Sitara Hewitt’s Survival Guide for a Happy and Stress-Free Holiday Season!
Holidays are meant to be enjoyable, warm, all about time spent with our loved ones, on a break from the daily grind of work and school. Enjoying hearty meals and cooler temps. But what usually happens is that the stress ramps up as pressure to attend events, entertain kids, buy gifts, and put on our own family dinners starts to become a daily thing. On top of that we want to stay healthy and not eat too much excess unhealthy food or alcohol, but it seems to be everywhere!
Fear not! With my survival guide you’ll learn a few hacks to stay healthy, create kind boundaries and actually enjoy this holiday season – perhaps like you did as a kid!!
1. Say no (politely) to extra events.
Ahead of time, write a list of your main priorities and intentions for this holiday season. What do you really want and need to feel at your best? Things like:
- Quality, unstructured time with the family to just enjoy.
- 3-4 workouts a week.
- Getting to sleep by 10pm so as to be rested. Days to sleep in and wake up without alarm.
- Time to see our parents or other elderly friends.
- Time to volunteer.
- A space to just be alone and centre
- A space to connect with like-minded people, perhaps at church or community gatherings.
Once YOU are clear on what’s most important to you this holiday season, you can better schedule and also know what to say yes to and what to say no to.
It’s ok to say No! We often feel ‘bad’ or obligated to attend things so as not to hurt feelings, but in reality if you go to something and are just resentful or overtired, then you’re not really bringing the right energy to it anyway. Politely decline if it’s going to cause you or your family to rush around. You can always plan to see that person in January when everyone is bored and not busy ;).
If you tend to get lonely around the holidays, schedule a couple of things you can look forward to! You can even join ‘Meet Up’ groups aligned with your interests and hobbies!
2. Make a ‘Healthy Eating Plan’.
Before you get to those holiday parties and gatherings, decide how you’d like to eat. Most people think in terms of ‘dieting’ or deprivation of goodies, but I like to think of it from an empowering perspective: ‘How am I going to stay healthy and energized this season?’
That means eating more veggies and fruit. Planning to eat a big salad every day, filled with yummy veggies. Having tons of fruit in the house. Eating oatmeal for breakfast instead of sugary baked goods. Drinking 2 glasses of water when you wake up – starting the day hydrated. Then, if you feel like having a treat or heartier meal in the evening you know you’ve treated your body well and given it nutrients all day. I would say stay away from holiday lattes and stuff at coffee shops…they load them with tons of sugary syrup and it’s an empty calorie kind of situation. Save your treats for home-made pies and things you can really enjoy! A lot of sugar often leads to lowered immunity and a kind of sugar ‘hangover’, so that’s how I’m motivated to stay away from it. I know I want to feel good the next day!
3. Take your supplements!
Get 3 or 4 supplements that you’re on regularly through the holidays. My son likes Health First’s Family First Multi and the Family First Vitamin D (chewable, chocolate-y and creamy!). I recommend the Health First Stress Release Supreme supplement; it keeps me calm and balanced. We also take the Family First ProBio Plus D chewable probiotic to combat some of the eating variety in the holidays.
4. Move your body.
Get outside each day. Bundling up and going for a power walk is a free way to get your exercise and also boost feel good hormones like serotonin. I find it’s like a meditation, I walk and look around at the sky and trees and always feel calmer and more centered. Make it a goal to walk each day, and stretch when you get home. Playing outside with kids is great, as is hitting a yoga class or the gym :).
5. Help someone who needs it.
Visit an elderly neighbour and bring them a nice meal. Invite a family or single parent over who may be lonely or away from family this season. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. It’s amazing but when we give to others, we help them exponentially, and help ourselves too by putting our blessings into perspective. Kindness makes the world go round!
In conclusion… the best way to approach the holidays is with a bit of a plan, and some clear INTENTIONS of what you want to experience, create and heal. When you decide what you want it to be like, you can choose more wisely, set boundaries around your personal time and have an experience that makes the holidays something to look forward to!
By Sitara Hewitt