Making Holidays Happy

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holiday packagesMaking Holidays Happy

While you are rushing around to prepare for the holidays, it is necessary to slow down and enjoy your surroundings – the lights around town, the kids on Santa’s lap at the mall, etc. It is also a perfect time to really take care of yourself. The holidays are NOT the time to begin a new food plan, it is a time to try to maintain a healthy weight, and take good care of your health.

The speed with which we operate seems to increase over the holidays leading to exhaustion, compromised immune system, grouchiness, and weight gain. We do this every year, promising to plan better next year, but we never do. Well, if this is you, stop right now and end the cycle. With a little planning it is not that difficult to do, and you will be happier and healthier come the new year.

Be Active: Winter is always a tougher time to get moving. It’s cold outside! But, despite some of the more bitter days, finding an hour to just walk around the block, enjoying the neighbors light display, or heading to a local garden for a walk is refreshing, good for your legs, and slows life down a little. If it is just too cold, head indoors. Lots of malls open early so walkers can use this climate-controlled space. There are also lots of exercise classes available. Both are a great place to make new friends.

 

Food: Is food better tasting at this time of year or is there just so much of it and so many favorites? When you go to parties, it is just so beautiful the way they have laid out the food, and the holiday-themed drinks, oh my. STOP! Take a minute and breathe. Make sure you plan ahead here, or you can go off the rails very easily.

PARTY PLANNER –

  1. Take a look at your calendar and absorb the reality of how many parties you are going to during the holidays.
  2. If you are asked (or volunteer) to bring something, make it either something healthy that you enjoy or something that you make that is legendary and way too rich to have around your house.
  3. Once you get to the party check out your options. Know if this will be your dinner, or if there will be more food when you get home. Take a lap around the buffet table to admire all of the wonderful food choices. Decide what you really want to splurge on and try to make that your last bite-full. If plates are available, take what you plan to eat and look at the quantity of what you have selected. It is much better to see all that you will be eating, instead of mindless picking for an hour – you eat much more when you pick. If there are no plates available, count in your head how many items you have had. This will make you more mindful of what you have had to eat.
  4. Desserts – It seems that there is more dessert than anything else on the buffet. Remember what you have eaten already, and pick the best looking item and savor every bite! The first bite tastes better than any other bite. So go slowly. If you have accidentally picked up a loser, do not (I repeat) do not take another bite. If you must, find another little something and enjoy that. If you have not done well at the beginning of the evening, or you do not find a real winner on the dessert table, skip it all together.
  5. Drinks – While everyone knows that you should never drink your calories, many people like to ring in the new year or celebrate the holidays with a toast. We do suggest that before you go to a party, you have a nice big glass of water. That way you will enjoy your drink at the party, and not be using it to satisfy your thirst. The water will also help you at the buffet. Many times we are thirsty and think we are hungry. So, the water satisfies our thirst. It also slows us down a bit and helps us to be more discriminating with the food choices presented to us. And, above all, please have some food in your stomach before you have any alcoholic beverages.

Self-Care – There is a lot to do at this time of year, and while we are not in it for the presents, we do want our family and friends to feel special by getting them just the right gift. So we feel the pressure that we have put on ourselves. Think about it. The key is to plan time to think about your gift list, and what type of gift you would like to buy. What does Aunt Betty need? What would make Uncle Jimmy laugh? We all get hundreds of catalogs in the mail, so take one night, treat yourself with a cup of green tea and pour over the catalogs in your slippers on the couch and make a plan of attack. Whether it is your route up the pike on your day off, or a little here and there each night on the way home from work. A lot of stress can be relieved by planning ahead. Once you have time carved out, and know when and where you are going, it’s not so bad. And, with the time you have saved by not running all over town with no ideas, you can take a little time for yourself. Whether it is a bubble bath, a Saturday nap, swapping foot-rubs with a friend, or getting your nails done – reward yourself for all of your hard work.

If you find that you have put a serious dent in the buffet at cousin Larry’s holiday party, shake it off and start again tomorrow. Every day is a new chance to take control. So, drink lot’s of water, hang out with healthy people (their parties are not as dangerous to your waistline) and enjoy the people who make the season what it is. Spending time with family and friends helps us understand how lucky we are all year long.

Health Coaches of Delaware wishes you a safe, healthy and happy Holiday Season, and best wishes for 2015!

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