Health Is More Than Diet and Exercise

The holiday season can be wonderful, but for many who are focused on their weight, it can be stressful and often filled with an overwhelming amount of food. It may seem fun at the beginning, but after indulging at party after party, you might find that these foods can quickly bust your waistline. Maybe you get food guilt or feel shame for overindulging, or maybe you feel sick, lethargic, and all-around worse in your body because healthy habits go out the window with the holiday leftovers.

Here are some holiday hacks to not just survive the holiday season but thrive and repeat for every holiday event throughout the year.

Set daily intentions that are enjoyable and feel prayerful

New routines or a crazy season might mean we forego our regular healthy habits. It’s absolutely okay to pause some of your rituals, workouts, or routines as your daily schedule changes and you’re trying to enjoy the holidays. However, to make it easier, plan ahead by identifying a couple of healthy routines that make you feel your very best. Whether it’s getting in a meditation every morning or going for a jog three times a week, identify your non-negotiables and then prioritize them, no matter what. They should be something small, that can be done daily, something to look forward to that is doable despite the holiday business.

Keeping up with only a couple of crucial rituals and routines will be much more manageable than hoping to keep every habit. More importantly, it will help you feel better throughout the season and actually help with your stress. Setting and then following through with your intentions will also help focus you for the day and help prevent the feeling of anxiety due to over-indulging because at least you are keeping up with a healthy routine.

You have limited time and attention so you want to make sure you take the time to make a conscious decision about what matters most to you before your day starts. Then, your brain will choose that perspective as its filter.

Photo by Valeria Ushakova/Pexels

Source: Photo by Valeria Ushakova/Pexels

Setting daily intentions will help you focus your mind, stay on track to keep your health goals, and reduce stress about missing things that are important to you.

Find movements that are fun for you and that you can do regularly

Moving, preferably daily, is not only a good way to combat those additional calories that most people eat during the holiday season but can also relieve stress, elevate your mood, and make you feel better overall. Choose something that is fun: it can be walking, dancing with your kids, ice skating or yoga. Get creative: it doesn’t have to be the gym, running, or an exercise class. What you choose needs to also be prayerful and enjoyable, something you look forward to doing regularly. Doing it this way, instead of the typical forced way of exercising that may not be enjoyable, will help release dopamine and endorphins in the brain.

Know that health is more than diet and exercise

If you’re still under the impression that one meal (or a few holidays) can drastically affect your body long-term, you should also know that health is not a two-part formula of diet plus exercise. Remember not to feel bad if you have over-indulged at one meal or did not get as much exercise as you wanted on those few days of celebration, what you do on a regular basis and what happens afterward is more important.

Being healthy is also to be whole. Nourishing your body for better health is more than just eating healthy food. The podcasts we listen to, the people we spend our time with, the shows we binge on Netflix, the accounts we follow on Instagram, the way we speak to ourselves (and others) are all things that feed us too. If you’re not as focused on the way you’re being fed and nourished besides the food on your plate or the way you’re burning energy besides exercise, you’re missing key pieces of the puzzle. There are many opportunities to nourish yourself besides food, especially during the holidays. Focus on how your relationships nourish you, the compassion you’re giving yourself, and how you’re spending your free time to truly become your healthiest self.

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