Stay Healthy Throughout Holiday

Embracing the spirit of the season doesn't have to compromise your well-being. Know how to stay healthy throughout holiday celebrations.

Thriving Through the Holidays

Although I love Christmas time, I know for some it is a dreadful, stressful time. As soon as the holiday season approaches, the prospect of festive gatherings, delicious feasts, and cozy evenings can be both exciting and challenging. The stress of family gatherings with toxic relatives, the financial stress of buying gifts, and dealing with traffic and crowds can wreak havoc on our bodies, mentally, emotionally, and physically. It’s especially hard for those committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Fret not! Embracing the spirit of the season doesn’t have to compromise your well-being. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy throughout holiday celebrations.

Prioritize Sef-Care

Amidst the hustle, make time to take care of yourself, exercising included. Whether it’s a morning jog, a brisk walk after dinner, or a quick home workout, staying active is an easy way to release stress. Also, find time to do things that make you feel connected with whatever the season means to you. For me, Christmas is a celebration of love so, I try my best to spread love, whether it’s baking cookies for my neighbors or wrapping presents, I’m putting in love. Prepping special meals fills me with joy as I know cooking with love is the best I can do for my family’s health.

Be Present

Buying lots of presents can be very stressful but, I love going out to the stores to see what’s available. I’m not a big shopper at all, but I like to see the lights, decorations, and all the Christmas-themed stuff. That’s actually how I like to buy my presents, going around the store and finding things that remind me of people. This way I can feel them close to my heart even if they are far away. However, the best gift of all is to be present – to mindfully give the gift of presence, the warmth of a hug, and the light of a smile. 

Think Outside the Box

Once, instead of doing a traditional Secret Santa with my extended family, we exchanged acknowledgments. I had learned earlier that year, from Jim Bergquist, that appreciation done publicly goes a long way. Jim is a consultant who had worked for the organization I was working for at that time, and I loved his approach. So, I suggested to my family to do what he had taught – to choose one person and express appreciation stating the reason why. We did so, and I can tell you it was a very emotional evening. This is just an idea that could take the pressure off Christmas shopping, with the perk of deepening your affective bonds.

Different Ways to Give

Another idea is the “do it yourself” kind of gift. I love to make scrapbooking cards or give food I’ve cooked. This year I’m making a big batch of homemade granola to gift my neighbors and friends. Maybe you can sew, knit, or crochet something. Or maybe you are talented enough to write a poem, a piece of music, or even a message that you can print and frame. Once I made a picture book for two dear friends of mine. I scanned 15 years’ worth of pictures to my phone and made books on Shutterfly. It brought up all those good memories from when our kids were little and from all the treasured times we’ve spent together. 

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is often overlooked during celebrations. However, it plays a crucial role in maintaining energy levels and supporting digestion. Be aware of the tendency to “hydrate” with alcoholic beverages, especially if you have lots of celebrations to attend. Even low to moderate levels of alcohol can harm your brain. Keep that in mind if you’re having a drink or two every day. Additionally, alcohol lowers the ability to think clearly and make sound choices leading to potentially bad interactions with others. Choose mocktails or infused water instead. Remember it’s OK to stay hydrated by sipping on water at a holiday party! 

Healthy Contributions

If you’re attending gatherings or hosting parties, make sure to contribute something healthy to the menu. Create colorful, nutrient-packed salads, vegetable platters, or fruit skewers. By incorporating wholesome options into the feast, you ensure there are nutritious choices available for everyone. I’ve been searching for healthy recipes for Christmas and it’s unbelievable the number of choices available on Instagram. Some have awesome festive presentations to make your table look even prettier. I have put together a pack with 5 healthy dessert recipes if you’re lacking ideas – available here.

Mindful Eating

Indulging in holiday treats is part of the celebration, but mindful eating can make a significant difference. You don’t need to be all in when it comes to unhealthy food. Even if you decide to try a bite of everything, eating healthy food first is always a good strategy. Then you can please your taste buds and whoever made the chocolate pie. Just opt for smaller portions and savor each bite. Balance indulgences with nutrient-rich options, ensuring you enjoy the festivities without compromising your journey to a healthier you.

Manage Stress

Family and work gatherings can be stressful. That’s why it’s especially important to have stress-management options in mind. Maybe it’s the perfect time for you to try a breathing exercise or a meditation technique. Equally important is to be aware of how much you can handle as far as toxic relatives. Effective boundary setting is a bid for connection and closeness, not a method of shutting people out. Clear communication of what upsets you set the tone of mutual respect with yourself and others. 

Bonus Tip

It’s important to set realistic health and fitness goals for the holiday season. Consistency is important but, do your best instead of aiming for perfection. Always keep the 80/20 rule in mind – where 80% of the time you’ll be all in with your health commitments and 20% of the time you can be flexible. Just go one day at a time – it’s always possible to do an after-party cleanse. If you could resist that almost irresistible dessert, celebrate! Small victories help us to persevere. And remember that balance is key. 

Navigating the holiday season while prioritizing your health is not only possible but also empowering. Hope these tips are helpful in a way that allows you to enjoy the magic of the holidays while nurturing your well-being.

Here’s to a season of joy, connection, and a healthy, thriving you!

After all: Good is what makes you feel well!


Anna Resende

Anna Resende

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
Certified by IIN - Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Every week I send out my newsletter called Mamma’s Tips where I share health and wellness topics, good books, recipes, and more. 

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I’m excited to share that I just published my first e-book

A Weekend of Feeling Great!

In this book, you’ll find all the steps you can take to feel great. Besides all the foundational principles of multidimensional health, it has a sample of a productive daily routine and a two-day menu with 10 healthy recipes for you to try.

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