With Thanksgiving behind us, Hanukkah this week, and Christmas and New Year’s still to come, there’s no denying that the holidays are here. Are you enjoying the holiday season? Or are you feeling more stressed and overwhelmed than joyful? If you are feeling challenged by the food, festivities, or expectations of the season, here are some tips to help:
5 Tips to Survive and Thrive this Holiday Season
1. Watch out for “all or nothing” thinking. Labeling your foods or eating habits as good or bad will set you up for frustration and disappointment, especially during the holiday season. Strive to embrace moderation. Then, eating one holiday cookie won’t lead to eating an entire tray because you feel like you already “blew it.”
2. Have a plan, but be flexible. Planning out your meals and snacks and anticipating and strategizing for challenges can be extremely helpful during the holiday season. But, try to build some flexibility into your plan so that unexpected changes don’t derail you.
3. Redefine healthy eating. It is not healthy to completely avoid holiday treats, to mindlessly overindulge in them, or to use them as a coping mechanism. It is healthy to give yourself permission to savor and enjoy your favorite foods, while remaining mindful of your hunger, fullness, and satisfaction cues.
4. Make self-care a priority. Make time to get groceries and cook meals so you can nourish yourself with healthy, enjoyable foods. Schedule time to exercise, plan some down-time, and try not to skimp on sleep. Use non-food strategies to deal with stress and emotions. Keep your regular appointments with your treatment team and ask for additional support if you need it.
5. Shift your focus away from food and weight. Instead, try to focus on family, friends, fun holiday activities, and the true meaning of the season.
The list of tips in this blog post was adapted from a Holiday Workshop that I co-led with Allison Jupiter, LCSW.