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Dance Through the Holidays: 3 Tools to Help You Navigate a Happy + Healthy Holiday Season

Healthy Holiday Season

November 15, 2021

As a health coach, part of what I do is help clients identify their unique pain points or challenges and create a solution to help them overcome issues with their health. None of us are exactly alike and understanding what makes us tick is crucial when we’re trying to build healthier habits. That said, one of the biggest hurdles for nearly everyone in a health regimen is the winter holiday season. While it is a joyful time of year it can also be stressful, and it’s a season-long minefield of sweets, treats, snacks and drinks that can leave us feeling lethargic going into the new year.

It may or may not surprise you that the second biggest hurdle is the summer season because while the holidays and vacations are less extravagant, they have one thing in common: they disrupt our routine. This is why diets don’t work for folks! Because we struggle to maintain healthy habits when our routines are turned upside down. Guess what, there’s a holiday or life event every month of the year that threatens to disrupt our routine and throw us off our game.Choices Linda Franker

I believe that with support and guidance, you can make it through the holidays and be armed for success in the new year. If you think about what it is you really want for yourself this holiday season — not the tangible newfangled thing — but the way you want to feel about yourself and what you want life to look like? Then you can go into the holidays feeling good about yourself and come out with your light shining brighter than when you went in, with a plan. 

Pictured: "How much I believe in the power of "CHOICES"

Scale Down before YOU Scale Up

I’m not talking about pounds, I am talking about activities, particularly the indulgent ones. If part of the holiday celebration for you is eating abundantly or having that extra glass of wine, then try to make it really special by reducing the amount you enjoy in the days and weeks leading up to the festivities. This is important for several reasons:

First, when you do indulge in having seconds, eating treats or alcoholic drinks, it feels more special because it’s different from your regular Thursday routine.

Second, you won’t require as many calories to reach that sense of celebration! Instead of going from three glasses of wine to five, you’re going from one glass to three, but the sense of indulging is still there.

Holiday parties are coming! As December approaches, we move into marathon mode, trying to fit in all of the people and activities we want to see and do. Suddenly, you’re packing in more rich meals than you planned for, and the practice of scaling back will help you choose the when and where to allot those extra’s.

Scaling down, gives you a low-key chance to practice making healthy choices before the added pressure from peers and the party ambience carries you away. Which brings us to step two …

Empowering Yourself Through Choice

Empowering yourself through choice is one of the primary principles I coach and it starts by acknowledging that our actions and their outcomes are direct results of our choices.

How you view your choices is a question of mindset. Are we denying ourselves the pleasure of a cookie in the now or are we rewarding ourselves with feeling better as our future selves? That’s mindset!

In my experience when we try to deny ourselves by saying we can’t have something, that denying or “no” leads to a negative mindset where we perpetuate feelings of scarcity and a lack of self-worth and we double down by reacting with more poor choices. Switching the mindset to choosing not to have something or having less of it empowers you by putting you in the driver’s seat which gives you a sense of control and confidence.

So, when you’re at the buffet table or the cookie swap, or out for drinks, you can choose to have one indulgence over several or maybe pass on something altogether.

Try making a list of all the things the you love about the holidays and/or things that make you feel good (this should include activities, as well as food/drink). Highlight the ones that are the healthiest and the ones that are the most important and capitalize on those. Do them first and frequently to maintain a good attitude and sense of indulgence. That’s self-empowerment!

Join, Surround or Create a Community of Like-Minded People

Who we spend time with shapes how we see ourselves and influences the choices we make, right?! Ideally, we would all be surrounded by folks who are positive and encourage us to make healthy choices, but we know that’s not often the reality. Maybe the people we work or spend time with don’t care about their health and that’s not going to help you if you do or if you’re wanting to make a change in that direction. But that’s okay!

There are also folks that struggle with isolation or loneliness and this is a hard time of year for them, too. Challenge yourself to find that walking buddy, a Facebook group or a weekly Zoom call with someone who shares your goals and interest. That way you can hold one another accountable through inspiring, validating and energizing one another.

While these tools are really helpful during the months of November and December, they can apply the rest of the year. Remember, there is a holiday or some sort of celebration every month! Anything that pulls us away from our routine is an opportunity for us to backslide on our commitment to our health goals, if and only if we're not already on the lookout and equipped with the right tools, like a self-empowered mindset.

Learn more about Linda’s services and consultation information at coachlindafranker.com.

Whether you’re working from home or in the office, your wellness should be a top priority. Learn more about getting active and keeping tabs on your mental health here.

Linda Franker

Linda Franker is an independent certified health coach. Overweight and fighting MS, she transformed her life through healthy habits and a coaching program that is predictable, sustainable and self-empowering . I've walked it, I live it, I dream it and I coach it.