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The holiday season can become a difficult time of year to keep up with maintaining our healthy habits. When we have a routine of specific habits that encourage us to eat well, be active, drink water, and get the sleep we need, it helps us to manage other areas of our lives. With holidays, our routine often goes out the window so to speak. So how can you keep up with those healthy habits during the holidays?
There is plenty of time between now and the end of the year to really get those habits ingrained to encourage you to stay on track. It is not horrible to take a short break from those habits as long as you jump right back on board. Sometimes, when we are taking a longer break due to vacation or some other circumstance, it can be hard to get back on track.
Here are some things you can work on leading up to the holidays so they are second nature and easier to do.
Get plenty of sleep.
Having a set bedtime and wake up time is crucial for adults as well as kids. We manage our day better and make better choices when we have been well rested. Studies show that many people need at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night for our body to rest and recover. Fewer people need 6 hours or less as well as a few that need 9 or more. If you noticed, these are increments of 1.5 hours. Our sleep cycles are roughly 90 minutes long. If we wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle, we may not feel rested. This sleep calculator can help you see what time you should be in bed if you have a specific time to get up, but can also be used in reverse. It is important to strive for the same wake up and bedtimes as our bodies work best when synced to a specific bedtime and wakeup time.
Work on the bookends of your day.
Beginning your day and ending your day is more in your control than the middle of the day. The middle is often controlled by our work environment when we work.Having a morning routine that just happens because we have a specific routine can help us not need to make a lot of decisions.
The fewer decisions you need to make in the morning the better. To make your morning go smoother, start the night before. Pack your bag for the gym. Pack your lunch so you just need to grab it. Have your clothes laid out. Gather any papers, etc that you need to take to work. These go for the kids, too. Doing these things lowers the risk of forgetting something.
Think about the morning so you can consider one or two items that you can start to implement into your usual routine. It will take a few days to make it second nature.
When you are finishing up dinner, pack your lunch with leftovers, if you have some. Otherwise, decide what goes in tomorrow’s lunch the night before to make it a grab and go. Having vegetables and fruit ready to pack helps. Let the kids get involved so it takes less time.
Start your bedtime routine shortly after dinner so you can wind down. Consider lowering the lights, turning off electronics and that includes the tv. When we are busy watching these things, our brain thinks we should still be awake, not preparing for sleep.
Plan a few healthy meals for the week.
Planning a few healthy meals that you feel good about allows you to control the ingredients. They don’t have to be fancy. They can be slow cooker meals, in the Instant Pot, stove top, or a sheet pan meal. When you know you will be attending gatherings and holiday meals, it can be easy to not continue eating as healthy as we should which can impact how we feel overall. Encouraging the whole family to sit down to dinner together when possible allows everyone to catch up with each other, too. This article gives you some tips for meal planning as well as some tools to help.
You may find as your family gets older, those meals together are tougher to do since everyone has a different schedule. Even if you can get together once a month, it helps. Having something prepared for when people come home, can make it easier if there are various times that you can eat. Having a floating dinner is sometimes what works best for us when my kiddos come home from work at different times. I let them know I am cooking dinner so they are less likely to stop to grab something.
Block some downtime
Look at your calendar to block off days where you need some downtime and give yourself permission to say no. When you say no, it allows you to say yes to items that are important to you, including recovering from too many activities. Determine what your most important events are, but be sure to schedule some breathing room so you don’t feel overwhelmed. You do not have to explain yourself. You can just say you already have plans.
Be sure to check my resource library for helpful information and downloads to encourage you. I will be adding more resources over the coming weeks.
What will you do first?