HOW TO MAINTAIN HEALTHY HABITS DURING THE HOLIDAYS
Christmas and the holiday season is a great time to enjoy the festive fun with friends and family. However, to avoid some unwelcome surprises come January, here are some tips on how to maintain healthy habits during the holidays.
HOW TO MAINTAIN HEALTHY HABITS DURING THE HOLIDAYS
Here are 15 ways to maintain healthy habits during the holidays – for your body, mind, home and bank account to name a few!
1. Watch your food intake
Many of us consume more food than normal over the holidays. From Christmas lunch to all those mince pies and festive treats, it’s easy to pile on the calories and the pounds. Then we feel sluggish and tired in January and spend the next month trying to lose the extra odd pound we might have gained over Christmas. Although Christmas isn’t necessarily a time to calorie count, I personally try to be mindful of when I’m feeling full and whether I really need that extra helping of Christmas pudding!
2. Watch your alcohol intake
It’s lovely to enjoy a drink or two and be merry as we celebrate with loved ones. However, just as with our food intake, it’s good to be mindful and aware of how many drinks we’re having. Swap an alcoholic drink with a soft drink, have plenty of water and space out your alcohol consumption. Think about taking part in a dry January challenge if you need a detox!
3. Get enough sleep
Your body needs sleep so try to make sure late nights aren’t followed by early mornings whenever possible! Get as much sleep as your body needs to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Being overtired can leave us grumpy, reaching for snacks, caffeine and more to keep us going.
4. Rest if your body needs it
As well as night time sleep, do rest if you need to during the day. Read a book or watch a film snuggled up under a blanket or, even better, take a nap so you can wake up feeling refreshed!
5. Maintain regular mealtimes
Your body responds best to a regular routine so, even though you may be busy out and about, entertaining, going to parties or just hibernating with hot chocolate next to your Christmas tree, don’t be tempted to skip meals. Eat regularly, little and often if that’s what your body responds best to but don’t forget to eat or miss too many meals. If you’re anything like me, missing a meal makes me extra hungry so I just ending up overeating at the next meal!
6. Avoid too much snacking
Christmas time is full of tasty treats and tempting snacks but, if you are tempted to snack, try keeping to healthier options wherever possible. Make sure you’ve got a few healthy snack options in the house that are easy to reach for – just as easy as that mince pie sitting on the counter. Fruit, nuts and prepared vegetable sticks with dips make easy healthy snacks. Think about what snacks you might enjoy when you’re meal-planning for Christmas so you know what to buy from the shops.
7. Get fresh air
We may feel like staying warm and cosy but a bit of fresh air every day is great for our energy and Vitamin D levels.
8. Keep up with exercise and movement
A little bit of regular exercise keeps our bodies moving, the blood pumping and the endorphins flowing. Christmas probably isn’t the time to hit the gym hard if you haven’t been all year but some gentle, regular exercise will help counteract the Christmas calories and maintain your personal fitness levels. Keep it simple, practical and easy to do.
9. Avoid too much screen time
There are lots of great Christmas films to watch but just be mindful of how much time you spend in front of those screens. Be aware of how you use social media and turn down your pings and buzzes so you can enjoy being present in the moment.
10. Stay hydrated
Counteract the mulled wine by drinking enough water. The heating in our homes also dries out our skin so make sure you drink plenty of water to help with that too (and use moisturiser!).
11. Check in with your emotions
Christmas can be a challenging time for many of us. We have lots of things to do, remember and places to be so we can feel overwhelmed. We might be feeling sad because loved ones can’t be with us or stressed out because of difficult family dynamics and relationships. If you’re an introvert like me, you might even struggle with a lack of quiet, alone time to recharge and reset. Note how you’re feeling and take steps to look after yourself if you feel out of sorts for any reason. Journaling and brain-dumping are great ways to reconnect with yourself and your thoughts.
12. Maintain good decluttering habits
Christmas comes with clutter, albeit fun clutter in the form of presents, people, food but also gift wrap, furniture moved around for the Christmas tree, festive Christmas decorations, coats and bags from visitors and more. Keeping on top of that clutter and making sure your home stays as clutter-free and organised as possible, is helpful in avoiding holiday stress and overwhelm. Here are some tips for good decluttering habits which you can keep up every day, even when Christmas is over!
13. Reset your home
Resetting your home at the end of every day (or more if needed) is a great way to get your home clear after the busyness of the day. Here are some tips on how to reset your home so it stays tidy and clutter-free.
14. Watch your finances
Christmas can be an expensive time and the shops don’t help by encouraging us to buy more and buy bigger – whether that’s food, decorations or bargains in those Boxing Day sales. That’s not denying it’s a great opportunity to buy things you really wanted or needed when they’re on discount but spending without thinking isn’t so helpful. Identify your Christmas budget, allocate a certain amount to food, gifts and anything else that you know you’ll be spending money on and keep tabs on how much you’re actually spending. If you have to use credit cards to pay for Christmas, make sure you have a plan for how you’re going to pay that debt off over the next month or so. Try these Christmas money-saving tips for some ideas.
15. Avoid over-spending
And lastly, if you do hit the shops, be careful about making snap decisions and buying things on impulse just because you’re feeling festive and the item is on sale. If you do buy something on a whim which you later regret, don’t forget you might have the option of being able to return it.
MAINTAINING HEALTHY HOLIDAY HABITS AT CHRISTMAS
I hope you enjoyed these suggestions for healthy holiday habits. I try to keep up these habits myself and I’ve found some to be easier than others.
I love snacking in between meals which isn’t a good habit in itself. I think it’s because I’m at home more over Christmas, I’m either in the kitchen or thinking about what I’m going to be cooking next so food is on my mind and it’s easy to reach out for a bowl of nuts or slice of Christmas cake.
The key for me in maintaining healthy holiday habits has been to plan what I’d like to do before Christmas comes around. I make some notes on what habits are key for me to keep up and what I need to help them happen.
I’m also realistic so I know this isn’t the time to be creating new habits that just aren’t realistic for the time, money, energy or motivation levels I have during this busy time! It’s a question of priority.
Here are some simple, practical examples of how I maintain some healthy holiday habits:
- Exercise – Get up half an hour earlier and do some Yoga before the day begins
- Fresh air – Go for a walk every afternoon at 4pm with the dog and kids in tow
- Avoid snacks – Stock up on healthy options instead of sugary, processed ones
- Stay hydrated – Fill up a water bottle in the morning and sip from it regularly throughout the day
- Avoid impulse-buying – Only take a limited amount of cash when I’m going shopping
What could you do in your own life to maintain healthy habits this Christmas? Grab a notebook and brainstorm for a few minutes now!
OTHER RESOURCES TO HELP SIMPLIFY CHRISTMAS
Here are some other helpful resources to encourage healthy habits during the holidays and make Christmas that little bit easier:
- Christmas Quotes for a Simple and Meaningful Christmas
- 30 Things to Organise and Plan for Christmas and Simplify The Holidays (+ Free Planner)
- How to Simplify Christmas and the Holidays
- 4 Reasons to Declutter Your Home Before Christmas and Where To Start
- How to Stay Calm at Christmas: Tips to Ease Stress and Enjoy the Holidays
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
Let me know in the comments if you have any ideas to add. I’d love to know how you maintain healthy habits during the holidays or if this is something you struggle with. Let’s try to start January feeling fresh and positive for the New Year!