The Holiday Health Survival Guide: 9 Quick Tips You Need NOW
The holiday season is in full swing, which means there is no shortage of parties, excessive eating and wacky travel schedules. 🙃
This is a fun and fulfilling time of the year when we get to enjoy being with family and friends! Unfortunately it’s also a stressful time for many of us, and a tough time to keep your health on track. And don’t forget…
Good stress is still stress!
As much as I love seeing so many of my patients in my office in January, ready to reset and rebuild, I want to offer some quick & dirty health tips to help you survive the next couple weeks as best as possible.
Holidays don’t have to be unhealthy! Well, not totally. 😉
1. Carry high protein snacks with you.
Cookies, pies, cakes, pastries, alcoholic beverages, special holiday coffee drinks….sugar, sugar, sugar abounds this time of year!
Unfortunately sugar doesn’t just make you gain weight, it also causes energy crashes and poor stress tolerance. Definitely not ideal this time of year!
Keep you blood sugar stable with high protein snacks. Carry nuts, protein bars or packets of protein powder. All these items fit in your purse or can live in your car.
And if you’re not showing up famished everywhere you’ll be better able to turn down some of those holiday baked goods!
2. Call ahead with food restrictions.
Which of these scenarios seems easier to deal with…
You show up at your family member’s house for dinner. Immediately you are offered tasty looking foods that you don’t want to eat or can’t eat. You are also told how much time your family member spent cooking. Everyone is expecting you to grab and stuff said food item in your mouth. You struggle, not wanting to look weird or disappoint your family member. And they do look awfully tasty…
You call/text your family member ahead of time and let them know you are currently avoiding gluten/dairy/sugar/etc and explain why. You discuss menu ahead of time. You are aware of what will be there and what you need to bring yourself. Your family member knows what to expect from you and why. You have spoken it aloud and have an ally or at least more accountability.
3. Go for a walk.
You can not take your gym, favorite yoga class, ski-mountain or work-out buddy back with you to your home town. But if you got legs, they’re going!
Bundle up if needed and get out for a walk. It is absolutely better than nothing to get your heart rate up a bit and lubricate those joints.
Fresh air and a change of scenery doesn’t hurt either.
Staying well hydrated will do the following things for you…
You’ll feel less cranky.
Your muscles will be less sore.
You will be less likely to get constipated.
You’ll be less tired.
You will think more clearly.
You’ll get less hungover.
Your skin won’t be as dry.
5. Put an extra scoop of veggies on your plate.
Usually there is some semblance of a vegetable on the table at holiday dinners…
This doesn’t have to be the most amazing vegetable dish you’ve ever had. It’s all you’ve got right now!
So just throw an extra scoop on your plate and then eat it.
Sorry, this one is that simple. But remember simple doesn’t mean easy!
6. Use melatonin for sleep.
This is particularly important if you’ve been traveling to different time zones.
Take 1-3 mg of melatonin about 30 minutes before you want to be asleep. You don’t have to wait until you get in bed!
This will help support your circadian rhythm and hormone levels.
7. Practice deep breathing.
This is another tool (like your legs!) that you can’t leave home without.
Deep belly breathing supports healthy digestion, eases anxiety and improves your stress response.
Just try 3-5 deep, slow belly breaths whenever you think of it. Even 1 breath is worthwhile!
You could also set an alarm to go off at various times throughout the day to remind you…Don’t look at me that way! You could!
I do! 🤓
8. Get a pill organizer for your supplements/vitamins/meds.
You don’t have to be elderly to take advantage of this one!
Traveling with tons of bottles tossed randomly into your suitcase makes it hard to find what you need when you need it…
And during the holidays…you need it.
To stay on track with all your daily supplements while you are on the road, get one of those daily pill organizers and load it up for the week or even just for the weekend.
A little bit of organization on the front end goes a long way!
9. Smile, even when you don’t feel like it.
We all know that we smile when we’re happy, but did you know that smiling can actually make us feel happy??
Researchers have found that smiling facilitates the release of serotonin and dopamine, which help to improve mood.
And what’s more, smiling has also been found to improve immune and cardiovascular health!
So this holiday season, FAKE IT' ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT! 😁