I am frequently asked for tips on how to get through this time of year without the self-abuse of over eating and over drinking. Here are a couple of ideas to help you through:
Reserve time each day just for yourself. Along with the hustle and bustle of holiday time come extra tasks that compete for your time and energy – decorating, baking, choosing, buying and wrapping presents, writing thoughtful cards to friends and loved ones, etc. We may find ourselves rushing around taking care of everyone and everything but ourselves. We each need to find a way to make time for ourselves. If we don’t, we become overtired, overwhelmed and consequently likely to over-feed ourselves as a way to cope with holiday stress.
If we set aside moments here and there to nurture ourselves, we are far more likely to take care of ourselves in healthy ways all season long. When we take the very best care of ourselves, we are better equipped to attend to the needs of those around us. We are more relaxed, more balanced and more energetic. Holiday time can be more fun and less like an exhausting commercial marathon.
When you attend a holiday party, allow yourself to eat some healthy protein, fat and complex carbohydrates beforehand to avoid arriving with your appetite in overdrive. Sip on water with lemon and steer yourself towards the healthier choices at the buffet table. As a result you will be less apt to fill yourself with sugars and simple carbohydrates. And remember that alcohol is basically sugar. It is different however, because not only does it tend to spark sugar cravings but it also removes inhibitions and hampers good judgment. When you drink, you care less whether something is a self-loving choice and are liable to binge your way mindlessly through the evening. And you already know how that feels.
One strategy many of my clients have found helpful is this: Write a reminder note to yourself on a small card that you can carry in your pocket or purse. On this card you might say something like, “Reminder to self: Breathe. I am making self-loving choices tonight. I choose to feed myself well. I will not give my power away to unhealthy foods and drinks. I deserve to nurture myself.” Then every hour or so, take a little break and find a quiet spot. (Restrooms are ideal.) Pull out your card and read the reminders. This practice will keep you in balance and you will arrive home at the end of the night feeling relaxed and powerful instead of ashamed, guilty and physically ill.
So please enjoy the spirit of this time of year. Do only what you truly want to do and decline needless chores, chaos and calories. Make this the best holiday season ever by taking the very best care of yourself. Keep yourself number one. You’re worth it!
Warmly, Dr. Denise