It’s that time of year again for family gatherings, festivities and feasting beyond measure! These days can bring joy or trepidation, depending on how well you prepare. For many who suffer from food allergies, addictions or are prone to stress, this time of year can be especially trying. Read on to learn our top 7 ideas for navigating through holiday pitfalls and temptations!
1.Visualize success. Stressed out about the family reunion? The temptation of Aunt Louise’s caramel-apple pie? The idea of 4 days of football? Relax – make a plan – rehearse! Coaches and athletes commonly use visualization techniques and rehearsal to improve performance, and so can you. Try to picture the scenario that creates the most stress for you while facing the holidays. You might even take out a notebook and write out – in detail – your expectations of the event. Describe the location; the people who will be present, the antagonist (can be a person, a food or even a potential situation).
Now practice. Visualize your responses and be honest with yourself on your weakness. Acknowledge the various outcomes and choose the one that you want to see happen. Keep practicing in your mind how you can contribute to the best possible outcome for your own happiness and enjoyment. Practice, practice, practice.
2.Choose an indulgence – just one – and stick to it! Then really enjoy yourself. If it’s a piece of pie then savor every morsel. If it’s the creamy buttermilk mashed potatoes you crave – dig in. Just make sure that you decide there will be no guilt attached. The caveat to this is not indulge in anything that is harmful to you in the sense of a food allergy or an addiction.
3.Keep moving! The holidays do not have to mean a holiday from your normal routine. Even if you’re traveling you can often find a way to get some exercise into your day. Check out the local gym – most will allow you a guest pass, or go for a run – all you need are the shoes! Take a walk in the autumn air, do a morning dance… whatever feels right. Just move it.
4.Prepare for the evening out. On your way to a party eat an apple to stave off hunger and the possibility of grazing too long at the buffet table. Drink plenty of water – hydration not only keeps us from getting too tipsy but it helps us not to overeat as well!
5.Simplify. Preparing the family meal? This is a great opportunity to take control of the over-indulgence by simplifying the menu. Rather than knocking yourself out making a dozen different side dishes – which then contribute to over-eating – choose three favorites and make enough to go around. This may be the year to let go of the candied yams and green bean bake, not to mention the jello tower!
6.Consider substitutions. Whipped sweet potatoes instead of russets, creamy pasture butter instead of margarine, light buckwheat flour or quinoa flour for your pie crust rather than white or wheat flour… There are so many easy and tasty ways to make your meals healthier without compromising your taste buds!
7.Have a treatment. Try to remember – you are not alone. The holidays can be tough on everyone with all the pressures of traveling, preparing, socializing and just plain dealing with it all. Be kind to yourself and listen to your body. If you need a break – take it. Don’t forget to breathe. And, if you’re feeling overwhelmed – call us and come on in for an acupuncture treatment or massage to ease the stress.
Image courtesy: CarbonNYC