16 Ways to Have a Healthier December – Part 2

Healthier December

 

Last week I shared the first 8 ways to have a healthier December, which included tips on how to maintain a healthy body during the crazy festive season which is now well and truly upon us!

Today I’m going to delve a little bit deeper, because being healthy and feeling vibrant, full of life and happy involves so much more than just our physical bodies

As I talked about in the first part of this post, Christmas can bring up all sorts of emotions in people. The media portray it as the happiest time of the year, but the reality is it can be lonely, isolating, stressful or anxiety-provoking for many people, particularly for those who aren’t surrounded by support network of family or friends or have emotional eating issues or a negative relationship with food. The abundance of food and over-eating that often comes with Christmas can also lead to feelings of shame and guilt for many of the women I speak to. So here are a few tips for keeping a healthy and positive mindset over the coming weeks.

Tips For a Healthy December Mind:
9

Listen to your Body

Tuning into your body can be a very powerful way to overcome emotional eating.

Because this is such an emotionally charged time of year it can be common for women to start having intense cravings for chocolate or ice-cream or (insert food of choice here), because they are feeling sad or unhappy or anxious about things that are going on in their family, in their lives or even it their own head. Maybe you’re feel anxious about attending social events? Or you’re dreading dealing with family dynamics you don’t have to deal with for the rest of the year? Or you’re overwhelmed at how much you have to get done before the office closes?

When you’re craving unhealthy foods, stop and reflect on why you’re craving them. Are you actually hungry for food or something else? Tune into your body and feel into what you need in that moment. Usually it’s not food. And once you know your triggers, you can prepare for them:  Create a list of things to do instead of eating when you start to feel that way, like going for a walk, calling a friend or playing with the dog. Usually a simple distraction will allow the craving to pass, and by simply identifying the reason behind the craving it will have less power over you.

10
Savour the Treats – Eat Mindfully!

If you indulge this Christmas, make sure you enjoy each and every bite. For years every time I’d eat something ‘bad’, I’d chow it down as quickly as possible so I could pretend it never happened! Seriously! But now I consciously take my time when I eat, particularly if it’s something I don’t eat often. I feel the texture of the food on my tongue, enjoy how it smells and savour the taste of every bite. This is known as mindful eating and it can have a profound impact of your health (and even help you lose weight). I even wrote a whole blog post all about it! So when you’re reaching for that Christmas treat, engage your mind too and make sure you truly enjoy and experience the food. That way you’ll feel more satisfied and less likely to go for seconds!

11

Be kind to yourself – you’re listening

Don’t beat yourself up for choices you make or make yourself feel guilty if you ‘fall off the wagon’ so to speak. I talk to so many women who think restriction, deprivation, punishment and being hard on themselves is the only way to lose weight or get anywhere when it comes to changing their diet or lifestyle habits. It’s not! Being kind to yourself and practicing self compassion is the key to making lasting changes in your life.

Try thinking about how you would speak to a friend if she came to you in that moment. I’m sure you wouldn’t tell her she’s a weak, fat, cow with no self control, would you! I also like to visualize a whopping great big stop sign swing down in front of my face when my mind starts on the self-criticism. It really works to snap me out of that downward spiral of negativity.

Tips For a Healthy December Soul:

12

Fill up on things other than food

Think about the things you crave at this time of year – on an emotional level. Is it simplicity? Is it quiet, alone time? Is it stress-release? Companionship? By dedicating time and energy to these things you’ll feel happier and more centred during this busy time, and less likely to turn to food to fill the void, stress or frustration you’re feeling.

13

Find Balance

Life is all about balance, and planning your approach to the festive season shouldn’t be any different. It’s a time of indulgence and eating more the normal, so maintaining other healthy habits to balance out the increase in food is a good idea.

Prioritise and schedule time for exercise which will fire-up your metabolism, decrease stress and boost serotonin (the feel-good hormone), and make a conscious effort to include time for meditation (or just alone time) and self-care each day. Do something just for you – because this will make you a better wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister and mother for everyone else.

I also like to plan for a gentle detox program in January to get my body back in balance after a period of indulgence.
 

14

Feed your soul instead!

If you’re catching up with family and friends, take the lead to organize it and suggest something that doesn’t revolve around food or alcohol. It’ll probably make for a nice change for everyone. Consider planning something that balances the frantic energy of this time of year like a beach walk, a stroll through the Christmas night markets, have a Christmas movie night or even host a party to make Christmas decorations with the kids!

15

Give back

With the hustle and bustle of buying presents, food shopping, entertaining and socialising we can forget how fortunate we actually are to be able to enjoy a Christmas dinner and a stack of presents under the tree. Many families aren’t so lucky. December is an incredibly generous time to support those families that are less fortunate – everyone deserves to have a happy Christmas. Consider donating to one of the many christmas appeals out there and give the gift of a happy Christmas to a family in need. Or if you’re stuck for present ideas in your family because you have everything you need, suggest you donate to a charity on each others behalf (this cool site  lets you to create customised gift cards to a charity of your choice). There are also many organisations that offer charity gift cards that will provide education, food, clean water and other life-changing essentials to people living in poverty around the world.

16

Reconnect

As humans, connection is extremely important for our wellbeing, and this time of year is such a good time to reconnect with people you might not have seen for a while. Life is busy, and I’m not sure about you, but this year feels like it’s flown by at warped speed! Use this opportunity to reach out and share what’s happening in your life and what’s going well for you. This in itself is a great way to practice gratitude and reflect on what you’ve achieved and experienced over the year. Bonus points for going old-school and writing and sending real, hard copy, personalised xmas cards!

And those are my 16 tips to have a healthier mind, body and soul this December! I hope you found some useful ideas to incorporate into your life, and I wish you and your family and wonderful, safe and healthy Christmas.

With love,

taryn-sig-gray3

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