As the holidays are approaching, you’ve likely gotten your fair share of party invitations and surprise treats at the office. The whole month of December seems to fill up with parties, dinners, cocktail hours, and cookie exchanges. With all the excitement, self-care sometimes takes a back seat.
Luckily, IIN alum and practicing Health Coach Sheila Petersen shares her tips for staying healthy despite all the seasonal treats and festivities.
Enjoy the Moment
With so many plans and a to-do list that seems to go on forever, staying in the moment can be really tough. The problem is that if you’re constantly thinking about what you need to do next, you’re not enjoying yourself in the moment.
To help yourself enjoy this season, consider adding a gratitude practice to your routine. Each day, write down three things you are grateful for. You may find that this helps you appreciate the season and focus on all the great things the season has to offer.
Pick the Right Foods
It’s natural to enjoy some treats this time of year, but opting for healthier items when possible can help keep immunity up during this busy season.
On the days you’re not celebrating and in the hours leading up to an event, opt for high-quality fats, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates in your meals.
Choose quality foods over quantity foods. As Petersen explains, “If you eat eggs daily, choose cage-free and organic. These options tend to have better farming practices and humanely raised animals. If you are consuming beef, poultry, or fish, you’ll want to look for grass-fed and grass-finished meats, organic poultry, and wild-caught fish.”
Squeeze in Exercise
No time to sweat? Even if you can’t get in a full workout, moving your body can help support digestion and a good mood – which can be important during this sometimes stressful time. There are tons of options: spinning, yoga, Pilates, barre, HIIT, running, walking, and more. It might be fun to try a completely new workout with a friend!
“Self-care is the new healthcare. Prioritize your day with fitting in a workout, even if you only have twenty minutes. I love quick yoga and meditation exercises. Take a few laps around your neighborhood. Any type of movement is better than nothing,” says Petersen.
If you’re a parent, be sure to include your kids—they’ll benefit, too, and it won’t make you miss your workout. “Make it fun and get your kids involved. Create that daily, healthy ritual—a gift that keeps on giving. Take turns and let your kids choose the activity. My favorite is to make a list of exercises from A–Z. When it’s Amy’s turn, you can choose the letters A, M, and Y, and do three sets of ten,” she says.
“As a busy mom, I treat my self-care as a selfless act because I know when I am taken care of, I can take better care of those around me. To ensure this happens, I make an appointment with myself on the calendar, and I keep that commitment,” she explains.
Learn How to Say No
When it comes to holiday events, there are plenty to choose from and it’s impossible to go to all without getting exhausted. (In which case, you won’t be able to be there for anyone.) Prioritize social events to give yourself some care and rest and leave time for other things that are enjoyable to you.
“To maintain balance, especially in the holiday season, we must learn to say yes to some and no to others. Look at your calendar from a weekly view. I like to color code my fun/party activities with yellow. I allow myself four yellow events per week. When that fills up, I say no to keep in balance with my self-care. It’s important to commit and show up, and this rule helps me keep in balance from having to cancel later because I’ve taken on too much,” says Petersen.
How do you stay on track with your health goals during the holidays? Please share below!