“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” How many times will you hear that over the holiday seasons??
In many ways this statement is true BUT the holidays are also stressful. Changes in routine, financial constraints, family worries, travel, obligations, holiday meals, and finding clothes to wear for holiday parties can create a sense of overwhelm.
While we can’t totally decrease our holiday stress, we can follow some simple holiday survival strategies. Whether you’re struggling with food and body image OR anxiety about the holiday season, this list will cover mental and physical health for the holiday season.
- Prioritize your “absolute must” list of essentials for the holidays and stick to it. This includes the FUN activities that really make your holidays shine and create the best memories. Say “no” to everything else. By saying “no”, you actually say “yes” to your “must” list. There is absolutely NO WAY you can do it all over the holidays so you need to practice saying no, so you can say “yes” to the stuff that really matters.
- Include structure AND flexibility in your holiday eating routine. Listening to internal hunger and fullness cues is a great tool for sensing what your body needs, but also knowing a loose time frame for when to eat IS helpful when you’re stressed. Give yourself a meal or snack every 3-4 hours and you will stay nourished and decrease odds of binge eating.
- Give yourself permission to enjoy your favorite holiday foods. Focusing on your own desire of what, how much, and when to eat will help you find comfortable fullness and satisfaction.
- Trust that your body knows how to self-regulate. If you eat more during this time of the year, your body will make adjustments over time. It is normal to have seasonal weight fluctuations of a few pounds during the year. Be compassionate with yourself as you may have less time for movement and more days when you’re enjoying fun foods. Know that each person’s individual “healthy” weight is actually a range and NOT a set number. It is dependent on many variables including nutrition, movement, sleep, stress, etc.
- This is THE time to amp up self-care. A daily self-care practice helps you stay connected to your body, reduce and manage stress, and cultivate joy. Ask for an early gift of yoga or massage! Don’t forget to keep a book nearby to read, go for a walk or hike, host a small party with your favorite friends, and truly make holiday memories that will last a lifetime.
Do you need more support this holiday season? Join the Feel Fabulous About Food course! We will be adding a special bonus section on holiday eating just for course participants soon. Happy Holidays!
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Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian and the owner of Eat With Knowledge in Nyack, NY. She is on a mission to help people heal from diets, and find peace and balance with their food choices. She leads a team of dietitians who support the philosophy, “Feel Fabulous about Food!”
Start your own healing by downloading her Free Stop the Cycle of Binge Eating guide or her Free Hunger – Fullness Scale.