The holiday season has arrived. Its a time of love, joy and the spirit of giving….
Let’s be real, though…the holidays, to most, are about gifts, good food, good company and time off of work. The next couple of months are packed with family gatherings and home-cooked comfort food, late night parties and last minute shopping. In short, the holidays are stressful. We buy things we can’t afford for people we barely see. We buy things for ourselves, we know we shouldn’t (but we can’t resist). We spend more time at the mall or bar than we do at the gym. Our activity bar drops to how far a walk we have to the kitchen and our beds. To make things worse, the holidays are a near-guarantee for weight gain.
It’s no surprise and who’s to judge? Between unending errands and the general stress of the holidays, it’s to be expected. We tell ourselves we’ll cheat a bit, then get back in line for New Years. Sometimes we do…sometimes we don’t. Our pennies are scraped and spent, and the family/friends/lover drama begins.
For those of you who have been dreading the upcoming holidays, your significant other (or lack thereof), your empty wallet and your hibernation body, there are a few tips you can follow leading up to and after your holidays celebrations. If you can make these adjustments a habit, they’ll be easier to keep up and, before long, it’ll be second nature to you.
1. Don’t Starve Yourself
I know you’ve got your eye on the prize. You’re waiting for the large meal with the anticipation of fasting to make more room for seconds, thirds and fourths. Or, you’re trying to erase some of the guilt ahead of time. No matter what the circumstances, trying to forgo food altogether is a recipe for disaster. When your body goes into starvation mode it holds onto as much of your body fat as possible. It’s an instinct of survival that you can’t teach your body not to do. If you go long enough without eating, once you start again, a similar issue occurs. Your body doesn’t take into account what you ‘want’ it acts on what you ‘need.’ Healthy eating and activity is a longer process, yes. But, in the long run it’ll have better, long-lasting results.
2. Don’t Snack TOO much…
Snacking is good for your body. Smaller, more frequent portions of food is better than eating a couple huge meals a day. You’ll be satisfied more often and it’ll keep up your metabolism, BUT that doesn’t mean you should snack excessively. Eating three or fours snacks between each meal isn’t an ideal habit to get into. Balance is key!
3. Don’t Bypass Breakfast
This is lot more important than you think. Not only does breakfast jump start your body with some much needed fuel, it also jump starts your metabolism. When lunch or snack time rolls around, you won’t be ready to stuff your face and your will have an easier time digesting your remaining meals.
The percentage of smokers has significantly decreased in the last few years. The most drastic of those decreases was in the teenage population. Its a good start, but there is always room for improvement. As corny as it sounds, quitting a habit like smoking can change you life. Sure, when the going gets rough, all you want to do is get that lighter igniting. In our most stressful times, smoking is a saving grace. The power they hold over us makes it easy to forget the disastrous list of side effects. Quit while you can. Learn to cope without. You’ll be doing your body and your mind a favor.
5. Avoid Alcohol
We aren’t saying to avoid it completely. That’d be ridiculous. Most of us are going to need all the help we can to survive these coming weeks. Alcohol included. Just moderate your drinking. You don’t want to spend money you could be using on gifts. And you definitely don’t want to be that poor, passed-out soul that ends up in everyone’s shaming selfies.
6. Being Ungrateful
We spend way to much time worrying about what we don’t have over the holidays. If you’re reading this, you’ve got more than a lot of others. Stop wasting your time whining over the unfairness of the world. Think about the things you do have- the things that should make you grateful. It doesn’t have to be material items. Family, friends, a roof over your head, that is more than enough.
7. Ignoring Your Lack of Sleep
If you’re having trouble sleeping it could be more serious than you think. A few all-nighters for school is one thing, but constantly struggling to get a good night’s rest is like flicking the first domino to a whole line of them. Not making an effort to improve your sleep? Well than don’t say you didn’t expect them all to be crashed to the ground.
8. Getting Hung Up on the Past
We make stupid decisions sometimes. We can’t go back in time and change it, but we can choose to move forward and learn from those mistakes. Other times, people make stupid decisions that effect us. We wish we could, but we can’t change others. Stop allowing the past to be apart of your present and your future. Leave it where it belongs and move forward.
9. Stop Trying to Be Like Others
You are your best when you are yourself. Its okay to admire someone- to look up to them or aspire to be more like them. Ultimately, though, we can only find happiness when we are true to ourselves. Comparing ourselves to others is only a set-up for heartbreak, for ourselves AND for others. Don’t be that person. Be your person.
10. Don’t Wait for the World to Come to You
It won’t. If you haven’t figured it out yet, opportunity isn’t served to everyone on a silver platter. It takes time, effort and courage. Don’t be scared to make daring jumps towards your desires. The only way to fail, is to try. If you don’t try you can’t fail, but you definitely won’t succeed. Don’t wait for happiness to come to you. Go looking for it. You may find more than you could have imagined.