Let me guess… you read the title and thought, “The holidays?! Is this girl nuts, that is so far away!”. But they really are just around the corner— Labor Day in September leads to Halloween in October, then on Thanksgiving in November, and the grandaddy of them all- Christmas. We are just a hop, skip, and jump away from the chaos we all know and love (somewhat). This healthy holiday series, I hope, serves to help you gear up for the holidays over the next few months.
What would you say if I told you that what you are doing today can impact you in September and even into December? That our daily actions or lack of actions can have a trickle down effect. They can, and they will. Habits are not undone in one day. And by the same effect, they are not built in one day.
Time and commitment. The definition of habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice. It takes time and commitment to make and break habits. That’s why actions today can impact you months down the road. Establishing good habits now will help control pitfalls around the holidays.
Can you guess the focus on this month’s healthy holiday series? That’s right— building good habits. There are so many good habits to have…. saving money instead of spending money; trading a book for screen time on occasion; flossing daily; taking time to ask someone’s name or holding the door for a stranger. Building habits related to your health can be more challenging. But challenge you I will.
Here are some habits to work on….
1. Keep yourself a priority. Raise your hand if you have put your own needs aside for busy family times or work deadlines. Yep, I see you out there. Keep in mind that the more your own needs and health go on the back burner, the harder it will be to take care of others long term. Not only that but the quality and productivity of what you do at work and at home suffers. Make a list of what is important to YOU– your ‘must do daily’ list and do not let anything take a priority over those things.
2. Drink more. Drinking an appropriate amount of water is vital to many body processes including fat metabolism, prevention of fluid retention, appetite control, and bowel function. The typical adult should drink anywhere from 64-96 oz of hydrating fluids. So how can this help during the holidays? Hunger and craving control. When you are conditioned to reach for water throughout the day, you will also reach for it while the buffet of pies and cookies are staring at you.
3. Plan and prep your meals. The all or nothing approach to eating on a daily basis can be hard to overcome. The thoughts of, “well I already ate something bad for breakfast so I the rest of the day is ruined” is a vicious cycle. But planning your meals ahead can make is easier to get from a not so good breakfast to a great lunch and dinner. In the same way, meal prepping can help keep you from reach for more undesirable convenience foods when you are tired and not in the mood to cook.
4. Eat out less. Knowing how much effort and time it takes to meal plan, grocery shop, and prep meals is an advantage going into a busy season. Trying to pick up this habit of cooking more at home and eating out less in the middle of chaos will most likely result frustration and a feeling of defeat. Start cooking at home more now so you are ready for that time management when busy season hits.
5. Exercise regularly. This is the same concept as cooking at home. When you have a daily routine of physical activity already built in, you are more likely to continue that activity when time becomes more precious. Plan it into your day. Don’t let it fall by the wayside. Be adamant about your exercise time.
I hope you accept the challenge of building these habits. It isn’t easy, but it will be worth it. Check back monthly for more in this Healthy Holiday Series.