, clean snacks you can enjoy before heading into that company party when you feel the slippery slope into carb loading.
2. Build in time for a good sweat. When we’re crunched for time (or energy), oftentimes the first thing that gets ditched from our calendars is a good sweat. We cancel our yoga class reservation via an app from the car or we ditch that after-work run to meet someone for cocktails.
This is a great opportunity to plan ahead - look at the next several weeks, and get strategic with your sweats. Is there a anxiety-inducing holiday dinner coming up? Book a yoga class for that morning.Feeling overly frustrated with the budget planning for 2018? Go for a run - even if it’s just 20 minutes - versus grabbing a cocktail after work.
It won’t take a lot. Aerobic exercise has the power to improve your mood when endorphins kick in, and that it only takes 20 minutes for natural neurotransmitters to start to exert their feel good effects, as Psychology Today reported.
We don’t need another reminder as to why exercise matters because we know it does. But in this context, physical activity has the power to give you more energy and improve your mood - two things that we’re always running short on during this season.
3. Respect your time - and energy. If you’re looking at your calendar, and you realize that you have something going on every weeknight for the next week or two, then something has got to change. Consider looking at those weeks and cutting out some plans to make room for the things you want to do.
Also, consider time blocking your personal life. You set aside an hour for that conference call every Monday morning, but have you blocked off every Monday evening for the next several weeks for that favorite yoga class? Don’t feel guilty for doing that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
4. Indulge mindfully. There is absolutely nothing wrong with indulging. Enjoy your life. Treat yo’ self. Splurge. Just don’t go crazy. That’s it really.
If you need some guidance, commit to living by the 80/20 rule. Allow yourself some treats along the way, so that way you won’t overdo it when you see that cookie spread next to your table. When you hold yourself back, you’re more likely to lose it, so go 80/20.
5. Make smart, clean substitutes. There are certain holiday recipes that we love because you grew up helping grandma make it, you had a disastrous, yet legendary first run making it yourself or because it just somehow, some way ended up on every holiday table through your childhood. These foods bring back really good memories. A great example? Green bean casserole. Stay true to your roots - perhaps consider making some smart, clean substitutes. Here’s our take on how to make your green bean casserole with fresh and real ingredients. (Walk down memory lane included.)
Or try some new different approaches with these Christmas recipes from Paleo Flourish.
6. Product test your new year’s resolutions. It’s funny how we reach January 1, and everyone is suddenly meditating or crushing it at the gym or eating Paleo or committing to a Ketogenic diet. The thing about that is that you’re not even really sure you like any of that stuff – do you even like running sprints at that outdoor boot camp in 34 degree weather at 6:33am? Maybe. Maybe not.
So, use this month to product test your new year’s resolutions. Try to cook a couple of Paleo meals; try a yoga class once a week. Make an agreement with yourself to try some new things that work for your life this month, so when January 1 rolls around, you can be strategic about new commitments.
And hey – it’s the holiday season. It’s time to be present, be together, and be head over heels in love with our lives. That’s one of this world’s most beautiful gifts.