Monday, December 16, 2013

8 Tips for Preparing for the Holiday Stress

When this time of year rolls around, I’m filled with mixed emotions – excitement over baking, decorating, and family gatherings AND anxiety over the possibility of overeating sweets, getting the wrong gifts, and conflicts with family members. If you’re like me, you need an arsenal ready for preparing for the stress to come.

1.       Prepare

First, load up on whatever you do to lower stress NOW before the holidays really kick in – yoga, running, hiking, listening to music, etc.

Also, if you know you’ll be eating nothing but cookies, pie, and ham at your great-aunt’s house next week, load up on vegetables and fruit now. It might not help with the sudden lack of fiber, but it WILL help prevent vitamin deficiencies.

2.       Diet

Try to continue eating as healthily as possible by BRINGING YOUR OWN FOOD. I'm always in favor of this. You'll feel better, your host will feel relieved, and it is better than needing to rush out to the grocery store on Christmas Eve.

Healthy snacks will give you more energy and keep you from feeling tired and cranky as you’re rushing through traffic from one holiday gathering to the next. If you’re going to a place where gluten free food is scarce, pack full meals if you must and limit your stay accordingly.

3.       Plan Ahead

If you have to drive nine hours with your ten kids, it’s especially important to plan breaks to get out and walk or play and pack healthy, gluten free snacks. All  this means planning ahead.

Also, it is important to have a back-up plan, such as what will you do if you’re stuck in a blizzard and the traffic grinds to a halt? You could stay at a hotel, of course, but if that’s outside your budget, you could just stop for a while at a museum, mall, or playground on your route. Studying your route in advance and having reliable internet service can help.

4.       Drink Water

This will curb your overeating, keep you feeling good, and prevent fatigue. Don’t underestimate the power of hydration. For long car rides, remember it’s more important to be stopping for bathroom breaks than to become tired from dehydration.


5.       Sleep

People who get a full eight hours of sleep a night are healthier AND less likely to be overweight. It also reduces stress.

6.       Meditate

If you’re trying to lose weight or keep to a healthy diet, meditating for a few minutes each morning with this in mind can help you stick to your goal.

7.       Don’t set your goals too high!

Planning not to eat any sweets or refined carbs will almost certainly result in failure. For me, it’d be impossible to say ‘no’ if a relative made a special, gluten free dessert or loaf of bread for me. The hard part might be sticking to just a small serving. You can solve this by taking one cookie and a spoonful of fruit salad or an apple, if they are available.  


8.       Relax

Lastly, remember that the holidays really only last a short time. If you fall off your diet plan, such as eating too many cookies, remember that doesn’t mean you’ve completely blown it. You can go right back to following a healthy diet as soon as everything normalizes again. If you’re trying to lose weight, you may need to run, swim, or walk a few extra miles.

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