by Laura Kocum
on Thursday, November 16th, 2017 at 1:49pm.
With Thanksgiving in a week, and Christmas not far behind, there are all kinds of opportunities to socialize, eat, drink and wear ourselves out. But it doesn't have to be that way! Sara Ifert, a Health Coach at Go Simple Wellness, has several tips to make sure that we get the most out of the season (without regretting it in January). We invited her to share some of her tips for the season:
The holidays can be fun, but they can really take a toll on our health. It is super easy and common to get sick or pack on the pounds (or both!) during the holiday season. Taking an integrative approach, you can stay on track toward your health goals. Take a look at these tips for staying healthy while still enjoying yourself this time of the year:
1) Prioritize sleep and exercise. These are the first two things that fall by the wayside during the holidays because schedules get full. Don’t let this happen to you! Sleep and exercise are powerful immunity boosters, and also can aid in weight loss. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night. Your body may need more or less. And don’t forget to exercise! If you’re not already exercising, start by adding more movement into your day. Work your way up to 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. It doesn’t need to be high impact, even a brisk walk is a good start. Just get moving! If you already exercise regularly, consider experimenting with a different type of exercise to add variety and fun to your workouts.
2) Have a strategy for eating at holiday gatherings. There are a few approaches you could try. You could have a small meal or snack, plus plenty of water, before going to a party. If you show up hungry and there’s a spread of rich food, you’re more likely to overindulge. You could also prioritize your plate. When plating your food at a gathering, focus on your favorites instead of mindlessly taking something from every dish. If green been casserole is not your thing, either skip it altogether or just take a small taste. On the other hand, if pumpkin pie or stuffing is the thing you look most forward to, enjoy it fully. There’s no need to totally deprive yourself. Just stick to one portion. Aside from a serving of a couple of your favorites, fill up on veggies or salad and a handful of nuts. These foods can help you stay full without all the calories of richer dishes.
3) Crowd out sugar and alcohol to avoid overindulgence. There are cookies, candies, and boozy drinks everywhere this time of year. You probably don’t need a plate full of cookies or a bottle of bubbly to get the full holiday experience. Making mindful choices when it comes to sugar and alcohol can keep you from overdoing it. Ask yourself if you really need another glass of wine or extra cookie. If you’re craving sweets, keep fruit on hand for a sweet treat. If you’re heading to a party and plan to drink alcohol, set a maximum number of beverages in your mind before you go and stick to it. Drink a glass of water before and after each drink. And never drink and drive.
4) Watch your stress levels. Stress has a big impact on health! The holidays can bring all kinds of new stressors such as family tension, financial worries around gifting, and social pressure. Notice the things that bring you stress. Does hosting or attending holiday parties exhaust you? Do you have anxiety around gift giving? Just acknowledging the source of your stress can be helpful. When faced with stress consider a quick breathing exercise. Fill up your lungs completely while counting to 8, then slowly exhale completely while counting to 8. Do this ten times in a row and you’ll feel a little bit more relaxed. Why? When under stress, we tend to hold our breath or only take shallow breaths. Plus, counting our breaths help us divert our attention back to our bodies instead of our worries. It can be a very grounding experience!
Do you need someone to help you stay accountable or to build a personalized “get healthy” plan? Or, do you need help creating and sticking to a plan to manage stress or cravings? Contact Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 509-7477 to set up a free sample call to see if 1:1 health coaching could be right for you.