With so much to celebrate from Thanksgiving to New Years, we find our schedules overflowing with events centered around time-honored food traditions, social pressure, and limited movement. I used to be that person who would justify my bad health choices by saying “It’s the holidays, and I’m going to enjoy them!” I constantly found myself paying for these decisions and feeling crummy by January. Finally I decided that enough was enough, and I became much healthier during the holidays through a few easy wellness intentions. Here are my Twelve Days of Holiday Health tips to keep the balance in your life this holiday season.
12 minutes of sunlight
Studies show that having sufficient levels of vitamin D can boost the immune system, help prevent strokes, osteoporosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, high blood pressure, and it may slow the aging process. Since the sun is the biggest source of naturally acquired vitamin D, we can become depleted early in the winter. If the sun peeks out during the holidays, grab a coat and try to capture 12 minutes of much-needed sunshine. Supplementing or finding good food sources of vitamin D is also important no matter how much naturally acquired sunlight you and your family get.
11 deep breaths
Holiday blues or stress? Take some deep breaths to decrease stress, lower your heart rate, increase energy, improve digestion, and it even aids in good posture. Breath in through the nose for five seconds, hold five seconds, and let it out through the nose for five seconds. Try 11 breaths to give yourself a good two and a half minutes of life-giving oxygen and a quick mental vacation when you need it most.
10 minute workouts
Starting your day with a 10 minute workout is a simple way to have a profound impact on your day. Working out releases endorphins which help stabilize your bodies chemistry, is a great way to reduce stress, and boosts your metabolism. Ten minutes every day is an easy commitment during the holiday rush, and you can vary the intensity depending on what your body needs that day.
9 glasses of water
The recommended water intake is 8, 8 ounce glasses per day. However, when the seasons shift to cooler weather, dehydration is more common resulting in dry skin, digestion issues, feeling hungry, or having brain fog; none of which are good during the holidays. One extra glass, or more, will do wonders. Give your children water bottles every day to monitor the amount they are drinking, and have a goal to refill it at every meal.
8 hours of sleep
Do you ever notice that on days when you get the right amount of sleep you seem to have a better day? It is important to be mindful of your circadian rhythm and to plan your day according to it. Not enough sleep can affect your weight, your mood, and even the amount of pain you have. 8 hours is recommended for adults, and even more for your children. Take advantage of the dark days of winter to catch up on some good hibernation.
7 servings of fruits and vegetables
Aim for above the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables this holiday season to keep your cravings in check and to limit room on your plate for the high calorie items. Make eating vegetables more fun for the kids by arranging them like a turkey or a star on their plate during special meals.
6 meals prepped per week
There is so much going on during the holidays. Between shopping and family outings alone we hardly have time to make a family meal. If you have something healthy on hand it will be quicker than fast food, and healthier too. Make 6 on Sunday and separate into individual meals so they are ready to grab and go for the busy week, and you can freeze what you don’t use. Make-ahead breakfast recipes here.
5 minutes of meditation
Lets talk about mom-time. It’s different than real time, and during the holidays its shortened even more. Who has 45 minutes to meditate? Honor yourself everyday by allowing 5 minutes of silence to notice your emotions and listen to your intuition. I promise that 5 minutes every day is more powerful than one 45 minute session every week.
4 ways of movement
Reduce pain, stress, and muscle tension through massages, adjustments, stretching, and yoga. Making time for movement is a gift to yourself through the hustle of the season.
3 day cleanse
Sometime after Thanksgiving and before NYE, commit to a juice cleanse to reset and replenish yourself. A juice cleanse detoxes your body, gives your digestive system a break and allows you to absorb an extreme amount of nutrients, boosting the immune system. Although most people do not do a juice cleanse to lose weight, you most likely will by doing this. Bonus! Songbird and 86 Coldpress here in Wichita both have knowledgeable people to assist you through the process.
2 sources of laughter
Extra endorphins are a good thing, and laughter is truly the best medicine to do this. Find a good friend to keep on speed dial (is that still a thing?) to exchange funny holiday stories and to make you smile. Find a second source of joy through a good movie/podcast/book that makes you fall down laughing. It reduces stress and it works your abs! Don’t forget about the kids, they need a good laugh every day too.
1 wise splurge
Rather than choosing food that you can have at any time of the year, find treats that are absolutely exceptional and exclusive to the season, like your dad’s sweet potato casserole or your daughter’s first pumpkin pie.
Use all twelve or just a few of these suggestions, but don’t forget to take the time to do the things that make you happy and support your health. Do you have healthy tips to share?