Guest Blog Post by Stephanie May Potter, Holistic Health Coach
The air is crisp and cool, the leaves have changed colors, creating piles on our lawns, and now November is officially upon us, which means that the festive and fun holiday season is just a few weeks away.
It seems everyone’s response to the question “How are you doing?” this time of year is one that involves the words “busy, tired, stressed or even glutinous.” It’s definitely challenging to be fully present as we go through our busy days and truly experience joy that this time of year should bring. I encourage you to find happiness in something you do every day. Remind yourself of what is truly important for you this time of year and try not to get too caught up in the chaos of the moment. Here are my top tips to stay happy and healthy during this wonderful time of year and how to enjoy foods without overindulging.
- Move each day! I know it’s tough to follow your typical exercise routine when out of town or have more evening obligations, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend your days sitting, watching TV and eating holiday treats. Even in cold and snowy climates you can get outside on a brisk power walk (especially after a big meal) or do a 10 minute HIIT workout without any exercise equipment. Check out my HIIT and strength workout ideas to release some endorphins and leave you feeling happy!
- Sleep! Especially during the busier and often stressful holiday season it’s important to get plenty of rest. I find that during the colder months that our body needs and even craves more sleep (think about animals who hibernate in the winter). This may mean prioritizing sleep over exercise and skipping the early morning workout after a fun night out with friends. Sleep has the ability to impact so many decisions we make, especially related to food and drink, and you’ll be more likely to eat healthier and more mindfully when you’re well rested.
- Bring a dish to share that you want to eat. Talk to the host in advance so that your dish complements what they will be serving and even mention your dietary needs/preferences. If you’re staying with family/friends you can offer to make a meal for everyone. Here are some of my fall favorite recipes that incorporate season vegetables and flavors. I love this Thai Coconut Squash Soup , Pomegranate Salad and pumpkin bread. These sweet and savory Cinnamon Spiced Mixed Nuts make the perfect hostess gift and provide a healthy plant-based source of fat and protein (Recipe links below).
- Traveling to a food desert this month? Pack healthy snacks and even meals (if traveling by car) to ensure you stay energized and avoid the food-trap of eating highly processed/junk foods when you get hungry. By planning in advance you will save yourself time and energy when you get to your destination and can enjoy your friends and family knowing that you’re keeping your health a priority. Check out my Travel Survival Kit for suggestions on what foods to pack. You can even have groceries delivered (check to see if Instacart delivers where you’re headed).
- Do at least one act of kindness each day. Maybe it’s donating food for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, dropping money in the Salvation Army kettle (or better yet volunteer to ring the bell), adopting a family in need or raking your neighbor’s leaves. In my home we’ve adopted a family the past few years and shopped together to buy their gifts; however, even the smallest gesture can make someone’s day.
- Practice mindful eating. Chew your food! I know this sounds simple and maybe even silly but most of us ‘inhale’, rather than actually chew our food. Digestion begins in the mouth with the activation of saliva. If we eat too quickly, our body has to work harder to digest. Try to chew 20 times before swallowing. This will also have the effect of letting your stomach catch up to your brain. Being mindful of your eating will also increase your enjoyment of it. Reducing your stress level will have a direct impact on how much and what you eat. If you take a minute to stop and breathe or better yet meditate, you will often realize that you don’t really want the sugar but something else (like friendship, movement, water or silence).
- Do enjoy yourself with family and friends and when you do overindulge remember tomorrow is another day to continue your health journey.
Here’s some recipes I would like to share
Stephanie May Potter
Holistic Health Coach