I’ll admit it. I am so guilty of overindulging in many ways during the holidays. I usually end up wearing leggings everyday after the New Year because my pants feel a bit too snug from all of the food I consumed.
Over-eating, over-scheduling, over-spending, etc. is fine once a while, but with more than a month of festivities from Thanksgiving through the New Year, overindulging can catch up with you, and its consequences may last longer than you expect. For example, we all know someone who had a bit too much to drink at a holiday party that resulted in some crazy behavior. These stories are then retold every year, probably more often than ‘The Night Before Christmas.”
This year, I’m intent on reigning in my overindulging and have come up with a few ideas to combat the indulge monster within me:
- Schedule downtime – Holiday schedules fill up fast. Many times, I end up rushing from one event to the next fulfilling traditions and obligations. When my schedule gets too full, I find myself exhausted and grumpy. My house is usually a mess because I don’t have time to clean it, which makes me grumpier. Then the trickle effect starts. If I’m grumpy, the mood spreads to the other members of my family. At this point, we are so far from the smiling family in our Christmas card that you wouldn’t recognize us. Gah! Before the holidays begin, take out your calendar and mark down the events that you have already committed to attending. Then block off downtime, which you will spend at home doing whatever pleases you. If I have a dinner party on a Saturday, I’ll sometimes block of the entire day to be at home so that I can wake up late, have a nice breakfast, and slowly do house chores before the evening. The key to scheduling downtime is actually putting it in your calendar and keeping to it. Don’t be tempted to sacrifice the time because something came up at the last minute. In addition, make sure you reserve enough time, 3 hours or more, to get in enough downtime for quality respite.
- Enjoy drinks at home – I know that some of the best dinners and celebrations are enjoyed with spirits, but during the holidays, I’ve found it much more enjoyable to have a glass (or two) of wine at home at my leisure. There’s so much going on at holiday parties, such as catching up with people you haven’t seen for awhile, watching the kids as they zoom around hyped up on sugar and excitement, and helping the host clean up. Not drinking helps me stay alert and at the top of my game, and I’m always able to drive home safely.
- Prepare and eat lots fruits and veggies – Having healthy food on-hand and ready-to-eat is critical to ensure that I don’t indulge in too many treats. Clean and slice fruits and vegetables as soon as you bring them home from the market, so that they are available once hunger strikes. Holidays goodies are always available and ample wherever you go this time of year, so make sure that healthy options are as well. I like to have salad kits in my refrigerator. Even though they are more expensive than purchasing ingredients piece meal, salad kits are a wonderful, easy way to get veggies into your diet in the busiest time of year.
- Add some kind of activity or exercise to annual traditions – Holiday traditions are very much built around food and eating. Take some of the focus off of food and add some kind of activity to the mix. Plan a hike or bike ride before a gathering. Set up a game of basketball, football or darts with friends. Getting up, outside and active generates blood flow, good energy and feel-good hormones that will add more fun and great memories to the season.
- Meditate – Meditation can rejuvenate you physically and mentally in as short as a few minutes. You don’t need any experience to meditate. Simply close your eyes, rest your mind, and breathe slowly in and out to calm yourself and regain some peace of mind. You can also find many free guided meditations on YouTube. Just click on a video and the guide will take you through the steps. I’ve noticed that meditation grounds me and helps me make better choices with eating, sleeping, and more.
In one of our previous posts we discuss holiday budgeting. Check it out to prevent over-spending.
Remember that we are all human. Overindulging is normal and fun sometimes, but not on an ongoing basis. If you do go overboard in any way during the holidays, don’t beat yourself up about it, and don’t feel like you should just give up and give in to more. A new day is always a new start.