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Create a peaceful holiday season

The holiday hustle and bustle can challenge your sense of well-being.

A little preparation can help you create a peaceful festive season. Here’s how to do it.

And practice self-compassion during the difficult ones.

  • Stick to your normal routine. Continue to do your workouts, get enough sleep and make healthy food choices. One day — or a few days — of unhealthy choices doesn’t mean you should give up for the whole season. Get yourself back on track and keep trying.
  • Wash your hands. This is a simple self-care tip that can help keep illness away. You are in contact with more people during the holidays, so you are exposed to more germs.
  • Be realistic about your spending. Consider cutting back on the list of those you buy for or setting a spending limit. Come up with creative alternatives to exchanging gifts — like doing an activity with friends or family or donating to a charity.
  • Learn to say “no, thanks.” You don’t have to go to every party. Accept invitations to events that are meaningful to you.
  • Beat the blues. Get the support you deserve if you’ve suffered a loss. Make plans with friends if family is far away. Give yourself something to look forward to by putting activities on your calendar for the future.
  • Be thankful. Even if you are facing challenges, try to remember to be grateful. Helping someone who is less fortunate is a good reminder of what you have.
  • Live in the moment. The holidays are here for only a short time, so try to be present for the joyful moments. And practice self-compassion during the difficult ones.

You can control the feeding frenzy that accompanies the holidays by planning ahead.

  • Try not to skip meals. It is best to eat normally throughout the day rather than trying to “save up” calories to splurge on one meal.
  • Eat a healthy snack before going to a party. Taking the edge off your hunger will make it easier for you to control your eating choices when you are at the party.
  • Choose a salad with dressing on the side before the main course. Select lean protein sources for your meal, such as grilled chicken or fish.
  • Scan the buffet table before filling your plate. Then choose only your favourites and balance healthy vs. less healthy options.
  • Bring a healthy dish to share as a safety measure. This way you know you will have something to eat that is a healthy choice.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. Alcohol is high in calories and it stimulates the appetite while decreasing willpower.

A few easy swaps can make your holiday table even healthier.

  • Sugar and salt for your favorite spices and herbs — think sweet with cinnamon, savory with thyme; cut down sugar called for (in recipes, for example) by up to half
  • Heavy cream for fat-free evaporated milk
  • Sweetened condensed milk for ;ow-fat vanilla yogurt
  • White flour for whole-grain wheat flour
  • Butter or oil for mashed bananas or applesauce

Download the healthy holidays tips here.

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Source: Patient. Available at patient.info/health. Accessed 1 March 2017.