I can’t believe it’s the end of the year already, how time has flown! During this time of year, I approach my health a little differently. And so I wanted to share some of my feel-good health tips with you.
If you’re health-conscious, this time of year can be challenging. You can be used to having a routine during the year, and it can get out of sync during the holidays. Or you may be working on eating healthier, and the thought of holiday feasts and bad habits creeping in can stress you out. You may like to exercise and keep fit, and during this time of year, you may find yourself too busy or distracted to get your workouts in and maintain that routine. This time of year can even stress you out, where you’re spinning around trying to do a lot, and burning yourself out a bit.
Whatever it is – be it’s finishing up a ton of work before the year closes or tending to many family events – this time of the year can be challenging for many.
And so, I wanted to share some tips that I use to keep myself feeling good and making the most of this time of year! I hope that they offer you as much value as they do for me!
Enjoy slowing down and enjoy this season of the year
There are different seasons in our lives and in the year. And during this time of the year, we’re invited to wind down.
There may be lots you still want to do, but I encourage you to enjoy slowing down. Let go of some of the things on your todo list, and create more space in your upcoming days. You can use this space to sleep in, garden, read, or spend time with family. You can keep the time free and just follow what feels good.
Having this extra space in your life during this time of the year is wonderful. It gives you a chance to activate relaxation in your life, and it gives you the chance to follow your inspiration and what feels good.
When the new year kicks off, the energy is different – It’s more of a season to go-go-go. So, before that new beginning, let yourself wind down, recharge your energy, and spend time relaxing and nourishing yourself.
It’s time to give yourself permission to slow down
Don’t be so hard on yourself about food
Food can be an issue during the holidays, especially with festive feasts and treats!
If you’re usually critical of yourself about what you eat, now is the time to set an intention to let yourself off the hook a bit and show yourself compassion. This is a time of year to celebrate, be festive, and even indulge a bit! So enjoy your festive season, and enjoy the foods you love!
Of course, you don’t need to go completely off the rails. You can still create some balance, but approach it with love and compassion.
Here are some tips that I use:
Focus on quality over quantity. When it comes to foods that I consider indulgent, I always focus on eating really good quality. For example, if I get cookies or chocolate, I go for the best quality I can find.
Look for healthier options. I also always try to lean towards healthier options. For example, when it comes to chocolate, I’ll choose darker chocolate with the least amount of added sugars (check the nutritional label on the pack). Even with items like bread, I’ll go for whole-grain without added sugars, instead of white.
Practice mindful eating. When I indulge, I practice eating mindfully. Instead of inhaling an entire chocolate bar, I really try to enjoy the moment, savouring each bite. This helps me maintain healthier habits, and instead of waffling down an entire pack of cookies in one go, I’m able to have them over a period of days. This prevents me from causing crazy sugar spikes, energy drops and getting into unhealthy up-down eating habits.
If necessary, have 1 or 2 deal-breakers. There are certain foods or drinks that you may know make you feel terrible. You can set the intention to avoid 1 or 2 specific foods that you know you just shouldn’t eat. And then you can let yourself off the hook with others. An example: Gluten may make you feel terrible, so you could have this as a definite no-go during the holidays. However, you may decide that enjoying a glass of red wine and chocolate is something you’re going to indulge in over the holidays because you love it and it doesn’t give you side effects like gluten. This was a tip I got a while back, and it is really helpful – having those ‘deal-breaker no-go foods’ you don’t go near, and then having other tasty treats you enjoy with festive spirit. For me personally, during the holidays, one of my deal-breakers is alcohol – I know that it makes me feel terrible, so I generally don’t go near it, except for maybe 1 drink on new years. However, I do enjoy indulging in foods like pastries and chocolates! Work out what works for you.
Keep returning to balance and feeling good. When I’ve over-indulged, especially in foods with sugars, I can feel it – I can feel tired, bloated, have indigestion, cramps and constant cravings. When I feel any of these, I make an intentional effort to do something that brings me back into balance. Some of the activities include: Not eating processed sugary foods for a day, drinking lots of water, having a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of warm or cold water, doing a lovely long slow yoga routine, or going for a walk. Sometimes I’ll also not eat from about 6 or 7pm in the evenings, to give my body a break from food. By making an effort to do one thing to realign yourself, you can keep bringing yourself back into more balance and feeling good.
Look for other ways to move your body
During the holidays, especially if you’re travelling or with family, your typical exercise routine can get out of sync.
Instead of feeling frustrated that you can’t maintain exercise, open your mind to other forms of movement that can work better during this time.
‘Exercise’ is such a hard word, and to me, it doesn’t fit with this winding down part of the year. Instead, focus on ‘movement’ – a much softer nourishing word, don’t you think?
What movement can you do during this time of year that feels good? Perhaps it’s a daily walk, solo or with a family member or friend? Or it could be taking the dogs for a walk, playing with your kids, spending more time out in the garden, dancing or even hula hooping!
Movement is so important for our health and wellbeing. So I encourage you to look for other ways to bring it into your life during this time of the year. Instead of the traditional exercise, how can you move your body in relaxing or fun ways?
Embrace human connection
This year has been so tough for many, especially in terms of being in lockdown and feeling more isolated.
Whether you can visit family or friends or not, take the time to connect with others. Whether it’s in person or online, take the time to connect with the ones you love. Have long, juicy, meaningful conversations. Practice listening and really connect.
When it comes to health, a lot of time is spent focused on food and fitness. But, when you take a truly holistic approach to health, you realise the importance of human connection. It truly is food for the soul, and this is the time to fill up on this form of nourishment!
There is a quote I often share, taken from a fabulous book called Peak Performance:
What is the difference between The Best and The Rest? THE REST!
The book is about peak performers (like successful athletes) and talks about how they know the importance of rest. It’s unsustainable to go-go-go and keep going. You need time to rest and recharge.
Every day, we are invited to wind down at the end and then sleep, so that we can rest and recharge for the next day. And every year, we are invited to wind down at the end of the year, so that we can rest and recharge for the new year.
So this is the time to really prioritise your self-care.
I encourage you to make a list of self-care activities that you can do during the next 2 weeks (and beyond!) that help you feel relaxed and happy. And then make time for them.
It could be having a candlelit bath with essential oils, sleeping in, spending time outside, going for a massage, curling up with a pot of your favourite tea and a good book,… The question is: What do you need to feel good?
Are you inspired to enjoy this season in a slow and mindful way?
I hope that this list has offered you some food for thought, and some suggestions that you can take with you into the last few weeks of the year.
This is a wonderful time of year to slow down and show yourself lots of love and compassion as you wind down. It’s the time to feel good about yourself and everything you’ve achieved this year and to really take time to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures.
2021 is going to be a fantastic productive year, but for now, this is the time to reellaaxxxxxxxxx 🙂
Let me know in the comments which of the above you’re going to try, I’d love to know!
Wishing you a very happy end of the year!
xoxo Keep Shining