The holiday season is filled with cozy celebrations and heartwarming traditions—but amidst the festivities, it can be all too easy to throw your regular wellness goals out the window. Between convoluted travel plans, tempting holiday dishes, frigid weather that keeps you indoors, marathon shopping trips, and seemingly endless social gatherings, this cheerful time of year can quickly sabotage even the best-intentioned health kick.
At Fresh Tri, we recognize the immense challenge of sticking to your usual fitness and nutrition routines over the holidays. But we also know that with some planning, creativity, and self-compassion, you can continue working toward your wellness objectives without becoming a total Scrooge.
This holiday season, try out some of our favorite tried-and-true strategies for keeping healthy habits on track from Thanksgiving through the new year and beyond. With a positive, empowering mindset and these helpful hacks in your back pocket, you’ll be well on your way to a balanced, feel-good holiday season.
Understanding the Holiday Health Dilemma
Many well-meaning people find themselves falling into similar pitfalls when it comes to staying healthy over the November and December holidays:
- Many people are less physically active than during the rest of the year, as cold temps and hectic schedules throw exercise routines out of whack.
- Holiday stress leads some folks to unhealthy coping mechanisms like overeating, smoking, or drinking more alcohol.
- Traveling, busy work seasons, lack of routine, endless holiday parties, and family events can understandably chip away at even the most determined wellness warrior’s resolve.
But with some knowledge, pre-planning, and self-forgiveness, you can continue working toward your health objectives in incremental, maintainable ways over the next few months. Understanding the most common pitfalls is the first step toward avoiding them.
Strategies to Maintain Wellness Goals
While the holiday season may not be the best time for starting an intense new diet or exercise program, small daily actions to support your existing health objectives can add up over time. Try incorporating a few of these simple hacks into your seasonal routine.
Healthy Eating Hacks
Want to work on healthy eating during December?
- Modify, don’t deprive. Indulge in special holiday favorites within reason, but use ingredient swaps to lighten them up. Replace butter with olive oil or Greek yogurt in recipes, use less cheese and cream, increase veggies, and opt for whole grains where possible.
- Practice mindful munching. Check-in with your hunger levels before reaching for treats. Savor a small serving, paying close attention to flavors and textures to satisfy cravings. Slow down and chat between bites at parties.
- Fill up on fiber and protein. High-volume, high-protein foods provide long-lasting energy and stabilize blood sugar despite holiday temptations. Think eggs, nuts, oats, quinoa, beans, lentils, and salmon.
Fitness and Exercise Tips
Are you trying to incorporate more movement into your holiday season?
- Multi-task workouts. No time for the gym? Speed walk while running errands, do bodyweight squats or lunges during kitchen prep, and squeeze in a YouTube workout over your lunch break.
- Counteract sitting and driving. Schedule movement breaks every hour, park farther away, take walking meetings, or enjoy an evening stroll with family or friends after big meals.
- Have active holidays. Organize group activities like touch football, sledding, ice skating, or a family bike ride. Dance to festive music or follow along with a yoga video.
Stress Management and Mindfulness
Stress runs high during the holidays. Try these tips to stay level-headed.
- Carve out me-time. Is the holiday hustle driving you bonkers? Recharge solo with ten minutes of quiet meditation, gentle stretching, journaling, or sipping tea mindfully.
- Get some ZZZs. Prioritizing sleep helps manage stress hormones and boosts mood and motivation for healthy habits. Protect consistency in sleep-wake times amid the holiday chaos.
- Laugh out loud. Make time for humor and lighthearted connection. Share funny stories or jokes, watch a comedy special, or reminisce about cheerful memories.
Planning for Success
Remaining committed to wellness goals amid the holiday whirlwind seems much less overwhelming when you thoughtfully plan ahead:
- Set realistic mini-goals. Don’t expect perfection. Maybe aim to simply maintain your baseline health habits over the holidays without significant changes or backsliding on progress made.
- Map out a flexible game plan. Schedule exercise classes, meal prep sessions, and self-care activities over the next few months. Adapt as needed when inevitable curveballs arise.
- Utilize apps. Wellness apps like Fresh Tri help instill accountability and motivation with features like daily step counts, virtual workout classes, healthy recipes, mindfulness practices, and more. Try a few to discover what resonates.
Navigating Social Events and Gatherings
Endless holiday soirées with tempting eats and drinks often sabotage well-intentioned diets. With the right mindset, you can still thrive both socially and healthfully.
- Survey your options. Scan the buffet first before filling your plate. Ask about ingredients, pick Mediterranean dips over creamy options, and load up on crudités.
- Practice assertiveness. Politely decline pushy hosts urging second or third helpings. Say “no thank you” to peer pressure to overindulge on foods or drinks.
- Stay hydrated. Sip seltzer or water between alcoholic beverages. Not only does hydration dilute overall alcohol consumption, but thirst cues can also mimic hunger, so quenching thirst helps reduce overeating.
Emphasizing Self-Compassion and Flexibility
Along with planning and preventative strategies, self-compassion is key for holiday wellness success. Expect some indulgences, forgive tiny backslides, and then calmly resume healthy habits. Your overall intentions matter far more than day-to-day perfection.
- It’s okay to indulge moderately. Avoid labeling foods as “good” or “bad” and ditch guilt over occasional treats. Shift focus instead to progress and consistency with healthy habits overall.
- Focus on abundance, not restrictions. Frame goals around eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole foods, moving your body, and prioritizing sleep, self-care, and laughter.
- Celebrate mini milestones. Did you hit a new lifting record despite holiday chaos? Nice! Log a few mindful minutes each day? Give yourself props! Tiny victories inspire ongoing motivation.
Have a Healthy Holiday with Fresh Tri
The holidays can absolutely coexist with healthy lifestyle choices with proper expectations, planning, and self-kindness during this famously hectic season. For more personalized guidance and accountability, join Fresh Tri’s online wellness programs and connect with our empowering community of like-minded members.
Wishing you incredible happiness and health this holiday season and always!