Healthy Lifestyle,  Mental Health,  Productivity,  Self Care

Keeping Your Mind & Body Healthy Throughout the Holidays

It’s getting to be that time of year ladies- it is mid October and I have already been partaking in the seasonal splurge. I mean, how can you go into Trader Joe’s and not snag a box or three of their seasonal cookies or a pumpkin chai loaf? With so many temptations around us and the onset of the holidays, resisting the urge hasn’t been something that I have been putting effort in, and boy and I starting to feel it. Not only do I feel sluggish from the intake of too many treats and junk, but my midsection is feeling bloated and large, yikes! But most importantly- I feel crabby and lazy. Today’s workout seemed a lot more difficult to accomplish as I just didn’t have the energy that I normally have. Year after year I go through the same cycle. I workout often and eat cleaner in the spring and summer but once fall approaches I can feel my motivation start to dwindle and and my desire for holiday treats start to amp up.

Before I slip too far down the rabbit hole of seasonal treats and minimal working out, I am going to set some boundaries right now. I will limit myself to one reasonable treat when they are presented and make sure to drink lots of water each day and do some form of physical activity. Last week at a work potluck I literally ate a plate of cookies, a brownie, and a slice of pumpkin pie. Sometimes I can be the most disciplined person I know and other times I have absolutely zero self control. It’s like once I have had a taste I lose any and all control over mind and body. If I keep up at the rate that I have been going, I am going to gain 20 lbs over the holidays. I definitely do not want to lose the hard work I have been putting in all year so it’s time to get re-acquainted with my discipline that I know is in there buried somewhere beneath the treats and extra tummy fat.

One of the biggest revelations that I have had this year is exactly how much of my diet impacts my mental health. I mean, who knew that my mood swings could be a result of unstable blood sugar, insulin, and processed foods. I know for a fact when I eat clean, my mind is clear, my anxiety is down, and my overall mood is stable. When I go a week with eating junk I feel snappy, hangry, lazy, and experience high highs and low lows in regards to my mood. How many people are walking the earth right now oblivious to the fact that it is perhaps their diet that is having negative impacts on their mental health? It isn’t rocket science- when I eat like shit I feel like shit both physically and mentally. Here is the bizarre part- I know this information to be true but sometimes it isn’t enough to not fill my plate with processed crap at a work potluck. Why? Not sure… I am in full control of my decisions so it comes back to discipline. I have had another work potluck since then and guess what I had on my plate this time? Raw broccoli, chicken nuggets, and one cookie. Is it the most cleanest, strict paleo meal I could have gotten? Nope. However, it is far more balanced than the plate of crap I had at the last potluck.

My point is strive for balance, not perfection! 

To help get my priorities reestablished and set myself up for success to combat the holiday treats, weight gain, and mental fog, here is a list of some of the things that I  personally do to keep my mind and body straight during the holidays.

Make a smoothie for breakfast every day that is loaded with protein, healthy fats, and nutrition. (I use recipes from the book called Body Love)

Create meal plans and shopping lists to save money and ensure you’re staying on track with clean eating

Create a workout plan each week and stick to it and if you miss a workout, don’t fret too much about it

Try to be as flexible as possible with daily life to help keep stress levels stable

Try to limit my sweet intake to one treat per occasion

Ensure that every single day you are drinking ample water

Drink hot tea if I need a pick-me-up instead of a pumpkin spice latte

Make sure to get outside each day either for a walk or bike ride with the family

Stretch all the time and wherever you can

Be realistic and don’t overcommit

Don’t try to do it all- structure your priorities around what really matters

Be mindful of the tension in your body and release frequently (unclench fists, roll back shoulders, relax the jaw)

Ask for help with something that is overwhelming

Recognize your triggers

Become an optimist if you are not one already

Shop online for groceries when the stores are going to be too overwhelming (I do this weekly and hardly ever go into the store)

To reiterate, Amazon Prime is your friend!

Make a checklist of all the important things to do- family Christmas cards, holiday shopping, holiday baking, and get organized!

If you are having visitors, be upfront about your boundaries and expectations

Make a budget and stick to it

Let go of control

Don’t be afraid to say no

Practice meditation and mindfulness

The holiday season should be filled with making precious memories with your family and living your best life spiritually, mentally, and physically. Try to relinquish control and remember what the holidays are all about. If you are preoccupied with commitments, shopping, baking, you’ll be robbing yourself of making happy memories with your kiddos. Keep it simple, be realistic, and go with the flow! If all else fails, I have a great Christmosa recipe!

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