This post is not about how you should chug 4 water bottles before any social gathering or how you should swap beers for a ~light and ~low-carb vodka soda (but if you want to, I do recommend vodka and LaCroix). It’s more about how to navigate the holidays while not falling COMPLETELY off the wagon/messing up any kind of will-power or control we had once instilled.
December always seems to be the month where our discipline is pushed aside. We’re busy. We’re shopping, attending work/friend/family holiday parties, and trying to cram in the last of the year’s projects. It’s easy for our health to take a backseat, but it doesn’t have to. Here are the ways I keep myself committed to my health during the holidays.
1. Eat what you want
Depriving yourself of something you want to eat is a lose-lose for everyone. There’s simply too much good food going around during the holidays for you to miss out on it. My only advice here is to be conscious of how it’ll make you feel. For example, I love cheese and could stand over a platter for hours and be perfectly content. However, IT MAKES ME FEEL LIKE SHIT. Therefore, I’m NOT going to stand over that platter for hours. I’m going to grab a few squares of gouda, bask in the warm, fuzzy feeling that is pure satisfaction, and move on.
2. Explore new workouts
When the sun sets at 4:30pm, there is NOTHING I want to do less than workout. These last few weeks after Daylight Savings Time have shown me that I have no motivation to go to the gym, so I signed up for a Classpass free trial to test out new workouts and new studios in the city. If you don’t have Classpass in your area, look for gyms that offer weeklong trials or ask your friends if they have guest passes/guest discounts. This is a good way to bring a little excitement back into working out (or conversely, just pure, full-blown anxiety, which is me in any group workout setting #bringafriend). I’ve also noticed myself leaning toward less intense cardio workouts in the winter, like yoga and barre, and you can find these on YouTube! Woo!
3. Bring a healthy appetizer
Sometimes, they’re just NOT available. Everyone’s favorite dishes (including my own) are hot, cheesy, have the word “crack” in it, and likely includes God’s gift to the world (Hawaiian bread) on the side. So everyone brings it. But let’s switch it up a little! Give people the option to grab a fruit skewer or that Mediterranean dip that’s all over Pinterest. If “healthy” is just not doable, at least opt to bring something with a little nutrition.
4. Make your holiday activities active
Find a way to be ~festive and include yourself on this month’s cheesy activities in an active way. Go ice skating for a couple hours (I last maybe 13 min and 45 seconds before I’m too frozen, but I’ll PERSIST this year) and do a long walk instead of driving around for Christmas lights. If you’re in Chicago, the Lincoln Park ZooLights are another active way to be Christmas-y. An added bonus: It’ll make cozying up inside that much better.
5. Learn how to say no
Because mental health is important, too! Remember that you are not obligated to go to parties you don’t want to go to– whether that be to save money, to save yourself the anxiety, or to save yourself from being around triggering food/people/whatever it is. Spend your time with people you WANT to be with and the holidays will be a lot less stressful.
So there’s my two cents. How do you hold yourself accountable with food, workouts, and mental health during the holidays? Could always add a couple more to the list 🙂