As fun as the holidays are, they can also be super duper draining. I don’t pretend to know the secrets to balancing it all in the best possible way, but I do have some suggestions for having fun and and avoiding feeling bad, mentally or physically. Part of me is creating this post as a reminder to myself; sometimes I don’t practice what I preach, but I should!

Pace Yourself

The first week of December often brings the beginning of an onslaught of holiday parties whether work , family, or friend related. You want to have fun, but the last thing you want to do is burn out before the month has even really started! Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

  1. Before you attend the party (especially if it’s work related), eat a solid meal or snack, even if you aren’t particularly hungry. Healthy protein is highly recommended, so opt for an omelette, avocado toast, or some veggies with hummus. Give yourself a solid foundation so you don’t get too intoxicated too quickly.
  2. Have some spacers. There’s no reason you can’t be sipping water or at least alternating a club soda between cocktails. No one likes to be hungover and one of the biggest causes is dehydration!
  3. Even though it’s cozy to have a glass of wine or two at home while watching Hallmark movies, maybe opt for an alcohol free night and save it for the parties. It’s good to let your system clear out and alcohol is known to interrupt the precious sleep you’ll need.
  4. Keep moving. It’s fun to eat and drink and be merry, but pepper in some exercise whenever possible, even if it’s a short walk around the block. It will be good for stress relief and mental sanity. At the same time, be gentle with yourself. You can just as easily burn yourself out by overexercising by trying to negate the calories you take in. You can fully reinvest in your fitness regimen in January; no need to rush psycho!

Change Your Thinking

The holidays can bring a wide range of emotions both high and low. As fun and joyous as it can be, it can also bring a lot bubbling to the surface unexpectedly. For many reasons, the holidays can be very difficult for some people and even cause a spike in depression. You can adjust your thinking to try to mitigate that.

  1. Manage your expectations. The easiest way to experience disappointment, anger, or resentment, is by setting too many or too high of expectations for other people or upcoming events. Try to catch yourself in the act of creating a narrative for something or someone before it happens, and give yourself a gentle reminder to try to stay in the present and just focus on you.
  2. If you do happen to overdo it at a party and get a little too “lit” as the kids say, don’t spend the entire next day beating yourself up. It’s happened to everyone and while it can be embarrassing, it doesn’t make sense to dwell. Try to figure out how and why it happened and come up with solutions to prevent it next time.

Be Responsible For Yourself

If you’ve ever seen films like The Family Stone and even Love, Actually, you know that the holidays can create a lot of tension as families and friends reunite to celebrate.

  1. Is your uncle a little racist? Does your sister have completely opposing political views to you? Does your stepmom pry into your personal life too much? Set clear boundaries. Without attacking them by saying, “stop it, I can’t deal with you,” try to focus on how it makes you feel. Say, “I hear you or I acknowledge your opinion, but this makes me feel uncomfortable. Can we change the subject?”. Hopefully they respect you, but if not, try to de-escalate by removing yourself from the situation. Go take the dog for a walk or play with the kids. Don’t try to fight with them or tell them they’re wrong because that won’t accomplish anything.
  2. If you need to say no to a party or back out of some other engagement, then do it. Listen to your body and mind. Check in with yourself. Do you feel overwhelmed? Then take a day to just do something that recharges you. Your friends may be a little bummed, but it’s not the end of the world if you can’t make one or two obligations.

I hope these tips help you live your best, moderately healthy life this holiday season. Enjoy responsibly, ya ding dongs!

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