Reducing Holiday Stress

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The holidays are among us – a time of year that’s known for its busy nature that can be quite stressful. After all, you likely have several invitations to gatherings collecting on your counter, a long list of people you need to send holiday cards to, and the daunting task of braving the shopping mall crowds to find the gifts for your loved ones. All of this on top of your normal everyday life can be overwhelming, to say the least.

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite ways to navigate this busy, stressful time of year and make this season a lot more enjoyable, less stressful and a time you will remember with fond memories.

The stress-free guidance I'd love to share include…

After wrapping presents be present: It can be difficult, I understand. It’s almost a reflex to pick up our phones and scroll through Facebook or email when we have a free moment – do you do the same? One way I like to dodge this is to leave my electronics in another room. Don’t even allow yourself the temptation to pick up your phone and disengage from communicating with your gathered love ones. When I’m feeling particularly scatter-brained, what really helps ground me is focusing on my senses. What do I smell? What do I hear? What do I feel? Stopping and thinking through what’s going on around you at that very moment really brings you into the present moment unlike anything else. It’s a wonderful tool to use to dial in and be present – and is a great tool to use year-round, not just during the holidays!

Let go of expectations: A lot of the stress we put on ourselves this season lies in the notion that we expect things to be perfect. That’d be lovely, of course, but putting your entire extended family in one house is bound to have something go awry. Therefore, dropping the expectations of perfection will allow you to be prepared for when something may spring up. There is joy to be found in each situation, so even when things don’t go exactly as planned, spend your energy finding gratitude in your circumstances and enjoying as much of your time as you possibly can. Tis the season!

Move your body: It’s incredibly important to keep movement in your schedule, no matter how busy you may feel. Even if it’s just a brisk walk after waking up or after lunch or dinner. Make it a habit to bundle up in your favorite scarf and winter coat to go for a walk alone to clear your mind, or go with someone you enjoy being around. Be sure that you are getting your time outside in nature, breathing in fresh air, while burning off some calories and keeping your heart rate up.

What are your favorite ways to get some movement in during the cold months? My favorite way to stay moving during the cold season is yoga. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home. You can choose a vinyasa flow to build heat and sweat off your holiday dinners or take it slow in a gentle or restorative yoga postures to relax and renew your body, mind, and spirit.

The holidays are a time for fun and love. You can stop stress in its tracks by following the above tips and actually enjoy this jolly season.

Healthy additions to your holiday Meal

christmas-meal Drum roll please…The holidays are here – a magical time of year filled with sparkling lights, homemade treats, loved ones and holiday feasts. Although there is much more to this season than these large meals, the festivities most certainly can become centered around the dinner table.

Many give up on their health goals during this time of year, planning on picking back up where they left off in the New Year. I’ve been there done that thinking my New Years resolution will help me lose the weight I gained at the holidays. It can sometimes feel like a lost cause even attempting, but I have some good news for you! You do not have to compromise your health goals this season, and better yet, you also don’t have to compromise missing out on your favorite holiday meals. With a few healthy tips you can implement this season and beyond, you can add some healthy additions to your meals without anyone noticing.

A few of my favorite healthy tips are…

Ditch and Switch. Ditch the refined foods and switch them with healthier options. For example, instead of using refined white flour and/or sugar, use almond flour or coconut sugar (my fav) instead. There are many alternatives to choose from, and you can most definitely find one that you will love – and I bet you nobody will even notice! Aside from the sweets, you can also trade out white rice or mashed potatoes with creating cauliflower rice or mashed “potatoes” out of cauliflower. Get creative and create a new traditional food that your family will want year after year.

Fresh Herbs and Spices. You can really dress up a meal by adding fresh herbs and spices to it – I personally use them every time I cook. It’s incredibly affordable and simple to keep a small, fresh herb garden growing in your kitchen window, and you will always have direct access to fresh herbs. Even better, there are incredible health properties in many of the herbs and spices we use and love. Many of our favorite holiday spices are greatly beneficial for our health and a strong immune system, which is certainly helpful during cold and flu season. Cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, and nutmeg are a few of these popular holiday spices that you will reap healthy benefits from, so find a place for them in your recipes anywhere you can! Read my blog about holiday spices here.

Use Different Plates. This trick is fantastic. One of my favorite, most powerful tools to stay on track with my health goals is getting creative with portion control. Instead of using dinner-sized plates, which we tend to fill, use smaller plates. Use a mid-sized saucer or salad plate for your dinner plate, and then go back for seconds if needed. A lot of the overeating that we do is mindless, habitual eating because it’s in front of us and we were taught to clean our plates. Taking this temptation away helps tremendously, and you’ll very quickly learn how much you actually need to feel satisfied – I guarantee it is less than you are used to!

With these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to not entering January feeling bloated, discouraged and off track. A truly healthy life revolves around balance – and finding your own personal balance will take trial and error.

If you take the time now to set yourself up to stay healthy over the holidays, then I promise you, you will feel like a million bucks as the new year rolls around and your already in control of your weight, health and happiness.

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukah! Happy Life!