Holiday Havoc Ahead? Plan Now

Granted, the December holidays are a million years away, or so it seems.  But if you look at the calendar, you’ll notice that it’s going to be fall and then Halloween and Thanksgiving and, okay you get the picture.  What is “holiday havoc” and why should we care?

This is a funny way of saying that during the holidays we often gain unwanted weight, ignore our need to relax and eat food that can cause anxiousness and anxiety, especially when our favorite slacks no longer fit.  Couple this concern with those possible troubling you now.  Have you experienced a significant change this year?  Extra food and fatigue, weight gain and lethargy may have you fighting some blue meanies, feelings of depression, too.

So here’s my warning:  Holiday Havoc can play havoc with anyone, but with these stress saving tips, you can be ready and healthy throughout the forthcoming holidays.

Become a sport.  Yes, activate your muscles and energize the kid inside you through the summer and fall.  Take up a new fitness routine, learn or relearn a sport you loved as a youngster.  Choose two actually, one that you can do indoors and one for the great outdoors.  I love to hike and camp, but that’s just not possible with my schedule, so I take half day hikes and then transfer to a treadmill when the days become short.  How about dance and swimming?  Cycling and fencing?  Yoga and gardening?  The “sport” doesn’t have to be a traditional one, but rather something you care about doing.  Be creative.  Shooting hoops isn’t just for kids.  It’s fantastic exercise and increases coordination.

Switch your drinks.  Caffeine, found in coffee, teas, sodas and some soft drinks, is fine in moderation.  But if you cannot sleep, feel out of sorts or jittery, don’t wait for it to get worse.  Switch to water, or the fancy carbonated bubbling ones.  I like mine with ice and a slice of lime or a sprig of mint.

Eat a lot.  Thought you’d like that one.  The “catch” is that you’ll want to have three meals a day and two or three snacks.  But before you think I’ve made a mistake with this advice, remember these are mini meals and small snacks. The trick is to keep your metabolism purring away and with food in your body your energy level will never dip.  Good carbs, such as fruits and vegetables, make excellent snacks.  Lots of vegetables and low fat protein sources are fine meal choices.

Eat dessert.  Yes, never ever starve yourself or punish yourself even if you have an extra bit of weight.  Rather, eat a few bites of your favorite dessert and freeze the remainder in bite-size or portion sized containers.  This is wonderful for treats such as ice cream or cheesecake.  You’ll be far less tempted to eat more than you need if you must open many containers of dessert.

Drink alcohol in a careful way.  I’m not saying don’t drink, but be aware that alcohol is rich in calories and poor on the nutritional scale.  And people who have a few glasses of wine or a few beers often snack on pretzels, chips and other fatty or low-nutritional foods.

Gift yourself time.  Yes, treat yourself as you treat those you cherish.  Give yourself some gifts, such as a day at a spa, a new DVD, a novel you’ve been dying to read.  I love to have facials and manicures.  These are treats for me.  Some of my friends make “dates” with themselves and go window shopping, to the matinee or opera.  Try to go alone or with a close, close friend.  And then stay in the moment.  If you cannot get away for even half a day, do little things for yourself, such as finding a relaxing hobby, listen to soothing music, or watch a funny movie.

Learn to let go.  This is the biggest hurdles for those who find holiday havoc getting a hold of them.  You cannot do everything.  Learn to say, “I’m human.”  Try not to buy into the holiday “myth” that everything must be perfect or the world as we know it will come to an end.  It won’t.

Take care of YOU and you’ll be able to take care of others as you stay fit for life.

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