Holiday Tips & Staying Mindful
The holiday season for some can be more challenging than wonderful. When the days grow shorter, many people slow down, are more fatigued, have a tougher time falling asleep and waking, difficulty with concentration and have intense carb cravings with related weight gain.
There’s less light during this “wonderful time” and that may cause serotonin levels to tumble, which can lead to increases in food cravings. On top of that, vitamin D and melanin levels often drop, which, combined with increased stress and increased cortisol levels, makes weight loss a real challenge, especially with decreased activity.
So just how can you shift you’re thinking and embrace this “happiest season,” ensuring that you continue to lead an active, healthy lifestyle? It all begins and ends with your thoughts, especially those thoughts that invite the unwanted guests “stress” and “tension.”
Here’s what to do:
- Catch yourself when you start thinking inaccurately about the time of year. Are you filling your head with what you can’t do because of the weather? Nonsense. What does weather MAKE you feel? Physically, of course, cold, warm, etc. But emotionally, it all hangs on your thoughts. Your thoughts about the season determine what you feel and how you act. It all depends on your thinking; thus, “the link is what you think.”
- Let go of perfection. Don’t put too much emphasis on making everything perfect. Those magazine spreads showing gorgeous holiday decorations and feasts were prepared by teams of designers. Since you probably don’t have a full-time staff at your disposal, set more realistic expectations for yourself.
- Plan ahead. What do you plan to eat at the office luncheon? What about the office dinner party? Plan in advance by checking the menu and sticking with it. Need help? That is why you are a client at NuYou. Cravings will come and go, but when equipped with your eating plan in advance, it’s a lot easier to deal with those cravings and stick to your plan. Avoid this common thought: “If I make a mistake, I’ve blown it for the day so I might as well keep eating whatever I want and get back on track tomorrow.” Don’t let one misstep lead to another. If you do, then you aren’t challenging your thoughts.
- True meaning of the holidays- Seeing the holidays as a time to celebrate your health and well-being. That changes the big picture of what the holidays are all about, doesn’t it? Keep reminding yourself of your larger goal, a celebration of your health, when you accept a dinner date, a party invitation or an office lunch. While “they” are kicking back sugary sodas and mindlessly munching candy, taking thirds on desserts they erroneously believe they “must” enjoy, skipping workouts, ignoring limits on alcohol, falling for the fat-free myth or skipping breakfasts, you are quietly celebrating the most important value you’ve embraced—your health. That is what makes it truly the “happiest time of the year.”
- Recharge. Even if your hectic holiday schedule only allows you to spend a few minutes on yourself, take that time to go someplace quiet to recharge your batteries. Wherever and however you refresh your spirit depends on your individual preference. It could be a few minutes of quiet in a church, or a walk in a park. You could even take yourself to a day spa for a manicure and quick neck massage. Another quick and no-cost idea: Go into an empty room in your house, hang a “do not disturb” sign on the door, and do some stretches while listening to some soothing music or sounds of nature.
- Get your ZZZ’s. Sleep affects just about everything including appetite, metabolism, energy, and mood. Although you may be tempted to burn the midnight oil, you’ll be more productive and effective if you commit to regular sleep.