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Holiday Habits: How to Stay Healthy and Happy over the Holidays

By featured writer: Angela Ward

The holidays are fast approaching. You might still be shopping for gifts, going over the details for an upcoming party or sending out cards to family and friends. Despite all the bright lights, delicious treats and cheery music, the holiday season can be a busy and stressful time.

Everyone seems to be counting down the days and literally trying to wrap everything up before December 25th arrives. You’re preparing meals for dinners and parties. You’re trying to find the perfect gift for your loved ones. And those cookies, pies and tarts are all calling your name.

With so much to do and so little time, the pressure can easily get the better of you. That’s why you should take carve out some time for self-care this month.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

#1 Eating Habits

Every time you reach for a treat, take a moment to consider why you’re reaching for it. Is it to try something new or to savour a treat you really love? Or are you eating it to ease feelings of stress or anxiety?

Food should be savoured and enjoyed, not eaten mindlessly or in a rushed way. This is your time and your moment. Create a healthy relationship with food this season so that you’re giving your body the nutrition it needs but also the enjoyment it deserves. It’s okay to indulge but just be mindful of how often you’re eating desserts and other calorie-heavy foods and why you’re eating them.

Make sure you’re getting lots of shut-eye because you’re more likely to reach for processed foods when you’re sleep-deprived. Try to see sugary and fatty foods more as treats you have every so often rather than frequently. If you’re craving a snack, have some fruit or veggies and dip, for example rather than reaching for a chocolate bar. Another way to avoid overindulging is to stop yourself from buying too many foods high in fat or sugar at the grocery store.

Eating well will make you feel a lot better while you’re getting everything done like a boss.

#2 Social Connections

When was the last time you got together with your friends or had a date night with your partner? The holidays are a perfect time to reconnect with people, socialize and just let the stress melt away. Like exercising, socializing will also keep the winter blues at bay and remind you of the support system you have in other people. Nurturing that feeling of connectedness is vital to maintaining our emotional and mental well-being.

#3 Cold/Flu

The cold or flu is definitely not a gift you want to receive this holiday season. Stay hydrated, get your flu shot, eat well, exercise regularly and aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night. All of these habits will boost your immunity and lessen your chances of getting sick. Eat citrus fruits, leafy greens like spinach and broccoli, and yogurts with live and active cultures to build up your immune system.


#4 Leisure Time

Take a look at your day. Are you fitting in enough time for yourself and loved ones? We get it--work can be super addicting but you need time away from it or else you’ll burn out. Take the time this holiday to pause, whether that means going for a walk out in the snow, admiring the bright lights or enjoying a cup of your favourite drink. The holidays should also be about reflection, enjoyment and fun.

It’s one of the few times of the year where family and friends gather together. Don’t let the excitement and rush of the holidays prevent you from enjoying this beautiful time of year.

#5 Physical Activity

It’s best to keep a consistent schedule when it comes to exercising during the holidays. This can be tough, we know, but keeping active during the winter is key. Fewer hours of daylight equals less opportunity to soak up sunlight, which means that our moods can be severely affected by the lack of sunlight. Exercise will not only get you outside (ideally during the brightest parts of the day) but it will ward off depression and other mood-related problems. Exercise will make you feel alert and might be what you need to kickstart your day!

The Goal is... Always invest in yourself

Remember: eat well, take time out for yourself, keep active, socialize and protect yourself against the cold/flu. Because no one wants to start the new year calling in sick from work.

It can be hard to get these all down perfectly but by incorporating at least a few of them into your day, you’ll be sure to enjoy the holidays a little more!

What things do you do to keep healthy and active during the holidays? Share with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear!

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So both in our 30's, with exciting careers including fast track to CEO positions, we met at RSM Business School during our MBA in The Netherlands. 

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