Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Create a New Mindset for the Holidays

Can you envision a holiday season that is enjoyable and relatively stress-free and doesn’t leave you tired and carrying more weight than you started with? It is possible! Set an intention for the kind of holiday you’d like to have this year. As you move through December, examine your old traditions, habits, and beliefs, and see where you’d benefit from adopting new ones.

Begin by considering when the holiday season starts for you. Did it start at Halloween? Will it continue past January 1? What triggers the start for you – Thanksgiving, the day you put up your Christmas tree or other holiday decorations, or something else? If possible, begin your celebrating later in season; for example, bake holiday treats closer to the actual holiday. When do you consider the holiday to be over – when the special food is gone? If so, make less food and end the holiday earlier than you have in the past.

A successful strategy for many people is to avoid thinking of the holidays as one long season; rather, manage the season by going from event to event. In between events, stick to your routines as much as possible, and conduct yourself the way you would any other of time year. Eat regular, balanced meals; be active; sleep 7—8 hours a night; and take care of your health.

Another effective strategy is to set goals for yourself around how you want to handle managing your weight, incorporating exercise, managing your time, and minimizing stress. Take the time to consciously think about these areas, and set an intention in each area. Finally, during the holidays, avoid all or nothing thinking. Remember that ten minutes of exercise is better than no exercise and one hors d’oeuvres is better than five (and better than none if skipping them leaves you feeling deprived.) Aim for balance and moderation to maximize your enjoyment of the season.

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