We’ve got ways to keep your mind and body in balance at this busy time of year
We could all use a few reminders at this hectic time about ways to keep the holidays from becoming overwhelming—and even unhealthy. To start with, keep it simple and insulate yourself from unreasonably high expectations. Remember: the whole point is to have a nice time, enjoy friends and family, and share what you have. It doesn't have to be all that complicated—contrary to what advertising (and some of your relatives) may tell you!
So, block out all that unnecessary noise, stay focused, and you’ll be fine. Here are some places where you can shape a holiday season you won’t regret:
Don’t make yourself crazy
Of course, you want things to be special, but not everything you do needs to be straight out of Martha Stewart. Here are some short cuts to save your sanity:
- Buy a premade dessert to take to that holiday party, instead of slaving over a gourmet recipe.
- Use gift bags and tissue paper instead of wrapping paper, to save yourself time.
- Give to charity on behalf of those adults who are trying to cut down on clutter, in lieu of shopping for gifts.
- Meet friends for drinks and snacks, or a meal, and let that be your gift to one another instead of exchanging presents.
Keep the spending under control
There’s no way to ruin your January like having to cringe when you open a credit card bill as a result of over-spending. It’s easy to feel justified in splurging at the holidays, but plan in advance on one or two splurges (and keep them within reason). Do your best to stick to a budget when it comes to gifts.
When you’re out and about it’s easy to let lines, crowds, and obnoxious drivers get you down. Take a breath and remind yourself how lucky you are to have family and loved ones to spend the holidays with. The rest is just logistics, and as they say, don’t sweat the small stuff! You’ll get where you’re going. If the person in front of you in line doesn’t know how to show the holiday spirit, be an example to them. A good attitude can be contagious!
Insulate yourself from illness
These tips might be common sense, but they’re essential at this time of year. It’s hard to celebrate and be jolly with a cold or virus!
- Wash your hands every chance you get. (Here’s tips on how to do it right.)
- Get a flu shot, if you haven’t already.
- Bundle up when you go out—even if you only plan to be in the car.
- Keep your home and office clean.
And “be good, for goodness sake”— if you do get sick, stay home! Don’t infect your friends, family, or coworkers with your germs. If you take time to rest and recover, you might be well enough to enjoy New Year’s!
Keep the conversation light
Given that tensions can run high at this time of year, it’s wise avoid controversial topics (like politics and religion) around the table. Even surrounded by people who are likely to agree with your positions, it can fuel passionate or heated exchanges. Instead, come up with questions to engage others, such as everyone’s favorite holiday song, animated special, film, or sweet treat. Ask older members of your family to share stories about how they celebrated the holidays when they were young. This makes for gatherings that are memorable for all the right reasons.
Get some exercise
Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you can’t take a brisk walk around the block after a meal. It aids your digestion, helps your circulation, and you’ll feel better in general. Just be sure to dress appropriately. And take the dog with you—he’ll be thrilled for the outing!
Put “staying hydrated” on your list
It’s easy to stop drinking all the water you need in the winter, but it’s even more important now, when the air is so dry. Here are suggestions for getting in your 8 glasses per day:
- Instead of soda, pour yourself a glass of seltzer with a splash of juice. Cranberry and pomegranate make it look like you’re drinking a festive holiday cocktail.
- At parties, drink a glass of water (or seltzer) for every alcoholic drink. (Pacing yourself might also help you avoid any embarrassing behavior!)
- Cold water not appeal to you when it’s cold? Turn on the kettle and treat yourself to some hot water with a squeeze of lemon. This can also cut down on the inflammation caused by sugar and rich foods.
Make some healthy holiday food choices
You’re likely to see candy, gingerbread, and cookies almost everywhere this time of year. And special meals can mean lots of red meat, comfort foods, and heavy, rich sauces. But you can keep an eye your waistline without sacrificing flavor. Here’s how:
- A platter of raw veggies is your friend. It’s an easy way to squeeze in a few portions of produce. Arrange red, white, and green vegetables (like cherry tomatoes, red and green peppers, cucumbers, and cauliflower) and you’ve got a festive dish to serve.
- Accompany those veggies with a healthy, protein-rich dip like hummus. (Check out the butternut squash hummus recipe in this post.) If you prefer creamy dips, try yogurt as a base instead of sour cream or mayo.
- Spruce up your salads with sweet and healthy winter treats like pomegranate seeds, clementine sections, or candied ginger.
- Put out bowls of nuts or dried fruit, as an alternative to candy. (Just be aware of guests who might have a severe nut allergy.)
- At a buffet or potluck, focus on vegetables and protein. Fill half your plate with veggies and enjoy a 4-oz portion of meat, poultry, or fish (the size of a deck of cards). You’ll be surprisingly satisfied.
Give yourself a chance to enjoy yourself—even in situations that seem triggering or challenging. Making good choices and mindfulness are key. You have the power to make the holidays enjoyable and healthy for yourself as well as those around you. We wish you a safe and joyous end to the year!
This post is part of the weekly blog of Seacoast Career Schools. We care about the health and wellness of all of our current and prospective students. Reach out to us for more information about the professional training programs we offer at our campuses in Sanford, ME and Manchester, NH. Schedule a tour or call us at 1-800-758-7679. By this time next year, you could be on the way to a new career!