The holidays have come and gone, and brought families and friends together for good conversations, delicious food, and gift exchanges. The break in routine might have been wonderful, but, I hope you didn’t lose sight of your health in all the hustle and bustle! If you did, here’s a few simple ways you can take care of yourself, mentally and physically, during the busiest time of the year.
Nobody will tell you that the holidays are a great time to start a new diet. You’re going to be surrounded by temptations, and, for most people, that is a recipe for failure. Plus, did you really want to miss out on your grandmother’s famous apple pie? Definitely not. However, is it possible that you maybe went a bit overboard? If so, don’t beat yourself up! The heavy food and drink over the holidays may have taken a mental and physical toll. Maybe you’re noticing a few extra pounds, or maybe you just feel sluggish and a little more tired than usual. If so, this is a great time to make some simple changes to your diet. But, please don’t jump feet first into an extreme lifestyle change. Make the small changes first: drink more water, focus on adding a serving of fruits or vegetables to your daily diet, or work in some meal prep to your weekly routine. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, call your doctor. He or she will have a wealth of resources to help you in your dietary journey: from daily nutritional goals to sample meal plans, and will be thrilled to get you started on the path to healthier eating.
A winter wonderland makes for a great song, and an even better Christmas card, but it also makes it hard for many of us to exercise as much as we would like. Shorter days, slush, ice, and narrow sidewalks, combine to turn a simple walk around the block into a potentially treacherous expedition. Instead of giving up on exercise completely, get creative. If the weather outside is too frightful for you, there’s plenty of ways to get your heartrate up inside. Grab a friend, and head to your local mall, and start walking some laps. Many malls even allow walkers to come inside before the stores open, so you won’t be fighting crowds during your workout. If leaving the house is too daunting, get moving at home! Your living room might not have enough space to complete a high-impact aerobic workout, but it probably has plenty of room for you to stretch, do some simple body-weight exercises, or a quick yoga flow. Carving some time out of your day for exercising will clear your mind, get your endorphins flowing, and improve your physical health. Not a bad way to spend your time!
Between buying and wrapping gifts, planning menus, cooking, organizing travel, and keeping track of events, the holiday season is a whirlwind. Even the most festive among us can get burned out somewhere around the third Holiday Concert, and after spending a month (or more) in the midst of holiday cheer, it’s easy to feel as run down as a dried up Christmas tree now that the holidays are behind us. So, to help your mental recovery, take some time during your day that’s just for you. That time can be a few minutes with a journal before bedtime, quiet meditation before starting your day, or finding the time to read a chapter or two of a great book. Give yourself permission to be still, ignore the to-do list for a moment, and clear your mind. Your mental health will thank you, and you’ll emerge from this timeout ready for whatever your day has in store.