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The holiday season is all about fun, quality time with loved ones, eating good food, and cozy good vibes all around. But little is talked about how hard it is to stay healthy during the holidays.
This time tends to be promoted in the media as a season when life is perfect and beautiful when the reality is that problems don’t go away the second it turns December.
In fact, there is such an expectation put on how great the holidays are that it can put pressure on us to have a perfect close-knit family, to afford to give lavish gifts, to feel cheerful. The pressure & expectation of what our lives should be can only cause more stress which completely goes against what the holidays are supposed to promote.
Adding to that, there is so much to do when it comes to the holidays that taking care of our bodies can also go way down on our priorities list.
But if we think about it, it’s hard to truly enjoy the holidays if we’re not feeling our best in our bodies and if our mental health is going downhill. That’s why it’s so important to make conscious efforts to stay healthy during the holidays, mind & body.
The holidays can be a wonderful time if we give ourselves the best chance to make the most out of them. For that, we need to take action to stay healthy during the holidays. Lucky for you, we have so many tips on how you can stay healthy & take care of your mental health this holiday season.
Remember your truth
For some people, the holiday season means seeing distant family and maybe getting questioned about your life. It can mean facing the expectations & doubts loved ones have about your life, whether that be your love life or your career moves. No one wants that.
It can leave you feeling anxious, stressed, and bad about where you are in life because you feel pressure to satisfy what your family wants for you. Or maybe, your family doesn’t agree with your life choices & they constantly criticize you.
That’s not always the case, but if it applies to you, you understand the struggle.
The first thing to do if this applies to you is: take a step back. Remember what YOU stand for, what YOU want for your life, what makes YOU happy. We all love family but your life is your own. Other people don’t have to love your life choices, what truly matters is that YOU are happy with them.
When faced with criticism from loved ones or the pressure of their expectations, remember that they’re coming from a place of their own inner struggles & worries. Usually, if they love you, they just want you to feel safe & secure so they feel the need to pressure you to be secure. Try to see it from that perspective.
Be honest with your loved ones
In line with the last tip, something to also keep in mind when trying to stay healthy during the holidays mentally is to try to be honest with your loved ones.
Be truthful about the place you are in life & how you’re feeling. Vulnerability makes for deeper & more honest relationships. If you honestly open up to your loved ones you’ll likely feel calmer and freer to just be yourself. You may even let go of the stress of living up to expectations & they might even be more conscious of not putting pressure on you if they know how it makes you feel.
If possible, tell your loved ones when they’re overstepping your boundaries. They won’t know where your limits are if you don’t tell them. If their interrogations about your life keep you from fully enjoying the holidays, let them know.
Just try to be as honest as you can.
If you want to take care of your mental health during the holidays, honesty is the best policy.
Check-in with yourself
It’s common to spend a lot of time with other people during the holidays. It almost feels like this season covers more quality time with loved ones than the rest of the year combined.
This can translate to barely having time to ourselves. Especially during the week leading up to Christmas when a lot of people visit family and whole families are spending almost every day together.
It can be overwhelming to have so little time with yourself. If we don’t take a second for self-reflection, to check-in, this can leave us disconnected from ourselves & even anxious.
So, no matter how busy you are spending time with loved ones, try to take some time, no matter how little, to check in with yourself, to ask yourself how you’re feeling, to meditate, or do anything that grounds you & keeps you connected to yourself.
Take a break when you need it
We’ve established that as fun as the holidays can be, they can also be very overwhelming mentally. The pressure to have the best time, give great gifts, have your life together can feel like too much. Sometimes even spending so much time with other people can be stressful.
We’re not saying to isolate yourself and never go to a Christmas party, that’s not good for you. But, there is such a thing as pushing yourself too much. Be mindful of when you’ve truly had enough and you need a break from holiday activities and other people.
It’s OKAY to take some time to yourself when you need it. In the long run, it’ll help you stay healthy during the holidays mentally & to enjoy the season more overall.
