We’re almost into the home stretch of the holiday season now, just Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s to go. These last ones come fast and furious, right on top of each other. It can be hard to keep our heads above water between the overindulging, busyness, money layout, and intense family dynamics. Stress, stress, and more stress is often the name of the game. How in the world do we stay healthy and somewhat mentally sane for the next few weeks? I’ve got some ideas for you.
For starters, don’t try to be perfect, get on a new health or exercise trip, or plan not to eat one single bad thing or drink at all. That’s just adding more heat to an already whistling pressure cooker. Let go of doing everything right and not being impacted by the holidays. Accept now that you’re going to want some of your cousin’s yule log, your coworker’s insane cookies, and some celebratory New Year’s champagne. By New Year’s you’ve made it to the end, so you deserve it!
Next, don’t swing from perfection to eating and drinking everything in sight. Between the work deadlines, present shopping, and parties galore, try to find a medium somewhere. Pick and choose your treats and go for the ones your inner child will take your life hostage over if you deny her or him. Do you really need the cute Christmas red and green M&Ms at the receptionist’s desk, or could you save yourself for your dad’s homemade eggnog? Wouldn’t you rather have your neighbor’s daughter’s special painstakingly created cookie delights as a special treat instead of feeling like crap because you couldn’t resist eating a whole bowl of Chex Mix at that party last night? Just saying, go for the stuff that makes the holidays feel alive and joyful over the survival eating just because you’ve already given up taking care of yourself until January 1st (maybe 2nd) rolls around.
One tip to help is continue to eat your vegetables. Mom’s know best. Eating vegetables will not only help fill you up, but they give your body what it needs to help stave off some cravings. When you give your body the nutrients it actually needs to work right, it doesn’t keep bugging you for more food… more food! This is an enormous help when you’re trying to not overdo, and can even give you the millisecond of space you need to pull your hand back from the candy cane jar at the bank, saving yourself for that glass of Pinot later instead. We don’t always need both to get through the holidays. Eat the salad, the crudites, the side veggie first.
Drink green drinks. Or, take green supplements, like spirulina, chlorella or green powders. Getting these nutrient-dense superfoods in your system will alkalize you (huge help in not getting sick) and boost your immunity. (See last paragraph on what nutrients do for you.) Many greens are also considered bitter, which quells sugar cravings – bonus! Try green drinks and salads during the day and then have fun at night. There are lots of ways to create a structure that allows you to enjoy the holidays and not throw the towel in right from the get go. Experiment and see what works for you, without being perfect. If you happen to go crazy one day, get up and lots of greens with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar the whole next morning. Those alkalizers will help you get back on track faster than you realize.
If the stress of food and drink, work, or family gets to be too much and you start feeling like you’re fighting something off then here’s a few tips to enact quickly to give your immune system the boost it needs to win the war. Stop all sugar, eat lightly, and drink lots of water – simple. Sugar crashes your immune system for 24 hours after you eat it. Eating lighter gives your digestive system a break, so your body can focus on kicking this virus’ or bacteria’s rear end. Did you know most illness starts in the gut, even respiratory stuff? Drinking lots of water will flush toxins out of your body, ease it’s load, and help it function better, which leads to supporting your immune system.
Use essential oils! You knew that was coming. I like to take black cumin daily during the winter to keep my immune system strong. I also use some type of conifer daily. I’m currently on a black spruce kick right now. The conifers like pine, fir, and spruce, are grounding (anti-stress) and big respiratory supporters. Daily digestive aids include cardamom and ginger, plus they’re warming against the cold. I like to throw in a daily self-love essence like lavandin super or rose, just to keep myself in the right mindset. If I start to feel like some bug is attempting to take hold then I really ramp up my oil usage and throw in oregano or thyme, laurel leaf, and mugwort until I feel better. Throwing in a citrus or two is very uplifting and alkalizing as well to round out the holiday season support.
Lastly, try to de-stress if the pressure gets to be too much. Take a brief walk, skip a party, take deep breaths, listen to something inspiring on the way to work, read a trashy novel, binge watch a funny show, love on yourself and know January is just around the corner. We got this people!
What’s a “really want to change my evil ways” person to do?
Start small. Don’t set all your hopes on changing every. single. thing. come the 2nd. Pick your most pressing issue, the one that keeps you feeling like crap about yourself. For example weight loss, always a top resolution seller. Don’t make your resolution to start exercising every day, stop eating all junk food, and not drink anymore ALL AT THE SAME TIME. It sounds great on paper, but it is impossible to accomplish (unless going to live on a deserted island with nothing to eat but greens and nothing to do but exercise is on the resolution list too). You’re still going to be you tomorrow, living in the same circumstances, with the same lifestyle habits tomorrow. There’s no magic wand-waving New Year’s fairy who turns your whole mindset around come midnight. Heck, you’ll probably still be partying it up at 12.
Start small doesn’t mean no changes, but we’re trying to make those changes stick, without throwing the towel in on January 3rd. If weight loss is your resolution, pick 1-2 things you can actually implement on a regular basis in. Choose things that feel like a little stretch, but feel doable for the long haul. Maybe it’s exercise 3 times a week. Maybe it’s stop eating sugar during the work week (you’d actually be surprised how much not eating sugar alone would make you lose weight!). Maybe it’s stopping drinking wine every night and just having a glass or two on the weekends only. Only you will know what your main vice is that puts the weight on, and tackle that in a way that feels manageable.
Another way to go is adding healthy stuff in, like eating more vegetables and green stuff, if a health goal is your resolution. Taking walks instead of having to pound it out at the gym. Drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day. It’s amazing how much small health additions make it easier to forgo some of the habits you want to let go of.
Pack in rewards (not junk food) if you meet your small goals each week.
Treat yourself to a massage, buy new workout tights, or spluge on a guilty pleasure – my husband likes trashy magazines.
It doesn’t have to always be about weight loss. It could be to stop smoking, start meditating or just simply be nicer. I’m working on stressing out less. I’ve noticed that I stress out waaay more than is necessary, so that’s my resolution goal, to give my precious adrenals a well deserved break. What am I doing? I’m adding more protein into my diet daily. I’m using essential oils to balance my brain chemistry (Artemisia and Frankincense) and to support my adrenals (Cedarwood and Spruce). I’m taking time after my morning meditation to work on healing the little part that freaks out over everything. I’m skipping sugar too, as that works over my adrenals every time.
Happy New Years to you! Here’s to some small tweaks in your lifestyle that lead to year-long changes that support you in being who you really want to be in this life, more of who you really are and less of a slave to habits that hold you back.