Post on: December 17, 2019.

Posted in: Read.

Healthy Holiday Tips Worth Indulging In

Holidays are meant for indulging! Indulge in the things that bring you joy in life, from flowers to giggles, to dance moves and gingerbread men. Yes, go and indulge. There are many healthy ways to indulge over the holidays – it can include food too! Here are 7 ways to making this your best, and healthiest holidays ever.

1) Giggle It Up

Indulge in a few jolly, belly-shaking laughs over the holidays. You know that spontaneous laughter that explodes out of your mouth when your sibling sticks their carrots in their nose and pretends to be a walrus? It’s good for you! Researchers have found laughter has positive effects on your body. A good chuckle can reduce anxiety, depression, and lowers cortisol (less stress). Laughing also releases endorphins (feel good hormones), and may even boost immunity. Plus, laughing appears to improve vascular function, according to the American Journal of Cardiology. Whether it’s from pulling out a corny joke, or watching that holiday movie where the squirrel jumps out of the tree, go on and let yourself indulge over the holidays with some good laughs – it just might be the healthiest thing you could do!

Fill up on healthy foods before the treats come out – like a cranberry, raspberry smoothie (or if you’re in a rush grab an apple). You’ll feel great, and not gain weight.

2) Fill Up Your Plate 

Pile all of the goodies on your plate! Yes, you can indulge over the holidays in food. The trick is to avoid going to parties hungry – eat a healthy snack before you go. And, better yet, bring a healthy dish to share to your next festive event. Introduce your friends to new vegetables, such as parsnips, yellow beets or honeynut squash. You could show off your healthy culinary skills by switching the pre-dinner potato chips for a vegetable tray with some new things on it, such as purple radish, candy cane beets or roasted garbanzo beans.

3) Get More Sleep

From the finite concentration required to complete your kitchen knife work, to how many cups of flour you’ve already measured into the bowl, the holidays can require brain power. Don’t get the name of the new girlfriend at the table wrong, indulge in some sleep! Insufficient sleep is common in daily life, but it can become worse during busy times, such as the holidays. Not getting enough sleep can lead to cognitive impairment: trouble with attention and memory. Luckily, one good night sleep can restore your brain, shows studies

4) Beat the Path

The holidays can be exhausting, and despite is sounding contradictory, the best solution is physical exercise. When the pillow just wasn’t right in the bed at the in-laws, indulge in exercise! Just a single bout of exercise can shake off feelings of fatigue! The more you move the more energy you will have, according to researchers at the University of Georgia. You will have more energy and feel less tired if you exercise just 20 minutes (low to moderate exercise), three times per week. So, bundle up and head outside for a walk. Take the whole family with you. There are so many outdoor winter activities that are fun to be had around big holiday meals, from sledding to ice skating. Who wants to build a snowman?

5) Plant one on them

Gorgeous flowers and wintery greenery are perfect ways to indulge over the holidays! Go on and plant one on them. Plants make people feel relaxed, comfortable, and calm. The simple act of touching or smelling plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress, according to researchers.

Plants make the perfect holiday gift, even for that awkward family member. Everyone loves flowers because they help clear the air – literally, that is! Your household aird is cleaner when there’s plants around: houseplants remove up to 87 percent of toxins in the air in just one day, according to NASA researchers. Give a plant – it’s a beautiful way to indulge during the holidays.

Great stocking stuffers are books filled with great tips and recipes on eating healthier (after all of the indulging).

6) Stuff a Stocking with Exercise

One of the healthiest ways you can indulge this holiday season is in some new exercise tools. A 25 pound weight may not work well in a hung stocking but, resistance bands do! Resistance bands are a perfect holiday gift for yourself, and your loved ones. A simple way to work your muscles, improve your posture and strengthen your bones.

When you’re traveling or when the days are busy, try to get your exercise in first thing in the morning. You’ll be more likely to get it in before the day gets away on you.

Don’t taunt me with your “You can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man!”. I will catch you, and I’ll enjoy getting some physical exercise chasing you – it’ll help reduce stress and make me feel happy!

7) Be Groovy and Do the Twist 

Turn up the volume on your favorite holiday tunes, and break out your best dance moves.Dancing can help you feel better. Researchers have noted the positive effects of dancing on over 800 adults with depression in over 80 studies.

In fact, exercising is a great way to boost your mood. If you start to feel a bit like the Grinch, remind yourself that moving your body, whether it’s to dance, run or skate, is a great way to feel jolly.

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Diwali, Christmas or Kwanza may you enjoy health and happiness as you indulge in all the things that bring you joy.

(Love this piece? It was based on content I created for the Pritikin Center. For information about my content writing services, contact me.)


References

Effectiveness of dance movement therapy in treatment of adults with depression: a systematic review with meta-analyses. Front Psychol May 2019.

The effect of a single bout of exercise on energy and fatigue states: a systemic review and meta-analysis. Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health and Behaviour 2013; 1(4).

Plants clean air and water for indoor environment. NASA Technology Transfer Program. 

Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress. J Physiol Anthropol 2015; 34(1): 21.

Plasticity and susceptibility of brain morphometry alterations to insufficient sleep. Front Psychiatry, 27 June 2018.

The laughter prescription: a tool for lifestyle medicine. Am J Lifestyle Med July 2016: 10(4): 263-267.

Effect of mirthful laughter on vascular function. Am J Cardiol 2010 Sep 15; 106(6):856-9.