6 Ways to Stay Healthy for the Holidays

We’re almost there! With all the busyness and extra pressures that come along with the holiday season, I thought I’d share some tips I’m finding helpful in my own health journey in preparation for the festivities coming right up.
1. Take It Slow. This year, I’m trying to stay conscious of the pace at which I’m moving (or driving!) and how many things I’m booking for one day. Errands take up more time than usual in pre-Christmas week, so my husband and I are making lists and taking turns while the other one takes care of things on the home front. It’s also helpful to “make space”. Emotions can come up. We miss those who can’t be with us. Christmas is a nostalgic time of year filled with media suggestions about how things are “supposed” to feel. Creating enough space in your schedule gives plenty of time to feel your feelings, take a few breaths, reflect, release.
2. Treat Yourself. Getting in with your massage therapist or for acupuncture or a pedicure can be a squeeze this time of year unless it’s pre-booked, but contact your therapist just in case there’s space or a waiting list this week or next. For me, these self-care appointments are essential medicine, especially in December. Plus, relieving stress in healthy ways will decrease the drive to turn to sweets and alcohol to calm those year-end nerves.
3. Breather Breaks. Family comes with its share of pressures. Relationship tensions and family dramas only get amplified at the holidays. The key here can be to manage your expectations. If a certain relationship is has been rocky, you’re probably not going to wake up and find it’s running smooth as silk just because it’s Christmas. (Even though we wish it could be). If you need to be the person who leaves the dining table to clear plates and load the dishwasher, perfect, you’ll be helpful as well as helping yourself take a little breather. If you want to take a walk, announce it with positivity: “Well, the air is so fresh and crisp right now, I just can’t resist a post-dinner walk. If you guys are happy playing your crokinole for a few minutes, I’ll leave you to it for a few minutes!”..or..”I think I’ll go check out what the kiddos are up to in the rec room.”
4. It’s An Experiment. If you’ve made some nutrition changes this year and you’re enjoying how you feel, that’s great. If you’d like to enjoy some of your mom’s apple pie, a coffee or a cocktail, plan to do so 100% guilt-free. Treat it like an experiment: first, choose the highest quality dessert or treat you can find. Next, sit down and really enjoy that special treat in good company. Then, simply move on. No guilt. Your very next meal or snack can reflect your normal way of eating, and if you develop any reactions it’ll just be good information for you to keep in mind for next time. You’ll get to decide if it’s “worth” it or not. (I feel this way about my mother-in-law’s homemade pies – at Thanksgiving and Christmas, I decide the pleasure is worth the pain of dealing with gluten reactions tomorrow).
5. Move to Your Groove. Nothing helps you balance holiday indulgences and boost your immune system after all those shopping crowds like exercise. You don’t need a hard-core fitness overhaul – just a little bit of maintenance and you’ll feel so much better than if you abandon movement altogether and wind up in a guilt-spiral over Christmas. My hubby and I have had our first skate at Guelph City Hall and plenty of walks to look at Christmas lights around our neighbourhood.
What are you doing to keep your health over the holidays? What works for you? Share your tips below.
Need a clinic appointment over the holidays? Holiday hours available here.

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