It seems like it just went from summer to winter here in Oklahoma, and the minute Halloween was over, Thanksgiving arrived. I don’t know about you, but as much as I love this time of year, it can be pretty stressful.
When there’s so much on our to-do lists, things like self care get pushed to the bottom. With a little planning ahead, it’s easy to avoid getting off track, though.
Here’s a few things I plan on doing to stay sane and healthy this Holiday season:
- Make Healthy Swaps: When baking treats, I like to swap out the white sugar for healthier sugar substitutes, switch the flour for gluten-free flours such as coconut and almond flour, and swap out unhealthy vegetable oils for healthy fats like coconut oil and butter (yes, they are healthy). Check out my healthy Thanksgiving recipes: cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, vegan pumpkin cheesecake, and a festive salad. Also, see this article with some healthy holiday tips and recipes.
- Say No: It’s OK not to say “yes” to every invitation if you’re feeling overextended. Saying “no” doesn’t just mean to other people necessarily, it can be to yourself. When I find myself saying to myself things like, I “need to,” “must,” “should,” “have to,” I’m going to pause and ask myself, “Do I really?” Most of the time, the answer will be “no.” We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves.
- Move: I make exercise a priority as it helps keep me energized. I like to work out first thing in the morning so I don’t get caught up in my day and forget about it. I try to get at least one walk in a day, even when I’m out of town.
- Schedule in Down Time: Even when I’m busy, I want to keep taking regular breaks and even a short nap in the afternoon. This is probably the most important thing to help me feel relaxed and actually helps me accomplish more.
- Limit Spending: I hate it when the credit card bills come in after the Holidays, so when it comes to gift shopping, I plan to make a list and stick to it. I’ll probably do a lot of my shopping online, but when I go to the stores, I like to shop early in the morning or late at night to avoid crowds and lines.
- Give: Not only does it feel good to give, it’s been proven to be good for us too. It’s “The Season of Giving” after all. I will be keeping busy with my community volunteering; when I see others in need, I like to help in some way. I always give something to the Salvation Army bell ringers who are outside stores too–it can’t be much fun standing in the cold ringing that bell.
- Keep Quiet: When dealing with family and all the different personalities, it helps to keep my opinions to myself. Conflicts can definitely kill the festive mood.
- Everything in Moderation: While I’m not going to forgo things I love to eat over the Holidays (and don’t advise you to either), I plan to do it in moderation. Here’s some ways:
- Just have a few bites of the dessert instead of the whole thing
- Try to eat slowly and mindfully to be aware of how much I’m eating
- Fill my up my plate with green veggies so there’s less room for the other less healthy sides
- Bring my own healthy dish when eating at other people’s houses like this salad
- Don’t go back for seconds
- It helps to have healthy snacks on hand and have a healthy breakfast before the big meal to avoid being overly hungry and more likely to load up
- If I drink alcohol, it’ll be just one and I’ll make it last and drink lots of water with it. Mostly, I just stick with sparkling mineral water
Enjoy! I plan to celebrate, not be too strict with myself, and be grateful for everything I have.