The question of how not to sacrifice your health and fun at the holiday altar may be one you are debating in your head when the holiday season is in full swing. Decorations, celebrations, late nights, all those mince pies, divine meals, lashings of your favourite wine and bubbly, the desserts, the shopping…

But you look at it all and know A) it may be tiring and B) not always good for you. It may feel like the health issue you live with is winning and you will have to sacrifice any fun you were hoping to have. You may be ready to sacrifice your health and do what you want during the holiday season to have fun. Then get back on the straight and narrow come 1st January.

This feels the easiest option and understandably tempting. But you know from previous experience this is not the best thing you can do for yourself. So you may be asking is it possible to have fun and still look after yourself during the holiday season?

Read on to learn how planning for the 4 big F’s of the holiday season means you don’t have to sacrifice your health AND fun this holiday season.

Health and fun this holiday season. B Babcock 2015

Health and fun this holiday season. B Babcock 2015

Planing for the 4 big F’s so you don’t have to sacrifice your health and fun

Planning for these 4 big F’s is key.

  • Fatigue/Pacing
  • Food and drink
  • Family
  • Fun

That way you do not end up reacting to a situation but putting your plan into action. Having to react in the moment deciding what to do can be stressful and so can lead to embracing temptation. That option is often selected as it quickly reduces any stress felt in that moment.

In today’s blog, I am focusing on Fatigue/Pacing and Food & Drink. Next week will be about Family and Fun.

Pacing helps keep fatigue at bay

It’s easy to overdo it during the holiday season. You have your regular day-to-day life and all the trappings that the holidays bring. But you know if you overdo it, you end up missing out on some of the holiday fun. So planning where you want to focus your energies is important.

Firstly, notice where you tend to spend your energy during the holiday season

Ask yourself which activities give you energy or drain it. Focus on those activities which give you the most joy. For those that drain your energy, if they are must-do tasks, find someone else to do it if you can, share the work with someone else, or find a quicker way of doing it. And consider letting go of the un-important, the-world-won’t-end-if-I-don’t-do-them tasks and being comfortable with ‘good enough’. That way you can focus your energy on those things that you enjoy and give you energy.

Are you focusing your attention on those things that give you joy? B Babcock 2015

Are you focusing your attention on those things that give you joy? B Babcock 2015

For example, gift shopping. Plan what you are going to purchase for people. This can start earlier in the year that way if you see it, you can buy it. I enjoy this aspect of the gift giving process. But if I haven’t found the gift by November, spending a long time in the shops at this time of year is not an option. I find it tiring. People have said that online shopping is not putting in the effort in the gift giving process. Sod that idea. Paying someone to wrap and deliver those presents frees up energy which I can focus on other things I really enjoy like planning the menu, cooking and entertaining.

Also think about when celebratory events and meals are taking place.

If you have a say on when they occur, spread them out during the holiday season so they don’t occur all on the same days. This can increase your chances of being able to take part in more events. Also consider the time of day events occur. It’s possible to do a celebratory breakfast or brunch if mornings are a better time for you. And make sure to schedule some down-time after these events and meals to give your body a chance to recuperate.

Eat and drink well

Once you know when get togethers with friends and meals will take place, start thinking about when you are going to treat yourself and how much. Nurses and dieticians have said to me that treats are ok. 100% abstaining from treats all of the time is no fun, can create stress in itself and lead to bingeing (hence why most diets and weight loss follow a boom and bust cycle).

But let’s not use ‘treating oneself is ok’ to actually turn into a constant stream of treats. Here is a way I think about it. If you have favourite things you do not have often like red meat, chocolate and wine, think of each as a treat bowl. Consider how many of your treat bowls you are carrying around with yourself at any one time and how often you are dipping into them.

So at a special meal, there may be beef, a lush red wine and chocolate. It’s ok to have them all in an evening, but be mindful of how much of each you are having. Plan ahead what you will have, i.e. I’ll stick to one portion of beef, two glasses of red wine, and I will have the chocolate dessert. The next day might be a day off for the treat bowls.

Keep in mind though, that if you have other treat bowls and are dipping into various treat bowls every single day, then you might have ended up unpacking and living in the land of temptation.

Remember to pace your treat bowls.

Treats are ok in moderation. B Babcock 2015

Treats are ok in moderation. B Babcock 2015

What’s it like for you?

If you are living with a challenging health issue or are caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

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© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2015

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