With the changing seasons, your health is always more vulnerable. This may explain why we start to see a rise in colds and flu this time of year. When the weather cools down and the days get shorter we also need to adjust our routines to match the seasonal rhythm. When we do this our immune system benefits as well as our emotional wellness.
Here are my top tips for staying well, physically and mentally, during this holiday season. Shorten Your Day: As the days get shorter, so too should your To Do list. Rather than trying to accomplish more, shorten your list to only the most necessary items. Get More Sleep: As the nights get longer so too should the time you spend resting. This means winding down as the sun sets and aiming to get to bed earlier. Flip the Ratio of Cold Foods to Warm Foods: Transition your diet from fresh raw fruits and salads to more soups, stews, broth, and roasted veggies. Add in more spices too and your body will transition to the colder months much more smoothly. Meditate: Not only do we need to spend more time resting, this also means allowing time to go within. Meditation or prayer is a great tool for introspection and quiet, which can be a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of holiday gatherings and preparations. Practice Gratitude: Remember what we’re really celebrating this time of year, which is gratitude for our family, our friends, our health, and all that we have. When we stay focused on what we’re grateful for the stress of the season will have less of an impact.
A Healthy Feast
Now there’s also the issue of enjoying the actual holiday celebration without feeling ill after because of too many indulgences. Here are my top tips for enjoying the feast yet still feeling great. Don’t Save Up: There’s no reason to show up to the party starving, this will only lead to over-indulgence. Plan to eat breakfast and lunch and maybe even have a light snack before leaving so you’ll be better able to moderate how high you pile your plate. Hydrate: Whether you choose to drink alcohol or not at your gathering most of us forget to stay hydrated. Drink one or two glasses of water before you go to the party, then try to alternate a glass of water with every alcoholic or fancy drink you have while there. End the evening with some herbal tea to help your digestion and send you off to bed well hydrated. Add a Walk: Depending on what time the meal is, plan to take a walk either before or after the meal, to help with digestion and to give your body a chance to use up some of the calories you just consumed. Just because you’re gathering around the dinner table doesn’t mean you can’t extend the social time on a walk around the neighborhood. Savor the Flavors: Some of my favorite foods show up at the dinner table around Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is not the time to restrict or deprive yourself of foods that you may wait all year for. This is the time to enjoy!! So with that in mind eat slowly and mindfully, enjoy every bite and the myriad of flavors on your plate, appreciate the meal and all the love and intention that went into it. When you eat with this level of attention and appreciation, you’ll be surprised how much more satisfied you will feel and how much less likely you are to overindulge. The holidays are truly a special time of year. Not just because of what you may be celebrating but because it brings people together around traditions and food. This sense of belonging and community, especially around the kitchen table, is essential in your cultivation of health. So enjoy!! (this article was initially published on 11/22/16)