Adapt to OV: Tips for a Healthy Mind and Body This Holiday Season | Explore well-being
Boh i love the holidays! The opportunity to spend precious time with family and friends, creating memories that last forever. For some, it helps to relax, connect, meditate, read, and maybe even take a nap in the early afternoon. There are so many reasons to be thankful.
It’s my favorite time of year, but as a holistic lifestyle coach and CHEK practitioner, I see a lot of people struggle. Society is conditioned to abuse during the holidays because the misconception is that it brings us feelings of happiness and contentment. Often, however, we get sicker, gain weight, and become more anxious and depressed. Why do so many people get colds and viruses in December, January and February? It’s a lack of self-care and our disrespect for the balance of a healthy lifestyle, leaving our mind, body and immune system to suffer. I am very aware of all the ways we are stressed and distracted from our normal routines while on vacation. Work parties, family receptions, cooking, shopping, etc. can be quite overwhelming. When it comes to getting enough rest, exercise, and eating healthy, we need to be mindful. A few healthy habits will keep us from feeling stressed, anxious and depressed. Here are some ideas to help you maintain that healthy balance between enjoying the festivities and staying strong mentally and physically.
Have a plan and write it down. Post it somewhere you can see it or set a reminder on your phone. With today’s technology, there is a plethora of health and fitness apps that make it easy to track your diet and exercise habits. Take some time away from work, social media, games, and other apps and devote it to yourself.
I start my day with an entry in my gratitude journal. I write down the first six things that come to mind, then I wonder how grateful and happy I am. This gives my morning routine a good start, which then continues in a happier state of mind. Achieving this positive mindfulness also improves my rest, digestion, exercise, and mood throughout the day. Research shows that the brain’s neurons are strengthened by the messages we relay to each other. Gratitude is more than being positive, there is science behind this technique.
I always encourage my clients to exercise during the morning hours as it helps keep their mind and body in balance. Exercising behind you also eliminates distractions or excuses. If exercise is not possible, then moving often throughout the day will help. Park further away when shopping, take the stairs instead of the elevator, get up from your desk, sofa, or chair every 30 minutes to stretch, squat, and twist. A brisk five-minute walk is all it takes to recharge your batteries if you’re feeling sluggish. Whatever the method, get moving! No matter what you do, movement can create a sense of accomplishment, self-esteem, and respect.
Monitoring hydration is also very important. Dark urine, headaches, fatigue and joint pain are some indicators of dehydration. Staying hydrated throughout the day can reduce the intensity of hunger, leading to less food intake during parties, functions, or gatherings. A good rule of thumb is to consume half of your body weight in ounces of good quality water throughout the day. I always drink a few glasses of water 20 minutes before these kinds of events because it relieves my cravings and I feel less hungry or tempted to eat unhealthy.
Optimal sleep and rest throughout the day is also important. If your schedule allows, try to follow the circadian cycle. Going to bed at 10 p.m. and waking up at 6 a.m. helps regulate our repair and growth hormones. Taking some time out during the day to stretch, meditate, read, paint, or take a nap does a lot of good. Try to avoid televisions, computers, phones at least an hour before sleeping. If this is not possible, be sure to wear blue light blocking the glasses. They will help you reduce your exposure to blue light waves that can keep you awake. Take a warm Epsom salt bath and then meditate, read, or both. When it’s time for your big vacation meal, make sure you don’t skip meals throughout the day. This will only make you eat more and make bad choices at the table. Start by having a nice salad first, then a plate of mostly vegetables and less potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, and rich, dense foods. This will fill you up faster, allowing you to consume fewer calories. Try to slow down, conscientiously chewing your food while enjoying what you eat. Studies confirm that chewing your food for longer helps with weight loss because it gives your brain more time to receive signals from the stomach that it is full, resulting in decreased food intake.
So please take the time to love yourself. Remember that drugs are often just dressings that treat the symptoms and not the root cause. By taking a more proactive holistic approach, we can live much healthier and happier lives. Giving us the ability to keep doing the things we love to do with less pain, and more vigor and passion.
Have a nice holiday!
Julian Turner is a CHEK Practitioner 2, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach, CHEK Tennis Conditioning Specialist and owner of Reach Your Potential. He specializes in corrective exercise, before and after rehabilitation, athletic development, athletic performance and lifestyle coaching. With over 25 years of experience, his integrated approach has helped individuals and athletes improve performance, prevent and recover from injury and pain.