With Thanksgiving and Hanukkah super early this year we’ve been thrust into holiday eating, holiday thinking, Christmas and the whole shebang! I love it, but I know for many of you it can be stressful, and fair enough, there is a LOT going on.
In past years I’ve been very much of the thought process to provide you with a plan, a blueprint for eating, etc. And I promise to still do that because I think that guidance is really helpful, and you guys (most of you) are coming to me for some guidance- so that I will provide; however, I also want to instill probably the most important component which is beginning to think about how you can nourish yourself through this holiday season without some of the usual torture.
I hear clients all the time say to me “I was so good” or “I was so bad” when referring to their recent holiday party choices or holiday meal choices. And time and time again, I like to remind my clients that self judgement- good or bad, can be a really bad set up for a lot of GUILT. Which is always more helpful to avoid.
So this year, I’m separating my holiday survival kit into two segments- the first is your food blueprint (literally speaking), but the second is your emotional blueprint, for things I want you to think about as you move through this time of year. It IS a busy and stressful one, but you CAN balance it all, and still feel good at the end of the few weeks.
Holiday Survival Eating Guide
First up, let’s talk about how you can stay present with your food choices.
- Stick to a schedule: An old, true favorite and KEY important strategy. Holiday time is crazy, but your food doesn’t need to be. Focus on not skipping meals, generally aiming for 3 meals a day (plus a snack or two) is super helpful.
- Don’t show up hungry: To anything, ever. It’s a bad idea! Have a snack before you go.
- If you’ve got an evening party, have a great afternoon snack: Something with protein, fiber or fat- nuts, apple and cheese or apple and nut butter, leftover lunch (meals tend to be quite balanced), veggies and hummus, yogurt- you get the picture.
- DRINK UP! Water that is. Being thirsty can really get us into trouble- because we can feel more hungry when we’re actually thirsty.
- Got tummy aches? Try some bitters- the holidays are notorious for giving peoples tummies a run for their feel-good… so I love to use bitters to help with my digestion. Reach out if you have any questions!
- At the party:
- Pick the stuff that matters... Make 1 choice (I like to guide clients to choose 1 of the following- bread, dessert, cocktails, or cheese) – let the rest of it go
- If it’s a late party, plan to have eaten beforehand– so that you pick instead of binge
- Go for the protein/veggie choices- chicken satay, shrimp cocktail, crudités platter… you get the picture
- Don’t worry about the sauces… unless they’re creamy. I don’t get hung up in sauces, really at all. Because I don’t think they matter too much… unless it’s one heck of a lump of cream, then it does
- When it comes to drinks… pick what you like the most and have the least amount of. In other words it equals about the same to have 10 light beers, or 3 heavier drinks… just do what you like the most
- Water yourself between your drinks… it’ll help the hangover
- Don’t torture yourself for what you eat, just hop back on tomorrow!
OK… now onto the fun stuff!
Emotional/ Self Compassion Holiday Survival Guide
Create a space in your home that’s peaceful.
Seriously this is so important, especially at this time of year. I like to pile up extra cozy pillows and make a cozy nook on the sofa in front of the Christmas Tree to park myself and chill (I’m sitting here right now).
Bring creativity into your day.
Though you’re busy at this time of year, it’s never a better time to turn inward and embrace your creative side… maybe it’s holiday cookie baking, or maybe it’s painting (I am following my own advice here and just bought an easel and some paints!), or maybe it’s journaling… whatever it is bring it in.
Keep your movement routine.
SO many of my clients let this go at this time of year, and it’s not worth it. Your mind NEEDS it! If you’re having trouble getting to the gym try Forte.Fit – it’s a great app that I use – and to get a $20 discount using THIS LINK to sign up.
Focus on your sleep.
If you’re having trouble with your sleep (extra food, stress, and extra alcohol at this time of year can contribute). Try getting an eye patch, using lavender essential oil (1 drop on your wrists or pillow), or try 200-400 mg magnesium citrate, AND/or 1-5 mg melatonin (varies by person) before bed; you can also try meditating before you go to bed as well.
Start an intuitive practice.
Journaling, or coming up with at least 1 word daily that helps you check in with how you feel.
Make time for FUN social events with those you love.
We love holiday parties, but shit they’re exhausting. So make sure you’re weaving in time for those who make you feel good.
Embrace alone time.
Oh this is something that we all need MORE of and also something that makes so many of us uncomfortable. But seriously, your brain needs recharging time, so let’s work on giving it that. Just a little goes a LONG way.
Happy Holidays! I hope it’s wonderful!