What if the holidays don’t have to be a health free-for-all?! Suppose you could mindfully navigate them and feel fantastic come January?
What the what?! How on earth do you do that? I’ve got 3 tips to help you do it. It’s all about going in mindfully, developing a holiday health zone, and staying connected with a mindset to set you up for success.
Establish your Holiday Health Zone.
In my book The Elephant in the Gym I introduced the concept of a “Health Zone.” This concept is all about putting some thought (mindfully) into determining your practice of health. It takes into consideration your unique goals, interests, priorities and commitments (holidays included). To explore this approach you examine both the “lower limit” or non-negotiable habits and routines you’ll do no matter what (ex. drink 4 glasses of water or move for 15 minutes every day) as well as your “upper limit” habits and routines (ex. drink 8 glasses of water, eat 5 servings of veggies and move for 30 minutes per day).
- Why is the health zone so pivotal? Because by having a “zone” you create a wiggle room for success. And when you feel successful you reinforce your self-efficacy (your belief in yourself and your capabilities). And when self-efficacy is HIGH, success is also high!
- Important note: your health zone will be as unique as you are! Don’t get caught up in the examples I gave – find the health habits and routines that genuinely work for you! How do you find them? Try on some ideas and see what “sticks.”
- Build your Holiday Health Zone. Not only will your health zone be unique on the reg, YOU have full permission to adjust course on your health zone at ANY TIME (read: the holidays, that stressful work period, vacations, etc.).
- Questions to consider:
- What habits do you need to ensure you feel well – body, mind and spirit?
- What is the modified version of those habits taht will work given the priorties and commitments you have through this period of time?
- Check yourself: is this modified version going to enable me to enjoy the holidays? Is there enough real life “wiggle room?” Is it do-able?!
- How can you support yourself to keep these modified habits in play?
- Questions to consider:
Be here now.
Once you’ve established your modified holiday health zone, practice presence in everything you do. Notice how you’re feeling (mind, body and spirit) and take active steps to honour your holidy health zone.
- Set intentional boundaries. Instead of being pulled into every single holiday party, really consider which ones work for you (without sacrificing your sleep or joy!).
- Move mindfully. Whatever you decide around movement, do your best to be present in the movement. Really embody the experience and savour each minute!
- Practice mindful eating. Slow down and truly savour the holiday foods you love. Satisfaction is at the hub of the Intuitive Eating approach and it can go a long way to helping you honour your hunger and feel your fullness!
- Set aside time to breathe. Even taking a 1-minute breathing break can work wonders if you’re spinning in busy. Help yourself land here and now (and land in that more peaceful parasympathetic state). Not only will you likely FEEL better, you’ll be more able to tackle the real life stress that often comes with the holidays.
Practice Self-Compassion (for your health + beyond).
Please don’t be hard on yourself when you struggle! Because struggling is oh so human (it’s a we’re wired that way thing).
- Mindfully notice. Notice when the self-critic is in overdrive, or you’re experiencing struggle. Simply being aware of these experiences can go a long way to helping tame them.
- Recognize your humanity. Mindfully notice that this moment of struggle is human – and you’re not alone in this struggle!
- Respond with self-compassion. Be kind to yourself in this moment of struggle. Think: treat and speak to yourself the way you would a dear friend. Or consider setting a clear boundary. Think: mom yourself – what do you need to hear? What do you honestly, truly, really need to hear?!). This is the Yin and Yang of Self-Compassion and it’s powerful stuff!
This holiday season release the attachment to staying “on track” and build your very own track! Find your holiday health zone and have a happy, healthy holiday season – on your terms!