Here are 11 easy ways to stay healthy and happy during the holiday season to fully enjoy your downtime and gracefully welcome the New Year.
The holiday season is that busy period of the year when finding ways to stay healthy can be a little tricky. In-between wrapping up end-of-year work commitments, Christmas gift shopping, catching up with friends, and indulging in delicious food and drinks, things can get a bit overwhelming.
This is also the period of the year when many of us start to feel the end-of-year fatigue or a little stressed out at the thought of spending the holidays with family members you would rather stay away from.
In order to ease into the holiday season with grace and welcome the New Year with joy and peace, finding ways to stay healthy during the festive period is important. Here are 10 simple self-care rituals that I’ll be using to stay healthy through the New Year that can help you stay healthy too.
1. Plan Your To-Do-List
I know it sounds like more work to do, but defining who and what you need to prioritise during the holiday season is a great way to stay healthy and maintain your sanity all the way through. More importantly, it will save you time, energy and money.
Before throwing yourself into party season mode, get clear about how you want to experience the holiday season. Use your journaling time to figure out the number of events you need to attend, those that you can say no to, and the people you want to spend quality time with. For the rest, send them a greetings card if you must.
Define your Christmas shopping budget and stick to it. When doing your gift and grocery shopping rounds, buy your own presents first, and then move on to treat others.
2. Increase Your Veggies Intake
Yes, darling, it’s important to get those additional veggies in, if you want to emerge from the self-indulgent Christmas and holiday season with a healthy gut and great energy level. The simple way to do it is by adding a small bowl of salad or steamed vegetables to at least one of your main meals.
If eating vegetables is not really your thing, try at least to drink a homemade green smoothie or a three-ingredient cucumber juice. This will help you maintain a very healthy digestive system and boost your energy level and immune system.
3. Level Up Your Daily Spiritual Practice
Not all of us feel all jolly during the festive season. The holidays can trigger deep seated sadness in some people. Consequently, one of the most helpful ways to stay healthy during the holidays is by improving your daily spiritual practice. Spend at least 15 minutes each day in prayer and meditation to remain centered and clear up your mind and energy level.
Switch on into gratitude mode even if you have to dig deep to do it in the midst of a tough life season. Enjoy the silence of connecting to your breath and listening to the rhythm of your own heart. Shed some tears if you feel like it. Each day, say out loud and write down in your journal at least 5 things you are grateful for.
Listening to positive affirmations or to an uplifting message as you take a shower or prepare for the day is another avenue to look after yourself mentally. Right now, I am listening to Pastor Joel Osteen and transformational coach Lisa Nichols daily on YouTube.
Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself first. Don’t feel bad or guilty or selfish about prioritising you. You can’t be everything to everyone and be nothing to yourself.
4. Get Extra Sleep
Spending a few more minutes in bed is amongst the easiest ways to stay healthy during the holidays and recover from the long working hours you put in during the year.
Be deliberate about adding that extra hour or whatever time feels appropriate to your sleep time. Take a nap during the day if need be. Remember that the holiday season is designed to slow down and spend more quality time with yourself and your loved ones, however you choose to make it happen.
5. Do A Digital Detox
For the holiday season, limit the time you spend aimlessly playing with your digital devices.
Assign a specific time to spend checking your emails and switch off all social media notifications to stay present in your offline downtime to maintain a positive mental wellbeing.
Additionally, avoid blue light before bedtime. Electronic screens emit blue light, which suppresses melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. Tuck away your electronics before heading to bed.
6. Have A Little Getaway
Although it requires a little bit of advanced planning, find a way to enjoy a short vacation outside your home before the peak holiday season kicks in. This will help recharge your batteries and fuel you with positive energy to embrace the vibrancy and commitments of the festive season.
Before heading home or playing host for Christmas, I tend to head to Marrakech for a weekend break to soak in the beautiful sun and colours of the red city that never fail to energise me. I also indulge in a full-blown spa treatment, new culinary experiences, and of course, Christmas gift shopping for myself and my loved ones. This is how I manage to cope with the hectic holidays. Find what works for you and try it out to see how it makes you feel.
7. Lighten Up Your Exercise Routine
As you approach the holiday downtime season, practising yoga or pilates, going for outdoor walks, or simply spending a little time in nature will keep you energised and full of vitality.
Even if you choose to skip the gym during the holidays, maintain a gentle exercise routine at home. Try free indoor exercise classes on YouTube that you can follow at your own pace.
8. Dance To The Beat Of Your Favourite Songs
Blast your favourite songs out loud in your home, and turn one of your living spaces into a dance floor. This is one of the greatest ways to stay healthy and happy during the holidays.
Invite family and friends to join in, and throw in some karaoke sessions if you fancy. That will lighten up the mood at home and just help you reconnect with your childlike spirit.
9. Consume Alcohol Moderately
A little bit of alcohol every now and again is perfectly fine during the holiday season. Make sure you stay within the recommended weekly alcohol limit of 14 units to avoid a hangover and making a fool of yourself at holiday parties.
Too much alcohol in our bodies can definitely play havoc with our health. And, you definitely don’t want that to ruin your holidays.
10. Enjoy Christmas Art And Crafts Activities
The holiday season is actually a good time to enjoy some solo or family arts and crafts activities. Why not start by visiting a Christmas market or a winter fair for some ideas? The National Trust here in the UK runs some of the best Christmas markets and winter fairs.
Unleash your creativity at home by making some DIY greetings cards, Christmas tablescape decor ideas, Christmas home decorations, and a little bit of clay potteries or trinkets.
11. Find Opportunities To Laugh More
They say laughter is medicine and I wholeheartedly agree. You can only have a merry heart by deliberately adding a lot of laughter moments into your holiday plans.
Schedule time to watch some interesting comedy movies and shows on TV or Netflix. Find time to share some jokes with family and friends. Go down the happy memories lane to revisit moments that made you laugh out loud. Get the silly photo album out if you have one. Take fun and silly selfies to make yourself laugh. Whatever you do, do it with a happy heart!