Thankfully I don’t count myself among those who loathe the holidays, but you need only watch TV, read a magazine, or talk to friends and family to know that Christmas and Hanukkah equal one thing to some: fear.
Fear of consuming too many cookies, cakes, and candies. Fear of over-imbibing the hot cider, boozy coffees, or festive cocktails. Fear of gaining back the precious pounds that were shed last autumn or falling off the exercise bandwagon entirely.
While some people do have legitimate health issues that warrant special attention paid during the holiday season, most of us can afford to relish the treats and festivities the holidays inevitably bring.
Here are a few tips to help you remain jolly these next few weeks.
1. Continue being active.
While you shouldn’t forego a family party for an evening spinning class, you should try to keep up some semblance of a routine. With pleasant weather (in some regions, at least) this time of year, try walking or biking outdoors to breathe fresh, cool air and see the few remnants of fall. If you do your holiday shopping at a mall, walk the interior (or exterior if it’s outdoor) instead of driving from store to store. Sure, you’ll need extra hours for shopping, decorating, and socializing with friends/family, but you can still fit in those 30 minutes at the gym if you try.
2. Allow yourself to sample (and enjoy) treats and beverages.
If 3 different people in your office bring cake for the potluck and you just can’t decide, take a tiny sliver of each! Remember, though, that there are numerous healthy recipes that you can make and share. Some of my favorite healthier treats are from Chocolate Covered Katie and Oh She Glows, and I promise their candy and baked goods are just as tantalizing and delicious as the originals. Likewise, allow yourself a glass of wine or a cocktail when the time is right; just remember to drink plenty of water as well! Your body will thank you both during the festivities and after, when you’re scrambling to buy those last-minute gifts.
3. Remember the holidays aren’t forever.
Even if you find yourself nursing one too many hangovers and full bellies throughout the month of December, it’s only the end of the year—not the world! If you fall off the horse, you get back up, right? Don’t make excuses for yourself, but do allow yourself a break. We all start with a fresh slate come January, even if we regress slightly at yoga or gain a pound or two, we can get back to our pre-holiday selves with just a bit of effort.
The holidays are a time of family, joy, sharing with others, reflection, and, of course, food. For many people, Christmas and Hanukkah are the only time of year to see distant relatives or have a few days to fully relax, so why spoil them by being too restrictive? Deck the halls with boughs of holly…and pass the cookies and cocktails, too!