7 Tips for Staying Healthy + Grounded During the Holiday Season
There’s a lot to love about December, but we get it. It can also be overwhelming.
Regardless of what holidays you personally observe, you want to engage in the celebratory spirit of the season. You want to shop for gifts without snapping at the cashier or screaming at the computer screen. You want to support all of the festive events at your kids’ school without secretly buying treats from the grocery store and putting them on a plate from home. You want to gather your loved ones together in your home without stressing about how clean the house is or how the food tastes.
Oh, and you want to do all of this while also staying on-track with your personal wellness. You don’t want to find yourself at the end of December, feeling totally depleted.
It’s a lot to manage. And while we can’t help you arrange the perfect family holiday photo or buy all of your gifts for you, we can support you in staying healthy and grounded at this special time of year. Keep scrolling for seven tips that will help you feel your best in December and beyond.
1. Stick to the regular schedule. As tempting as it might be to throw all of your typical routines out the window as soon as December rolls around, you’ll find that you’ll feel much healthier — and more like yourself — if you can maintain some predictability in your schedule. While you can make exceptions to your usual bedtime for a holiday party or miss an exercise session or two while you have family in town, we recommend doing everything you can to follow your regular schedule. Doing this as much as possible will also make you feel better on the rare occasion that you do stray from the norm.
2. Find an accountability partner. You’re not the only one worried about staying on track throughout the December holidays. In fact, we’re pretty confident that there’s at least one person within your immediate circle who shares your concerns. Ask around and see if any of your friends or family members would be willing to partner up with you for the month. Plan to check in with that person every morning and evening to share how you’re doing with your healthy routines, or commit to sending each other a text each time you make time for movement or a nutritious meal. You may love having an accountability partner so much that you keep it going into the new year.
3. Plan ahead. There’s an old phrase that says if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. We’re not much for clichés, but we find this one to ring particularly true — especially where health is concerned, and especially during a unique time like the holiday season. Sit down and review your schedule for the week every Sunday night this month, blocking out time in the mix of family gatherings, holiday shopping, and school events to move your body and practice self-care. Prep healthy meals and snacks as much as possible so that you’re not tempted to reach for cookies (and nothing else) when you’re hungry. Let your loved ones know ahead of time what you’ll need from them over the course of the season to stay grounded. Planning and proactive communication will go a long way.
4. Change your mindset. If you feel yourself starting to feel like your healthy routines are taking you out of the flow of the season, stop. Consistently prioritizing health is far from a December drag. Think of it instead as a way to ensure that you can enjoy the holidays in good health and at maximum energy for years to come. This mental shift can transform the way you approach things this month.
5. Stop saying “should.” I should exercise. I should have some greens instead of this chocolate. I should meditate. I should stretch. Doesn’t the word “should” make everything sound like an inconvenient obligation? If you’re struggling to change your mindset, consider banishing the word “should” from your vocabulary. I’m so glad my healthy body allows me to exercise. I’m so lucky to be able to balance my diet with these greens, so I can enjoy a treat later. Meditating is going to make me feel much more grounded. Stretching in the morning gives me more energy throughout the day. Don’t those statements sound a lot better?
6. Focus on gratitude. It’s easy to get stressed and overwhelmed in the chaos of the holiday season, which makes healthy habits feel like one more (kind of annoying) item on the to-do list. Stepping back and taking time to be grateful (we have some great, practical suggestions for cultivating gratitude here!) will turn down the intensity of your stress overall, which will then allow you to prioritize your wellness without panic.
7. Look ahead to the new year. We don’t believe that the new year is the only moment you can make positive changes in your life. In fact, there’s never a wrong time to start taking care of your body. That being said, you may feel yourself getting lost in the rush of December, and if that’s the case, we encourage you to be kind to yourself. Make as many small changes as you can in the meantime — drink more water, start each day with a healthy breakfast, move for at least a few minutes every couple of hours — and start looking ahead to Jan. 1 as the day you really transform your habits.