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Sugar and Spice and Everything Vice
December is by far one of my favorite months of the year — full of Christmas lights, holiday parties and some of the best food (give me ALL the shortbread cookies)! However, many people know this month can also get packed with personal demands, overcommitted schedules and financial stress. This often can tempt people to lean on different vices to “just make it through” the season. Recognizing your own personal vices, whether it be overdrinking, overeating, lack of sleep and/or remaining sedentary, can help you plan ahead and avoid falling back into any old habits!
Alcoholic beverages and holiday-themed party drinks can definitely be a fun part about the season! However, there may be some gatherings you’d rather not attend and/or conversations you’d rather not have, which can cause some of us to be tempted to drink a little more and “take the edge off.” Try some of the suggestions below to help prevent alcohol from being a means to get through an uncomfortable situation if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed:
- Have a pre-set drink limit before you start drinking
- Alternate alcohol with water to stay hydrated
- Eat before you drink
- Take a breather if you’re feeling stressed or anxious. Make some time for yourself — even if it’s just a quick walk around the block!
When the holidays come around, there are treats and meals that I only get once a year, and you bet your bottom dollar I will enjoy them (Christmas morning cinnamon rolls are already calling my name)! Amidst enjoying these holiday treats, remember that you don’t have to abandon ship on all healthy habits that you’ve worked so hard to maintain over this year! Continue to fuel your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs by eating vegetables, whole grains and protein. It’s good to also be aware of portion sizes and allow yourself 10 minutes in between plates before going back for seconds! This break will give your body time to recognize if it is full and how much capacity you have for more food before you start to overeat.
Of note, the holidays are often when the “Limit Violation Effect” can also come into play. This is when we’ll often say to ourselves “well, I’ve already eaten half of this, I might as well have the whole thing!” When people eat more than what they originally intended to, they’ll just throw in the towel instead of simply stopping. Again, pay attention to your body by recognizing when you’re full. You’ll enjoy food and treats more when you’re not trying to fit as many as possible into your day/week!
Lack of Sleep:
Lack of sleep can lead to feeling tired all the time, preventing you from being fully present with your loved ones during the holiday season. Listen, I get it, presents need wrapped, food needs made and adults need time to unwind when the kids (finally) go to bed. Simply try to prioritize getting six to seven hours of sleep so that you can be rested to celebrate the season with your loved ones! Your attitude and mentality will be refreshed and better because of it.
It’s easy to get a little sedentary around the holidays, especially when the majority of gatherings are centered around sitting down for a good meal, napping and enjoying our favorite holiday movies. Try the listed ways below to naturally increase your activity amidst this busy season (no free weights or treadmills needed)!
- Plan a couple extra laps around the store if you’re doing some last-minute shopping.
- Park further away from entrances to get a few more steps in.
- Go for a group walk after a meal with your family.
- Visit a museum, exhibit or outdoor holiday market.
- Try a seasonal activity if weather allows, like sledding.
Overall, enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones! A few days of enjoying treats, meals, more downtime or a little less sleep will not break you or the habits you have worked on throughout the year! Just make sure to jump back into your routines afterwards. There’s no need to wait until the new year!
About the Author
Organizations are in a constant state of change and the Kinetiq Health team supports them every step of the way. A unique formula of people, processes and technologies enables our team to keep an educated eye on the financial and clinical implications of data to move organizations toward improved financial health and employee well-being.