Maintaining Healthy Habits During the Holiday Season
It happens to the best of us: the busy holiday season inevitably knocks us off our healthy eating, yoga, or meditation schedule. But the ever-increasing to-do lists piling up on your desk don’t have to deter you from putting your health as first priority. Below are several ways in which we can incorporate those healthy habits we worked so hard to create into the rush of holiday season.
- Set realistic goals before the season begins
Before the demands of the season start to overwhelm your days, take some time to set realistic, attainable goals. Analyze your upcoming schedule and decide what actions would logically be reachable for you.
You might not be able to make a yoga class five days a week like you have been. Maybe you set the goal to practice yoga at least once a week. Your schedule might not allow for twenty minutes of meditation every single day. Aim for at least five minutes of meditation three times a week. Meals with extended family might make it hard to stick with your healthy diet. Plan for at least one meal a day to be full of nutrients. Perhaps set the goal to make a power smoothie in the mornings with greens, fruit, and protein.
When we overwhelm ourselves with unworkable ambitions, we are more likely to completely let go of those healthy habits as we realize we can’t possibly maintain them. Allowing yourself to establish realistic goals will make it more likely that you will willingly stick to them.
- Find creative ways to add healthy habits into your day
As uninterrupted free time dwindles around the holidays, search for creative ways to add healthy habits into your already busy day. Driving to a yoga studio to take a class might be way too much of a demand at this time. Instead of giving up on yoga altogether, take a short online class in your living room. You can find several free yoga classes through YouTube, on Doyogawithme.com, or any other site that you might find yourself drawn to.
Sitting quietly on your meditation cushion might not be feasible when there’s so much to be done. Find ways to meditate in the midst of all the chaos. Practice being mindful while doing the dishes: focusing on the sensations of water on your hands; the movements your body is making. Or if you’re spending hours traveling, meditate on the plane or in the car. Notice the sounds surrounding you or hone in on the rise and fall of your breath.
- Recruit friends and family on your mission to stay healthy
If you’ll be surrounded by friends and family this year, asking them to participate in your goals can be a wonderful way to incorporate healthy habits into all of your lives. After you’ve allowed time for your Thanksgiving meal to settle, plan to have a family yoga session. Bring up your favorite yoga video and invite your loved ones to join. (Chair yoga is a great option for those who are restricted in movement). Or, set up time for a short meditation before the meal, allowing everyone to reflect on gratitude.
If healthy eating is part of your goal, invite your family to participate. Ask that each family member bring a healthy dish to the meal, providing a guideline for what constitutes your version of healthy. It can be a fun challenge for family to research new recipes. You can even turn it into a friendly contest of who has the healthiest, tastiest dish.
- Allow yourself to indulge
While sticking to your health goals should be a priority, allow yourself to indulge within reason. Becoming racked with guilt and anxiety over eating that piece of chocolate cake is arguably worse for your health than just eating the cake with joy and relish. The holidays are a time to enjoy yourselves. If you’re constantly worried about rigidly maintaining your goals, it can quickly suck the cheer right out of your days. Indulging within reason is healthy for the soul.
So relax. Take a deep breath and trust that you have the power to navigate through this holiday season with confidence that, amidst all the hustle and bustle, you can continue your healthy habits. With a few creative adjustments, your holiday experience might possibly be the best one yet.
Malia Bradshaw is an Austin-based writer and yoga teacher. She is a lover of all things healthy and creative. To connect, find her at maliayoga.wordpress.com.
Leave a comment