It’s the most wonderful time of the year – but with tree trimmings, parties and shopping trips around the clock, the season may not always be compatible with your wellness goals. With busy schedules and cold weather, the holidays make it challenging to eat well, stay hydrated and get rest without sacrificing the fun.
However, in a time of year that demands energy and spirit, practicing healthy habits are key to keeping up with your favorite holiday traditions all season long. Here are five tips to maintain a balanced routine that helps you feel your best from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day (and beyond).
1. Boost your holiday cheer with a workout.
Exercise is a proven method to decrease stress and increase endorphins, but in December, it’s easier to find the time for a trip to the mall than a trip to the gym. While it may be more convenient to push your workouts till new year’s, a consistent exercise routine that includes cardio, strength, and aerobics will help give you the energy to keep up with your to-do list all season long. If you’re pressed for time, try setting aside just 30 minutes to follow along with an online home workout. Your body and mind will thank you.
2. Hydration is key.
Whether you’re working up a sweat in a snowball fight or recovering from last night’s holiday party, high-quality water should be at the heart of your wellness routine year round. Good hydration is proven to help regulate body temperature, protect sensitive tissues, lubricate joints, and maintain a strong immune system. Before the season gets into full swing, consider installing an under-sink filtration system like a reverse osmosis (RO) system. RO systems are one of the most comprehensive ways to treat your water for a broad range of potential contaminants and make it convenient to get fresh, filtered water right from your kitchen sink.*
3. Focus on rest and relaxation.
If you’re tempted to wait up all night for Santa, remember a poor night’s sleep is a surefire way to undercut your wellness goals. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), even short-term sleep deficiency is linked to increased stress, emotional distress, and poor memory in otherwise healthy adults. To increase the quality of your sleep during the holiday chaos, try going screen-free an hour before bed or winding down with a cup of calming tea. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night is the best way to set yourself up for success all season long.
4. Include wholesome options in your holiday meals.
Everyone loves a loaded holiday buffet, but you might not love how you feel after. If you’re hoping to avoid overeating, you may be surprised to learn that the solution is NOT to leave all your favorites off your plate. Restricting what you eat results in a sense of missing out and increases your likelihood to binge later, according to the NIH – outweighing the benefits of serving yourself a perfectly healthy meal. Instead, build a balanced plate with proteins, healthy fats, and vegetables, and supplement with moderate portions of less nutritious options. You’ll enjoy all your family’s best recipes without the looming food coma – and you’ll save room for dessert.
5. Don’t neglect self-care.
When your days are filled with baking, hosting, and gift-wrapping, self-care is often first to fall to the wayside when things get busy. Don’t forget that the holidays are a time to be cherished and enjoyed- something difficult when you don’t take care of yourself first. Make sure to find uninterrupted time to take a relaxing bath, read by the fire, or enjoy a new movie. Even on the most chaotic days, carve out five minutes for yourself to practice meditation or mindfulness. If you don’t know where to start, try taking deep, intentional breaths while reflecting on how you feel in the moment. It only takes a little time to make a big impact on your mental well-being.
The holidays are meant to be a time for gratitude and joy- not chaos and panic. Remember that January is right around the corner, so don’t let the stress of maintaining a perfect wellness routine distract you from enjoying precious time with your loved ones. Instead, listen to your body, treat yourself well, and take on the holidays as the best version of yourself.
*Contaminants may not be present in your water.
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