How To Mentally & Physically Prepare for the Holiday

Let’s be honest, 2020 has been an exhausting year. With the election in the rearview mirror and the pandemic still impacting our daily lives, it’s no wonder why thousands of Americans are ready to embrace this holiday season. 

 

This year has taken a hit on the mental and physical health of people across the world, which is why it’s so important to check in with yourself and take inventory: 

 

How are you feeling? 

 

Have you been getting enough sleep? 

 

How are your energy levels? 

 

Are you feeling foggy or fatigued? 

 

You are not alone. According to a poll done by Weight Watchers, 72% of surveyors reported to have gained more weight during quarantine than the holidays and a Blue Cross Blue Shields survey suggested that there has been a 23% increase in alcohol consumption since the pandemic began. 

 

So, what can you do? With the stress of Christmas and the New Year right around the corner, the last thing you want to think about is counting your calories or restricting, but the holidays CAN be just as much fun while still prioritizing your health! 

 

Here are a few tips to help you get out of your unhealthy habit funk: 

 

Avoid emotional eating: During times of stress, it’s not uncommon to return to comfort foods. We all do it! They make us feel better by reminding us of a soothing time in our lives. It may feel good in the short term, but these comfort foods are often high in carbs and fat, a combination that can create dangerous craving cycles and result in a crash. Instead, switch to energy-boosting foods that are easy to store like frozen fruits, sweet potato, squash, and quality proteins. 

Reward yourself: Your brain likes to know it’s doing the right thing! When you accomplish something (like practicing a new healthy habit in place of an unhealthy one), celebrate that feeling and relish in your success. This can be as simple as giving yourself a *literal* pat on the back or sharing your success with a family member or friend. 

Make it manageable: Start with a 15 or 20-minute workout instead of committing to an hour-long exercise. It can be as simple as going for a walk or doing yoga. Just keep your body moving — especially when you don’t want to!

Write out your goals: Studies have shown that people are 42% more likely to achieve their goals if they write them down. So take some time to write down your values and goals–something you’ve always wanted to do, something that would benefit your life or something that would make you feel better overall! Then turn your goals into bite-sized pieces.

 

 

Have patience with yourself: Habits aren’t formed overnight. Both good and bad habits take time to change (especially the bad ones!). Remember that everyone is experiencing something different during the pandemic and quarantine. Avoid comparing yourself to others, especially right now. What works for your friend or family member won’t always work for you. 

Consider getting a therapist: It’s easier than ever to seek extra emotional support. You don’t even need to see someone in person! If you want to explore deeper feelings and behaviors, schedule a telehealth appointment, and see how it goes. You aren’t committed to anything!