The holidays are typically bad for your health goals. Even the number of heart attacks spikes on Christmas and New Years. With family conflict, financial strain, grief, seasonal affective disorder, and overbooked schedules….on top of drinking and overeating… it’s no surprise that Americans often gain a few pounds during the holidays.
Find balance with these eight ways to stay healthy this year.
Stick to a schedule
The body works best on a schedule. Sleeping and waking at the same time can improve energy during the day. Regular mealtimes help regulate appetite and support the body’s natural rhythms. Schedule time for workouts and other selfcare activities to make sure you do them.
While you may not be able to control what you are eating, you can control the quantity. Take time to fully chew before swallowing to so food is more filling. Watch fullness cues (sighing, food not tasting as good) and stop eating at 80% full. You’ll notice how much less it takes to feel satiated!
Make sleep a priority
It’s easy to stay up late when busy, but prioritizing sleep truly impacts your health. The benefits: better blood sugar, less brain fog, more energy, and better recovery between workouts.
Alcohol disrupts blood sugar and sleep, and leads to worse food decisions (among other things). Toggle between alcoholic beverages and water at social events, and aim for 0–2 alcoholic beverages per week.
Start your day right
Exercise, meditation, or even quiet time help you stay balanced. Your first meal should be high in protein and fiber for stable energy. Try a vegetable omelet or add frozen veggies or nuts/seeds to your protein smoothie. If breakfast isn’t your thing, try adding collagen protein and a greens supplement to your morning coffee.
Exercise & Movement
Even if it’s just a few minutes on your busiest day, getting your blood flowing helps you feel energized. The most successful people schedule workout time to make sure it happens. No excuses!
Winter means more time indoors, but make it a priority to enjoy any good weather. Or dress for the weather you’ve got and get out there. It feels good to be active, and sunlight helps improve mood.
Proactive Stress Management
Stress management isn’t about what you do in moments of stress; it means being proactive so you can keep the fight-or-flight response in check. While exercise can help, try to balance your routine with activities that let you rest and digest. Pilates, yoga, tai chi, and meditation all have a calming effect that teaches the body to handle stress in a more productive way. Massage, stretching, cryotherapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic are also great assets. Many find relief in adaptogen herbs like ashwagandha or rhodiola to help modulate the body’s response to stress.
Gary Berglund, a certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist, yoga teacher, and nutrition coach, is the founder of Omnifunction, an online fitness and nutrition coaching brand that embraces a non-diet mindset and the practice of exercise to enhance quality of life. Gary uses behavioral change tactics and takes a Health At Every Size (HAES) approach to coach clients toward their goals. Connect at Omnifunction.us or on instagram and Facebook at @omnifunction.