7 Healthy Holiday Habits You Can Easily Maintain This Season
The most wonderful time of the year can easily be the most stressful and hectic. If you find your calendar starts filling up and your to-do list is never-ending once November 1st rolls around, taking care of yourself might fall right off of that list. Especially when you have a few healthy holiday habits to rely on.
Between Thanksgiving, holiday parties, work get-togethers, secret Santas, and New Year’s Eve bashes, maintaining those healthy habits you’ve become accustomed to might feel like the last thing you have time for. And yet, while you may not have the time or motivation for elaborate self-care weekends, you can still keep up with these basic healthy holiday habits that will leave you feeling your best throughout the season.
1. Stay rested
Fight the urge to stay up late to finish your to-do list or binge-watch Hallmark movies and prioritize your sleep. Even though it’s the holidays, you should aim for a solid 7 to 9 hours of sleep most nights. If you sacrifice sleep for late-night parties, you’ll have a hard time being your best, mentally and physically, the next day.
If you’re having a hard time getting quality sleep during the holidays, try some of these tips:
- Create a soothing bedtime routine and stop using electronics or screens at least an hour before bed.
- Skip the cocoa or other caffeinated drinks in the evening. Sip on herbal tea instead.
- Make your room cool and dark. The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your bedroom a cool 60 to 67 degrees Farenheight and using room darkening blinds.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
When the weather turns colder, you might find yourself reaching for your water bottle less and less. This huge mistake can leave you feeling dehydrated, cranky, and unproductive.
During the winter, when temperatures are colder, you can’t rely on thirst to tell you when to drink more water. In fact, researchers found that cold weather decreased participants’ thirst response by up to 40%!
How much you need to drink depends on many things, such as gender, weight, and activity level. Still, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine estimate that adult men need 15.5 cups of fluid each day while adult women need 11.5 cups per day.
3. Move your body
If cold weather and the holiday season have you wanting to curl up on the couch instead of killing some curls in the gym, you’re not alone! A Gallup poll found that people who routinely exercise at least 3 to 4 days per week exercised the most in the summer months and the least in December.
Sticking to an exercise schedule throughout the holiday season can help do more than keep you physically fit. The immediate benefits of exercise include reduced depression and anxiety and improved thinking and judgment.
So while you should allow yourself time to enjoy your favorite holiday movies and relax this holiday season, you’ll also want to make room in your schedule to exercise. Make exercise fun by planning the occasional ice skating date with friends, a friendly snowball fight, or trying new indoor activities like rock wall climbing.
4. Load up on fruits and veggies
There’s something about the winter months that make it extra tough to enjoy crisp salads and juicy watermelon (or is that just us?). With cold weather comes comfort food cravings, but don’t write off your fruits and vegetables just yet.
Eating fruits and vegetables gives you the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy and fight off illness during cold and flu season. They also help you to eat enough fiber each day. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get between 25 and 34 grams of fiber daily. Fiber is essential for digestive health, heart health, and healthy blood sugar levels.
Fill up on seasonal fruits and veggies and enjoy them in new ways this holiday season. Citrus fruits, cranberries, pomegranates, and apples are perfect to snack on or add to your holiday meals and desserts. Add brussels sprouts, squash, broccoli, and cauliflower to your winter dishes for daily servings of seasonal vegetables too.
5. Keep connected
For some, it may feel impossible to find alone time during the holidays, but for others, staying connected can be a real hurdle. The weather is colder, the days are shorter, and people are busy. If it feels like you’re just going through the motions each day and unable to spend meaningful time with people you love, you’re not alone.
People of all ages are susceptible to loneliness, and during the holidays these feelings can increase exponentially. Stay connected with others in small ways throughout the entire holiday season by planning quick coffee dates with friends, or video calls with out-of-town family members. You could even go old-school by writing handwritten letters and cards to the people you love and can’t see nearly enough.
6. Maintain a mindfulness practice
If the holiday hustle and bustle has you running around from when you open your eyes to when your head hits the pillow, it might be time for a time-out. No matter how busy your days are, carve out a small pocket of time for a mindfulness practice that works for you.
Routinely practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress levels, boost your memory, improve focus, and help you cultivate better relationships with those around you. This could be in the form of a 10-minute guided meditation or a few minutes with your journal, jotting down affirmations and words of gratitude. If you’re especially short on time, multi-task with this effective shower meditation.
7. Limit screen time
Nothing can make you feel inadequate like seeing what everyone else is up to on social media. Beautifully decorated homes, miles of presents wrapped under the tree, and glorious holiday tablescapes can leave you feeling like everyone has more, does more, and is more than you.
Remember that everyone shares only their highlight reels online. You don’t get to see the crying kids, fights over the last piece of pie, and all the cleaning and prep work that went into that perfect snapshot. Avoid falling into a comparison trap that leaves you wondering why you even try by protecting yourself on social media. Limit your time and log on with a purpose. This will help prevent you from spending hours scrolling, comparing, and feeling bad about not keeping up with the Joneses.
Good food brings people together. So do good emails.