Remember what is truly important & Practice Gratitude
The nice thing about the holiday season is that it tends to put things into perspective & remind us of what really matters.
Take advantage of the natural vibe of the holiday season and try to constantly remind yourself of what is truly important & what you’re grateful for.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the holiday season, make a mental list (or a real one) of everything you’re grateful for & try to give yourself reminders of that throughout the day to stay grounded & grateful.
Have a support system ready
We all need help sometimes, we might like to think we can handle everything by ourselves but that’s usually not the case.
If we want to stay mentally healthy during the holidays, it’s important to not keep things bottled up. Being open and vulnerable to someone about how you’re feeling is so necessary.
Try to identify which people in your life could be a support system during this holiday season, people you know will listen to you, and people you think could understand what is stressing you out about the holidays.
Have little traditions with yourself
Having holiday traditions with yourself, no matter how small they are, is a way to practice self-care & to learn to enjoy things with yourself which is super important to stay healthy during the holidays (and always) in the mental health department.
Learning to spend time with yourself & enjoy it is super important to your mental state. Especially during the holiday season, the desire to have a partner, a ton of friends or a close-knit family grows since Christmas is a holiday that is based on quality time with loved ones. If we feel like we don’t have this how we wish we did, we can feel lonely.
But, it’s so important to be self-sufficient emotionally, to learn to love quality time with ourselves to reconnect to us. Having holiday traditions is a good way to practice this during the holidays.
Get some Vitamin D
You’ve probably heard about the importance of Vitamin D to feel energized and happy. If you haven’t, you’re hearing it from us now. Vitamin D is essential to our bodies for us to have a better mood.
Have you noticed you feel down when the sun is out? That’s probably because of the lack of vitamin D. There’s a reason people get the winter blues or seasonal depression.
If we want to stay healthy during the holidays, getting vitamin D is key.
If you live in a place where the sun is out during the holidays, take advantage of that and spend some time in the sun every day.
If you live somewhere cold and cloudy, you could speak to your doctor about taking vitamin D supplements.
Let go of expectations
I don’t know about you but for me, the holidays come with a set of images in my head of what they should be like. A white Christmas, beautifully decorated Christmas tree with presents, and most importantly a perfect tight-knit family. Over the years, I’ve had to let go of that expectation to truly enjoy the holiday season.
It’s hard to let go of the expectations but it’s maybe the most important thing we need to do to stay healthy during the holidays. If we’re full of unrealistic expectations we’re just going to end up stressed because life is simply not picture perfect.
Try to keep in mind that what really makes this season magical is the quality time with our loved ones or with ourselves if you spend it alone. It’s about the energy the season gives off.
There are some things we simply cannot change. So try to do the best with what you have. Try to have as much fun as possible but let go of the expectation that this season needs to be perfect because nothing is, life doesn’t stop because humanity decided it’s Christmas time.
Try to find the beauty in what you do have, and if in the end, this holiday season isn’t your best, remember that you have the rest of the year to have a magical time.
Practice Balance when it comes to food
A huge part of the holiday season is the food. For a lot of people, it’s what you look forward to the most. You shouldn’t have to cut back on the food you love to stay healthy this holiday season. It’s all about balance. You can have all the delicious holiday food you like without overdoing it.
You shouldn’t have to restrict yourself but binging isn’t good for you either. It’s possible to stay healthy this holiday season while still enjoying all the Christmas treats, you just have to find a balance between healthy meals & not so healthy treats.
Pack on the veggies
If you do one thing for your body to stay healthy this holiday season, make it to eat veggies.
Holiday treats don’t usually include a lot of vegetables, they tend to be more on the sugary side. But, your body doesn’t stop needing the nutrients once it hits December.
Try to include as many veggies as you can, especially during the holiday season. You can put them in smoothies, pancakes, sandwiches, and basically anything else. There’s a way to include some vegetables in most recipes.
