Blog > 12 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season, According to a Health Coach

12 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season, According to a Health Coach

Maintain your health goals without compromising on holiday spirit
Group of people enjoying a holiday meal

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It’s no secret — the holidays can wreak havoc on your health and well-being. Whether you’re hosting a feast, shopping for gifts, or volunteering at events, the stress can be overwhelming. Additionally, when combining these factors with reduced outdoor time, decreased physical activity, and the temptation of unhealthy food and drinks, it’s no surprise that many people abandon their health goals during late November and December, only to resume them in January.

However, this doesn’t have to be your narrative. It’s entirely possible for you to maintain your health and wellness goals throughout the festive season without compromising on the holiday spirit. In fact, incorporating a few health-conscious practices could enhance your overall holiday experience.

Here are 12 ways to make this happen, according to an Arootah health coach.

1. Prioritize Rest

Most people think less time at the office during the holidays means more time for R&R, only to lose their free time to family and social obligations. Still, make an effort to prioritize rest if you want to feel your best.

Research has shown that sleep deprivation is a silent killer that can impact your concentration, memory, mood, and more. Consider changing your mindset to get better sleep by incorporating foods and drinks that promote healthy sleep into your diet.

2. Manage Stress

Stress during the holiday season can arise from various factors. Perhaps you’re managing the stress of your entire family’s arrival or maybe your workload or disruptions to your routine are overwhelming you.

Regardless of the cause, it’s crucial to establish a couple stress management strategies to get yourself through the festive season. Techniques for managing stress can include deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga, along with refraining from excessive eating or drinking as a means to alleviate stress.

3. Set Boundaries

Along these lines, one common source of stress over the holidays is a lack of clear boundaries. You need to set boundaries around your most precious and limited resource — time — and prioritize the things that matter most to you.

Setting boundaries may mean saying “no” to requests that come up from family, friends, or colleagues. While it can be difficult to decline hosting Thanksgiving, or to inform a colleague that you can’t pick up their slack while they’re out of the office, it’s important that you protect your time and energy.

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4. Take Time for Yourself

Besides emphasizing rest, it’s important to redefine “rest” beyond just “sleep.” Allocate sufficient time for leisure activities, free from any obligations or expectations, as this constitutes a unique form of rest. Plan to engage in your preferred winter activities before the season ends and schedule them in.

5. Be Disciplined with Portion Control

During family holiday gatherings, many of us forget all about portion control. A single Christmas cookie may turn into three. Our plate might overflow as we heap on the Thanksgiving sides. A casual drink at the ski lodge may escalate into multiple rounds at the holiday party, followed by more at home by the fire.

However, make an effort to be mindful of how much you’re indulging and don’t overdo it. If you’re satisfied, that’s your sign to stop.

6. Balance Your Plate

As you pick out your holiday meals, aim to balance your plate with a colorful variety of healthy foods, including vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. Ensure you remain adequately hydrated as well by balancing your alcoholic beverages with water.

7. Make Healthy Swaps

Finding it challenging to maintain a balanced diet amidst the array of tempting holiday delicacies? Consider making healthier substitutes that are equally satisfying.

Opt for whole grains over white breads and pastas. Select sweet potatoes and other nutritious root vegetables in place of regular potatoes. Experiment with a mocktail as an alternative to a cocktail. Bake your favorite treats using natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup, rather than refined sugar.

8. Practice All Things in Moderation

There’s no need for guilt if you indulge a little during the holidays. While maintaining your health goals is crucial, straying from them for a day or two isn’t catastrophic. Just make sure to get back on track as soon as possible.

9. Stay Consistent with Exercise

While you might not want to head to the gym in the ice and snow, and it’s too cold for a run around the block, you can still stay consistent with exercise this holiday season. Incorporate physical activity in alternative ways, such as participating in a virtual yoga session beside your Christmas tree or getting your steps in while holiday shopping.

10. Plan Your Workouts

Make sure to plan your workouts in advance and schedule them in so that they actually happen. Prioritize them and, if you have a plan to work out at a certain time, don’t skip it.

11. Involve Others

A simple strategy to adhere to your fitness goals during the holiday season is to include your family in them. Embark on a group hike before your holiday feast, participate in an outdoor touch football game, or gather a group of friends for a walk around the neighborhood to admire the holiday lights.

12. Embrace the Outdoors

Don’t forget that, while it might be too cold and icy for a traditional run or other outdoor exercises, winter and snow come with new ways to get active. Try skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, or snowshoeing; there’s a wealth of snow day options for every fitness level and skillset.

The Bottom Line

The holiday season doesn’t have to mean you lose sight of your health and wellness goals. You can stay healthy while still having fun. The key is to be kind to yourself as the holidays can be an especially stressful time.

Need help along the way? Sign up for a complimentary call with an Arootah health coach to see how we can support you.

Get actionable tips to help you energize and reprioritize self-care. Sign up for The Wellness Return newsletter today.

By providing your email address, you agree to receive email communication from Arootah

Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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