Wishing for a few wellness hacks to help you get through the holidays? If you’re like most people, preparing for the holidays can be fun and stressful at the same time. The fun part comes in the form of spending time with distant family and relatives, decorating, making holiday meals and attending parties. However, these same experiences and situations can cause stress due to feelings of too much rushing around, lack of time and attending more events than normal. Then to help combat the stress, we tend to give up certain things, like our healthy habits or normal fitness routines, in order to ‘do it all’.
Luckily, we don’t have to compromise the healthy habits we’ve created. Nor do we have to avoid having the time of our life during this special time of year because of competing priorities. All we need is a couple of wellness hacks (or simple solutions) to keep us motivated and healthy.
8 Wellness Hacks for the Holidays
Wellness Hack #1 – Exercise Differently
Since the holidays are busy with after school or work events, you may have to change-up your normal exercise routine. If your workouts are usually in the afternoon, you may have to change it to the mornings for a few days or weeks. Or consider using your lunch break for your workout time. Not only is a great way to keep to your usual exercise routine intact, but it will give you an energy boost for the afternoon.
Don’t have time for a full 30-minute workout right now? Break up your fitness routine into several, quick increments throughout the day. For example, take 2 or 3 running/walking breaks of 10-15 minutes each. Adjusting your time this way in order to fit into your new hectic schedule will still provide the benefits of a normal 30-minute workout. It will also help you stay motivated so you can continue exercising without the stress of doing it all at once or not at all.
Wellness Hack #2 – Add More Steps
Ok, so maybe adjusting your exercise schedule is a little harder to do, but you can still add steps to your day. Forget driving around and around trying to find the front parking space. Instead, take advantage of that last spot at the end of the row and be happy about it. Why? Because you’re making a positive choice towards adding extra steps to your daily step count AND you’re not riding around waiting for someone to leave. Need extra motivation? Remind yourself that every extra step helps to burn more calories.
Wellness Hack #3 – Take the Stairs
While shopping, use this time to take the stairs at the mall or parking garage. This is a great way to get the heart pumping, work the thighs, hamstrings and glutes and of course, adds more steps to your daily count. Extra bonus for taking the stairs – Did you know that you can burn 1 calorie for every 10 steps up, or every 20 steps down?
Wellness Hack #4 – Eat Before the Party
One of the biggest complaints and regrets about holiday parties is the overindulgence. In fact, it’s downright easy to be tempted with platters of tasty appetizers, casseroles and desserts. However, if you’ve developed healthier eating habits, the last thing you want to do is relapse into old habits again. So before your next party, try eating a healthy snack to banish the desire to head straight to the food table. A few good choices include low-fat Greek yogurt, trail mix, and cheese slices with wheat crackers.
Wellness Hack #5 – Provide Healthier Options
Another challenge with the holidays is the constant availability of party food at the office, home or your children’s school. I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy the tradition of baking with your family during this time. But select or offer healthier options before or during that meal. In other words, if you plan to do some baking at night with the kids, ensure all of you eat a healthy, fruit and veggie-filled breakfast, lunch and dinner so that you can ‘balance’ out the goodies that are coming after dinner.
You can also find healthier substitutions for your favorite dishes, such as using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or egg whites instead of whole eggs. For more examples of healthier recipe substitutions, read this quick substitution table by Allina Health.
Wellness Hack #6 – Relax, Enjoy & Be Mindful
In this previous post, Being Mindful Beyond Thanksgiving, I wrote about slowing down and enjoying the moments. Yes, it’s definitely easier said than done during the holidays. But if you can, try to remind yourself to stop, slow down, relax and enjoy. After all, the holidays are more than gifts. They are more than decorations. And of course, the holidays mean more than running around like a crazy person. So, get the courage to turn down one of the many party invitations and do what YOU want to do with your family or friends. Watch holiday movies, take a walk with the dog or take a ride with the family to look at Christmas lights. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy every sound, sight and feeling you get from the moment.
Wellness Hack #7 – Wash Your Hands
I know, sounds simple. And it is. Sometimes when we get busy, we stop doing the simple things, like washing our hands frequently. But as we all know, this is cold and flu season, and when you go shopping, or attend parties, you are increasing your chances of getting sick. Think it’s silly? Well, the next time you go shopping, consider how many door handles or key pads you’ve touched. Or how many hands you shook at the office party. Bet you’re going to wash those hands now, huh?
Wellness Hack #8 – Serve Others
For some people, the holidays add stress due to financial reasons or because they want to offer more than just an unusable gifts. In particular, they have a desire to serve others less fortunate. As such, volunteering, participating in religious events or helping neighbors during this time of year can bring you and others much joy. Remember, giving a gift doesn’t have to cost money. In fact, offering to drive someone to a doctor’s appointment, or staying late at the office so others can leave early can do wonders for your soul and for them. Meaning, serving others can provide a health and wellness benefit that is often difficult to explain but most people yearn for.
Hope you enjoyed this sampling of hacks or simple solutions to stay well this holiday season. Remember, it’s all about choices and making healthy ones doesn’t have to be difficult. You just have to decide what’s more important to you during the holidays.
Do you have any wellness hacks you’d like to share? Anything that keeps you healthy during the festivities? Please tell me about it.
Wishing each and every one of you a healthy and Merry Christmas.
All pics by Pixabay