I felt sick. I didn’t have a cold, but I didn’t feel right, either. My head was stuffy. I wasn’t sleeping well. It was terrible timing, too, because I was on vacation with my family over Thanksgiving, and I was looking forward to spending that time, well, NOT being sick. I tried everything: washing all my clothes, having them change my bedding to hypoallergenic sheets. Nothing I tried worked—until I finally returned home to my routine and stopped eating food I shouldn’t have eaten. My food intolerance was the issue, and my body was not happy with me.
Learning how to thrive emotionally during the holidays is a great first step, but it’s not helpful if you don’t care for yourself physically as well. Our body, mind, and spirit are intricately created to work together, so that even if one part is working well, we can feel the repercussions if the others are not. I certainly felt those repercussions for two weeks last year in the Caribbean, instead of feeling normal and healthy. A few dumb decisions about my physical health caused more pain than gain.
So how can you thrive physically during the holidays, especially when there is so much temptation? Here are four ways:
- Eat what you normally eat. I am referring to the amount as well as the actual food itself! Too many times during the holidays we overeat, leaving us feeling sluggish and lethargic. In addition, we tend to eat those things we “normally” don’t eat during the holidays (I’m talking to you, sweets!). Too much of anything our bodies are not used to can us completely out of whack and leave us feeling icky and even sick. So stick to your normal foods and stick to your normal intake amounts!
- Exercise. Even if this means abandoning your normal exercise routine and simply going for a walk once or twice a day, get out and get moving. You can fight lethargy, ease conflict, and sleep better just by moving your body for 15 minutes a day. In addition, your body will thank you for keeping up with your normal routine—OR adding new physical activity to your regimen!
- Sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential, as is resting/napping when you need it. This doesn’t mean napping to escape confrontation or dealing with family; this means napping to recharge your mind and body. Dealing with relatives and the holiday stress can be exhausting; you will be surprised how much easier it is to respond (instead of react!) when you are well rested! In addition, your body loves sleep and often you will find that after a good night’s sleep, you feel thinner!
- Treat yourself a little. Sample each dessert, but don’t take a whole piece. Nibble off of a family member’s plate instead of getting your own plate of desserts. Allow yourself one dessert per day until January 1. Set boundaries and keep them. Indulging that sweet tooth just a bit will help calm your cravings but won’t ruin you completely.
Remember, your body is God’s temple, the house of the Holy Spirit, and He deserves a healthy, satisfied, well-rested place to dwell. When the new year comes, let your resolutions show that you cared for yourself physically this holiday season!
What are some other ways you have learned to thrive physically during the holidays?