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Totally Realistic Tips for a Healthy & Joyful Holiday Season

Healthy and Joyful Holiday Season

With the holidays fast approaching, I have been reflecting on ways to keep healthy but still enjoy this festive time!


My conclusion: The single most important thing you can do is to "right-size" your health goals.


Yes, I am telling you to be less ambitious, BUT not to throw it all out the window. Keeping your health momentum all the way through to the new year, will make it easier to start your 2024.


In this blog, I will share my quick pointers to help you making "healthful" choices this holiday. You can indeed have a healthy holiday season!


Nutrition


Instead of adopting an "all-or-nothing" mentality, I like to make small health compromises that will promote feelings of enjoyment and fun with loved ones. Here are some rules of thumb that help me stay balanced when it comes to nutrition:


  1. Load up on veggies and protein; keep carbs and sweets until the end of the meal

  2. It's okay to indulge a little bit, but eat only what you love (for example, I do not really like mince pies, so don't waste my "credits" on them)

  3. Try a bite or half portions of indulgent foods, instead of completely letting loose

  4. Keep hydrated, with water, that is! One glass of water in between alcoholic drinks at mimimum


Movement


The holidays can be a reason to lounge about all day and eat too much. Instead, find achieveable ways of keeping active in your day to day.


  1. Swap your gym workout or personal trainer session for a daily post-meal brisk walk

  2. Get active with the family: indoor climbing, cycling, swimming, trampolining are some ideas that work well for my family

  3. If you're away on holiday, pack your workout gear and make good use of the hotel gym and spa facilities


Sleep


The underrated "cousin" of nutrition and exercise. Some people argue sleep is the first pillar of health, where many physical and cognitive repair functions take place. It is simple: Do not overlook sleep.


  1. Get that 8-9 hours in bed daily: If not now, then when?

  2. Take turns with your partner to take care of morning breakfast duties

  3. Or... just let the kids watch an hour of TV and give yourselves a lie-in

  4. Take a break from social media, especially in the evenings, when you could be socialising or sleeping


Toxic Exposure


We often do not know what toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis. Some are uncontrollable, like the pollution in the city you live in, but others are very much a choice you can start making.


  1. Aerate your home: While it is nice to feel warm and cosy in winter; aerating your home daily is a must to recycle what can become bad air quality

  2. Beware of candle use: Candles, especially paraffin wax candles, release a cocktail of toxic chemicals. Use 100% soy or beeswax candles if you must

  3. Checkout the detox self-gifting guide I created and posted on Instagram Reels here


Finding Joy


Take this time to truly disconnect and spend quality time with loved ones. Finding joy in the little moments is what makes the holidays memorable.


  1. Plan small activities: It can be anything from playing board games to painting or cooking together; doesn't need to cost the earth

  2. Plan big things: Book those theatre tickets, days out, and other adventures you have always wanted to do

  3. Put your phone out of sight for big chunks of the day; or add an app time limit in your phone settings if your willpower is nonexistent :)

  4. Give your children a "yes" day, where all their wishes, within reason, can be granted

Stress Management


To avoid feeling the stress of the holidays, ensure you do not neglect your own self-care.


  1. Schedule in some me-time regularly: Step out of the house, see a friend, have a bath, or even just read in bed

  2. Communicate your needs: If you begin to feel overwhelmed, make sure you do not suffer in silence. Let others know what is bugging you, and how they can help

  3. Adopt the "what is the worst that can happen?" mindset to help you put things in perspective when you are feeling riled up


Conclusion


The holiday period is there to be enjoyed and cherished. No matter if you are planning to travel and be at home with family, I hope you find ways to make this a memorable time. You work hard all year round, so for the next two weeks, just give yourself permission to slow down, disconnect from work, and dial up the fun and connection with the family.


Happy holidays!


Nada Soubra

Resilience & Metabolic Health Coach



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