A Holiday Survival Guide to keep your health (and sanity) intact

This time of year can feel joyous, yet overwhelming. Exciting, and exhausting. It takes intention and effort to allow the former and to create an environment that doesn’t invite the latter. Because yes, you can survive the holidays with your health intact. 

The key is, you must be willing to let go of any notion of perfection, because all-or-nothing will leave you with nothing. You sacrifice health (and sanity) to the whims and requests of the moment. And you wake up January 1 with pants that don’t fit, feeling discouraged and already behind. 

Search my blog title and you’ll find no shortage of healthy holiday ideas. In fact, here’s a really good one with 20 tips! The thing is though, when you’re doing something in the moment that leads you down the road of over-eating or provoking an argument, you know it. Meaning that knowing all the tips doesn’t mean you follow them.

So I’ve created questions to help you set specific standards for the next 30 days and take action on what you know:

What foods will you not eat? 

Think back to prior holidays. What food did you eat because it was “there,” not because you really like it? Or because it was served to you, even though you weren’t hungry? 

What foods will you eat? 

Are there traditional holiday foods that score high (like a 9 or 10 out of 10) on your list of foods you enjoy? How can you incorporate whole, plant-based foods into your meals this month?

What triggered behaviors that you don’t want to repeat this holiday season?

Did you skip workouts, maybe even for several days or weeks? Did you overeat or over-drink? Over-schedule? Why?

survive the holidays with your health intact
Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

Now, let’s create your Holiday Survival Checklist:

  1. Foods you don’t eat. 
  2. Situations in which you choose not to eat. 
  3. Two polite ways to say “no, thank you” when food is offered that you don’t want.
  4. Amount of fruits and vegetables you eat daily.
  5. Glasses of water you drink daily.
  6. Baseline number of sessions/minutes per day/week you exercise/intentionally move.
  7. If you drink alcohol, when and how much you drink.
  8. Minimum number of hours you sleep each night.
  9. Sleep hygiene strategies you use daily.
  10. How frequently you accept social invitations.

So that’s your checklist to survive the holidays with your health intact – and your pants fitting on January 1! Keep it simple and do-able. Once you make your checklist, it should feel good (almost a relief) to have a plan in place and know exactly what to do. 

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