The holidays are upon us, bringing with them the reminder that life is beautiful. Family gatherings, social festivities and time off from work add to an overall feeling of celebration and indulgence.
We’ve made it through the year, and we want to feel good. We want to feel so good, in fact, we tend to overdo it.
Desserts, appetizers and rich dishes we wait for all year long, cocktails, candy, you name it.
A never-ending to-do list, an over-packed calendar, gifts to buy, family expectations to tend to, and too much time around “Aunt Mary” who always comments on your appearance.
If we get swept away in all the holidays bring, we can start to undo our sense of self and all the powerful habits we’ve worked on throughout the year, sending us into the New Year with the resolution to start over.
To “finally” lose weight.
Get to the gym
Be more present with the kids
Slow down FOR ONCE
Come January 1; we may feel so exhausted, heavy, moody, or guilty that we cancel out our initial intentions to celebrate and enjoy ourselves.
So, how do we allow ourselves the opportunity to indulge in the pleasures of the holiday season without feeling overrun and overwhelmed by the start of a New Year? How do we balance enjoyment with self-nourishment so that we’re able to celebrate AND feel great at the same time?
Here are seven easy ways to assist your holistic well-being, mind, body, and spirit so you can move through the holidays with grace and ease:
1. Make (mandatory) space to nurture yourself.
Carve out a bit of time each day to connect with yourself. Consider bookending your day with a morning and evening ritual that allows you to decompress and reconnect with what’s important to you. You can try meditation, gentle stretching, journaling, a gratitude practice — anything that helps you feel a sense of grounding within. And when all else fails, deep, full breaths throughout the day can return you to an immediate sense of peace and calm from the inside, out.
2. Hydrate as much as possible.
Holiday meals can be heavy on flavor and high in salt, causing us to feel bloated the following day. Remembering to hydrate all day long helps to flush the body of excess sodium. Try placing a glass of water beside your bed at night, as a reminder to hydrate first thing in the morning.
If you don’t like the taste of water, you can add seasonal spices like cinnamon sticks, star anise, and clove, to add flavor and a little holiday flair.
3. Take time to connect with your body.
Our bodies contain incredible wisdom that often goes ignored with how busy our minds tend to be. At any given moment, we may have a myriad of tasks we’re processing or executing which can take us out of the present moment and make us more susceptible to getting caught up in life’s many dramas.
Creating space to tap into the gentle knowing of your body can create a greater sense of peace and lead to better choices overall. Consider taking 5 minutes before you begin your day to place one hand on your heart and one on your belly and feel your breath expanding and contracting within you. Ask your body what foods would nourish her before diving into a holiday feast. Go for a brief nature walk and feel, feel, what it’s like to be alive in your body now.
This embodied connection to your physical home can bring intuitive downloads and messages from the Divine if you’re open to it.
4. Balance sugar cravings by eating sweet vegetables.
Delicious, starchy, refined carbs are often highlights of any holiday feast, but the more we eat them, the more we crave them. By incorporating more sweet vegetables, like roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, beets and winter squash to our meals, we provide our bodies with additional fiber to help ease digestion and curb sugar and carb cravings after indulging.
5. Start with high-quality protein.
Beginning with breakfast, choose protein-rich meals to strengthen, sustain and balance your body throughout the day. Try a quinoa porridge with fresh, seasonal fruit, a couple of eggs, or even some leftover turkey to fire up your metabolism, keep you energized, and leave you less susceptible to overindulging.
6. Be OK with it!
If you choose to indulge, be OK with it. Many of us, eat something “unhealthy” or “fattening” and feel guilt or shame about it long after that particular food is gone. The residue of negativity lasts far longer than the food stays in your system, so be gentle with yourself. Trust that your body will recover. Allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy these meals and let them go truly. You’ll bounce back much more quickly if you choose to savor your choice without regret.
7. Remember, it’s just another day.
While the holidays “only come once a year,” creating too many expectations for a couple of days can be problematic, setting us up for disappointment and frustration when things don’t go as planned. We may have family traditions we feel like we “have to” uphold. A family member may ruin the day(s) with a nasty comment. We may be spending the holidays heartbroken and alone.
Remember, while they come with a lot of hype, holidays are just ordinary days, it’s the meaning we attach to them that creates joy or suffering. (And if you are alone for the holidays this year, please know you are never truly alone. There are so many that love and honor your presence here, even if it doesn’t feel like it currently.)
In my work as a Certified Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach, I help women to love the bodies they call home by embracing balance and pleasure in their everyday diets and lifestyle. I’ve seen firsthand how these seven steps can help individuals move through the year with energy and ease. The more we can care for our whole selves — body, mind, and spirit — the more fully we can show up in our lives.
How can you have a more significant experience of the holidays by caring for your amazing body? How can nurturing yourself each day help you to embody your desires for the new year fully?