The holiday season is often a time of celebration with loved ones. However, between busier social calendars, shopping, and hosting (on top of your work and home life), this time can also cause stress for many. Unfortunately, if you are on a health, or weight-loss journey, you may feel additional pressure about how you will stick to your routine and goals.
Managing the holiday season can feel daunting; but focusing on your mindset can help you navigate common situations and obstacles along the way. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the holiday season while keeping your health goals in sight.
Set Realistic Expectations
It’s crucial to acknowledge that your regular routine may be disrupted during the change of seasons and holidays. It is not a normal time of year, so don’t expect things to go the same as they do in other, less busy times of the year. It is how you adjust your routine and mindset to the holiday reality that matters most.
During this time of year, you may not be able to make it to the gym with the same regularity, or what you eat may look a little different. Keep in mind that the journey is not linear, and you may experience ups and downs along the way – particularly as life gets busier. Your mindset is a powerful tool that can help you along the way and as you encounter obstacles. When it comes to the health or weight-loss journey, the ideal thinking style is this: realistic, flexible, and focused on the big picture.
Focus On What You Can Control
So much of the stress at the holidays results from being focused on what we “should” be doing to make it a wonderful time of year, which can make your life chaotic. When you feel like you don’t have control over a situation and it’s causing you stress, try this breathing method:
Planning for these situations can help you feel more in control of your journey.
Embracing Self-Compassion and Gratitude
This is a time of year when we often prioritize other responsibilities – without realizing that we’ve neglected to think about ourselves. It’s important to remember to be kind and understanding to yourself, giving yourself grace along the way.
Maybe you weren’t able to make it to the gym since you wanted to prioritize a holiday gathering with loved ones. Or you didn’t eat exactly as you had planned. Especially when things aren’t going the way you want, notice how you are talking to yourself. Are you treating yourself with kindness? Research shows that treating ourselves with compassion – the same way we would a friend – can increase our motivation to make the choices needed to reach our goals and overcome setbacks.
We can become so busy during this time that we forget to savor the moments that make this time so special. Remember to take time to appreciate and practice gratitude for all the small and big joys during the season. The holidays are a great time to reflect on the positive and good things in life and can help you shift your perspective to focus on the bigger picture.
Enjoying the season and managing your health are not mutually exclusive. Setting realistic expectations, choosing to enjoy special foods, and practicing self-compassion and gratitude are great ways to start!