The holidays are a special time of love, laughter, and celebration. This is the time of year when we meet up with family and friends to share food and make memories. But unfortunately, the holiday season can be rough on our bodies.
Between the stress, the busyness, and all the extra goodies, it can leave us feeling run down and like we've lost our healthy glow. No one wants to start the year already exhausted, but sometimes when we've finished the round of festivities we feel less ready than ever to face daily life.
The good news is that, with a little extra thought at holiday time, you can enjoy a beautiful season with loved ones and still begin the New Year with a clear mind and feeling vibrant and ready to impress.
1. Don’t have too much of a good thing
This is the season to enjoy all kinds of special treats that you don’t always enjoy during the ordinary days of the year. There’s the annual round of get-togethers, family reunions, and office parties. Maybe you’ve taken extra time off work to spend relaxing with loved ones. Most of us make this the time to feed our chocolate obsession or throw out our holistic diet.
There’s nothing wrong with celebrating, even when it means indulging yourself a little. But take care not to overdo it.
Too much of anything, even a good thing, will bring on side effects that you don’t want. Take sleep, for example. You may desperately need to recharge after a stressful few weeks, but plan your catching up wisely. Too much sleep, especially at one stretch, can negatively affect your mood and leave you feeling dull and drained, not energized.
And, of course, an overload of sweets, drinks, and fatty foods will sap your energy and cloud your mind, right when you want to be feeling your best. It’s hard to keep treats in moderation without going hungry at parties, but it’s not impossible. Try putting just a little on your plate at each event, sampling the different foods on the table or buffet line without filling up on any one dish. You can also try eating a holistic, nutritious meal before you head to the holiday party—then just take a few nibbles once you’re there. And when you come to the dessert table, set a limit for yourself and stick to it. It may feel like a sacrifice at the time, but your body will thank you in the New Year.
2. Adjust your focus
If you had to sum up your holiday season in one word, what would it be?
Words like “family,” “joy,” and “celebration” might come to mind. Unfortunately, though, there’s another side to this time of year. You might automatically think of words like “stress,” “busy,” or “overwhelmed.”
It’s true––to make this season special, there are a lot of things that need to be accomplished. Sometimes stress takes over, hanging over us like a cloud that we can never quite shake off.
That’s why it’s so important to keep our focus where it should be, in spite of the busyness. Amid the inevitable scramble of shopping, cooking, and catching up with friends… take a few moments daily to remember the why behind your efforts.
Maybe the holidays have deep religious or spiritual significance for you. Maybe this is the time of year for renewing old friendships and enjoying intimate moments with family. Whatever the reason for your celebrations, make sure you’re focusing on that. It’s a tricky thing to do with so many tasks and commitments demanding your attention––but don’t forget, peace is a mental thing.
3. It’s okay to say “No”
Sometimes, no matter how well you maintain your focus and positivity, the holiday season is just too much for you. It happens easily.
There are so many opportunities, and it’s hard to turn any of them down. But sometimes you have to say no, even if you don’t want to. Taking on too many commitments can run you down and leave you exhausted. Late nights and lots of stress will lower your immunity, making you susceptible to picking up a cold or flu that could ruin the rest of your holiday season.
Take some time to evaluate your schedule and the invitations you’ve received, then choose which invitations you need to decline. It may be hard to do, especially if you’re a social person, but remember that this is a way to look and feel your best for the activities that you will be doing. You’ll also be contributing to your body’s long-term health and energy.
4. You don’t have to pretend
For some, the holidays are the toughest time of year. Many people have to face the reality of a loved one’s death or work through painful memories. Others are dealing with depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder and find it especially hard to be happy and joyful during the holiday season.
The pressure to be lighthearted and festive can be immense. But, you don’t have to keep up a pretense. Be honest with your loved ones about the tough times you are going through, and don’t be ashamed if you need to see a therapist or get other help. Choose to spend time with friends or family members that will support you and will understand if you need to be alone or to talk about the feelings you’ve been having.
While it’s not necessary to open up to the whole world, find someone you trust to confide in and tell them when you’re feeling down. It’s okay to grieve, and it’s okay to be honest about your emotions. You may feel isolated when the rest of the world is celebrating, but you’re not alone.
If you’re struggling with your mood this holiday season, you can also take this time to be proactive about your holistic health routine. Perhaps it’s time to get into yoga, or start getting creative with mood-lifting essential oils. And of course, re-focusing on your holistic nutrition is essential for a healthy mood. Here are some nutritious holiday recipes that are delicious, healthy, and can help put you in the holiday spirit:
- Cranberry Kale Stir-Fry
- Holistic Pumpkin Spiced Latte
- B6 Stuffed Potatoes
- Delicious Herbed Pumpkin Soup
- Baked Winter Pears and Apples
When put into practice, these simple tips can revitalize your holidays. You can enjoy these special times and still wrap up the season feeling energized. Here’s hoping you have a sparkling holiday season and especially a very happy New Year!
 Healthbeat. (November 2012). Are you tired from...too much sleep? Harvard Health Publications. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/are-you-tired-from-too-much-sleep
 University of Maryland Medical Center. (2014, December 9). Stress. Retrieved from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/stress
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a guest blogger for American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.