The holidays bring food and festivities that likely don’t fit into the healthy habits you committed to with your last New Year’s resolution. Trying to focus on diet, exercise, rest, or making time for your favorite hobby while navigating the endless holiday gatherings and activities can be stressful.
It may be tempting to abandon course and regroup with the coming year, but the most important part of a habit is keeping it, even if that means doing so imperfectly. In this article, we’ll share how to keep healthy habits during the holidays with a few simple strategies that will help you enjoy treating yourself while making it easier to get back on track once the festivities are over.
Some Is Better than None
It happens to everyone. Even the most dedicated athletes and nutritionists may forgo a workout for a gathering or indulge when the sultry scent of their favorite holiday food fills their noses.
On days you don’t have the time or energy for your regular hour at the gym, try incorporating a quick 15-minute home workout instead. And when days of leftovers threaten to replace your weekly meal prep, think about throwing some fresh fruits and veggies into the mix.
It’s common to want to throw any progress out the window as soon as you fall off course, but a small regression doesn’t have to mean that all is lost. Although you may feel discouraged after eating an extra helping (or two) of pie, the most important thing is maintaining the habit of your self-care practices, even if it looks a little different.
Plan for a Good Time
One of the best ways to stick to your habits through the holidays is to plan how to incorporate them ahead of time. It’s not easy to find the time to work out—or the will to pass up a second helping of food—when you’re already partaking in festivities, but it becomes much easier with a pre-planned course of action.
If you usually go to the gym after work, but have an office party to attend at that same time, you could plan for an extended gym session the day before, or a quick workout during your lunch break. And when you know there will be food at that party that doesn’t fit into your usual diet, try having a healthy snack beforehand to curb your cravings or bringing your favorite healthy side dish.
Planning helps you figure out each dilemma before you encounter it, allowing you to enjoy your time without worrying about what you “should” be doing.
Find Gratitude in Abundance
From presents to baked goods, the holidays can be filled with abundance. This may sound like a good thing, but too many options in a short period of time can also bring a fear of missing out. However, a simple change of perspective can take you from stressing to enjoying the season.
This holiday season, find gratitude for the many traditions that come around each year, knowing that anything you miss will return next year. Plus, most holiday treats can be enjoyed year-round with just a little extra effort. By appreciating all the food, company, and gifts in your life, you’ll embrace each experience and genuinely enjoy what you partake in rather than simply going through the motions.
Take Care of Your Whole Self
While you focus on diet and exercise during the holidays, be sure not to forget other self-care practices. Rest, nutrients, and “me time” are all important habits that will help you stay healthy and energized throughout the season.
Prolonged periods of stress and a lack of proper nutrition can drain your energy and weaken your immune system. It can also make your body store unwanted fat and make it more difficult to make healthy choices in other parts of your life.
To avoid spiraling into a state of burnout, find ways to take care of your whole self. Schedule at least an hour of uninterrupted “me time” each day for anything that will nourish your soul—whether that’s getting a massage, taking a nap, doing yoga, etc.
The holidays can turn your routine upside down, but a few simple strategies can help you keep your healthy habits on track during the holidays. By scheduling your self-care practices into each day, continuing each habit imperfectly, taking care of your whole self, and appreciating the abundance in your life, you’ll be able to embrace the magic of the holidays as your best self.
Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.