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Guide to Healthy Holidays: 6 Tips for Good Habits

December 02, 2022

Between cookies and celebratory drinks, winter festivities can put a pause on healthy routines. We don’t have to wait until New Year’s resolutions to prioritize our physical and mental well-being. Celebrating healthy holidays just takes a little balance, so we’ve put together six tips to help you do exactly that.

The Christmas Holiday Effect

The “Christmas Holiday Effect” is a term used to link the holidays to a range of adverse health effects, like an increase in reported mood disorders and higher rates of cardiac mortality.

Health experts suggest that we can protect our physical and mental health during the holidays by limiting our exposure to stressful situations and being mindful of consumption and activity levels.

clinking glasses

6 Tips for Healthy Holidays

1. Be intentional with indulging

The holiday season wouldn’t be the same without sweet treats and shared feasts. Just don’t go all out with the box of cookies or feel the need to deprive yourself of your Aunt’s casserole. Instead, view both as something to be cherished.

Before gatherings, make a plan for indulgences. Have an idea of how many desserts or alcoholic drinks you plan to consume.

2. Take time for you

It’s easy to get caught up with the demands of others during the holidays. To balance them out, take some time for yourself. Whether it’s a solo walk in the snow or an evening without the stresses of your phone, show yourself some love with some time for you.

3. Incorporate merry movement

With all the busyness of the holiday season, it’s all too easy to let physical activity fall to the wayside. But family hikes or participation in holiday 5Ks can become a treasured holiday tradition, just like caroling and cheering your favorite football team.

woman on bike

4. Don’t be afraid to establish boundaries

One of the key ways to improve your relationship with yourself is through boundary-setting. Before festivities are in full swing, consider the following to establish holiday boundaries:

  • Think about what’s most important to you. Set limits around everything else.
  • Establish pros and cons with holiday travel and only go if it feels right.
  • Don’t feel the need to say “yes” to every invitation.
  • Establish a budget for holiday gifts.

5. Get adequate rest

Celebrating the winter solstice means slowing down with the season. To balance out all of your last-minute shopping and socialization, be sure to get adequate sleep. Give yourself permission for laid-back Sundays and earlier bedtimes.

6. Don’t let presents get in the way of presence

Gifting is a prominent feature of the holiday season and it’s difficult to avoid. But this year, give yourself some time to reflect on all the gifts you extend to your loved one—and realize that they don’t all have to be material things.

man on bike

In other words, think quality over quantity. When surprising your loved one with a ribbon-wrapped Dubbel, pair it with the fact that you’ll be riding with them once the snow thaws. Time spent with those we love is a gift that keeps on giving—and is what the holidays are all about.