Go on walks
It can be hard to maintain our regular workout routine during the holidays. If you can, that’s perfect, but between Christmas parties and family time, you might not have enough time to hit the gym and that’s totally fine as well.
Don’t feel bad for having to change up your routine. Staying healthy this holiday season shouldn’t mean cutting back on holiday activities you love. If you don’t have time to work out like you usually do, try going on walks.
Convince your family to go on a walk together. It’s the perfect way to have family time while getting some movement in. This way no part of your life needs to be sacrificed.
Even if you don’t regularly exercise, going on long walks can help your digestion and overall mood during this holiday season. Especially because we tend to have a bit more food this time of year, so getting movement in will help your metabolism work better.
If you can find time to get some strength workouts in, that’s even better. Find activities you actually enjoy.
Load up on Vitamin C
The holiday season tends to also be the flu season in many places. Even if you don’t live in a crazy cold place, the temperature tends to go down which can make us more susceptible to colds and NO ONE wants to be sick during the holidays.
To avoid getting the flu you need to strengthen your immune system as much as you can. A great way to do that is by loading up on vitamin C. You can get vitamin C pills or just try to get more vitamin C naturally from fruits like oranges and lemons.
We recommend you try immunity shots every other day if you want a boost. They usually include lemon, ginger, and honey.
Be extra careful of germs
You hear even more about people getting sick this time of year. Therefore, if you want to stay healthy this holiday season, it’s super important to be very mindful of how clean you are.
Wash your hands, take hand sanitizer with you & wear a mask. No one wants to be sick on Christmas, right?
Try Healthy recipes
There are so many recipe options out there to try healthier versions of our favorite holiday dishes. By just swapping out a few ingredients you can make a recipe a little bit healthier.
That being said, don’t restrict yourself to the regular version of your favorite holiday dishes.
It’s not about restriction, it’s about balance.
If you want to eat certain holiday dishes regularly during the holiday season, you could try having the healthier version some days & the regular version on other days.
Don’t forget to moisturize
Depending on where you live, the weather tends to get colder during the holiday season, which means your skin may suffer more from dehydration.
Especially during this time, your skin needs as much moisture as possible. Make moisturizing one of the most important steps in your daily routine to keep your skin healthy this holiday season.
You should also never forget to moisturize your lips. They can get dry and cracked too, which can get very painful.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
For most people, when the weather grows colder, we tend to forget about hydration. We either get less thirsty or just don’t crave water as much because of the weather. But, that doesn’t mean our bodies stop needing hydration. In fact, it’s just as important.
The colder weather tends to dry out our skin more so we need hydration even more, and of course, our whole body needs water to function properly. Try to drink as much water as possible even if you don’t feel like it.
Especially with the increase of alcohol and food that usually comes with the holiday season, we can’t forget hydration.
Drink in moderation
We know this one may be tough. Holiday parties tend to equal more drinking than usual. It’s perfectly fine to enjoy a drink with friends & maybe up your drinking during this time. But, if you’re serious about staying healthy this holiday season, try to practice balance when it comes to alcohol.
As they say: all things in moderation.
It’s okay to drink this holiday season if you want to, just try not to go crazy when you do decide to have alcohol.
Your mental and physical health needs to be a top priority no matter what is going on in your life or the world around you. Being healthy will allow you to enjoy life events to the max and to present your best version to your friends and family.
The holidays can definitely be stressful but we can make the most out of them and we can end the holiday season feeling good if we make it a priority to stay healthy during the holidays.
You may have to put some effort in, to change some habits to achieve it but we promise it’ll be worth it and you’ll enjoy the holidays so much more because you’ll feel better physically & mentally.
Before you go!
We hope these tips are helpful for you to have the best holiday season possible. If you have any tips on how YOU stay healthy during the holidays, we’d love to hear them.
Leave us a comment below and if you’re interested in more wellness content, check out our WELLNESS section for the best spirituality, self-care & personal development content.