We all look forward to the holiday season, but for some it is more stress than the rest of the year and others it means an increase to the waitlist. Below, I cover my top 5 tips to boost both your mental and physical health over the holidays.
- Prioritise events – practice saying no. Prioritise the events that are a non negotiable for you, the ones that really matter, where you have fun and create the best memories. You can’t say yes to everything without the inevitable overwhelm that comes with the holiday season, so practice saying no and enjoy the events which are most important to you.
- Guilt free eating – yes Christmas cake, endless prawns and roast lunch are all delicious. We eat for so many reasons other than just hunger, such as the experience and pleasure of food. The key is to simply check in with your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues, using the scale below can help you get started. Although, this is not the be all and end all and even if you did fill up a little too much on the ham and turkey this year, I want you to try something new. Let go of any guilt around indulging in your favourite foods. If it was delicious and fulfilling, great! One meal isn’t going to make you “unhealthy” or make you gain 10kgs. Enjoy it, and move on!
|The Hunger Scale|
|2||Very hungry, headache|
|3||Hungry, growling stomach|
|4||Beginning to be hungry|
|7||Uncomfortable, could have eaten less|
|8||Too full, feel stuffed|
|9||Too full, sleepy, bloated|
- Budget – set a budget and stick to it. What are some alternative ways to give gifts? Could you get creative and do them yourself…think mason jar cookies or rum balls. My goal this year is to gift experiences rather than possessions saving me money and giving me endless memories. We know this time of year is expensive, plan for it and start as early as possible. Putting $5-10 a side each week leading into the holidays is much more realistic than lump sump payments which end up on the credit card, all helping to ease the stress of this time.
- Practice self-care – stress management is just as important during the holiday season as it is during the rest of the year. Stress around money, around family gatherings or work all come up during this time. Simple techniques such as breathing, meditation, practicing gratitude, and connecting with people who care about you can all reduce the physiological impact of stress on the body. Choose one that works for you and set a goal to implement it as a daily self-care practice. It could be as simple as going for a walk in the mornings, reading your favourite book, playing music, or swimming in the ocean. Learn your triggers for stress and the techniques which help you recover to stay connected to your body.
- Don’t go on a diet after the holiday season as a “punishment” for eating too much or not moving regularly. This simply starts the cycle of binge and restriction, something we want to avoid. The key thing here is to reconnect with your bodies natural hunger cues, and to how your body feels. Shift your awareness from the outside cues of weight, scales, diets and rules to inside. Our bodies naturally crave movement and naturally want to eat just enough. It may take some time to train our bodies to recognise these cues before it is easy and a daily habit but it is worth the effort.
Want to learn more about these tips? Vital Aspect offer wellbeing seminars and digital health programs to help your staff stay engaged and well leading into the holidays.
By Emma Barrett