What would the holidays be without the tradition and traditional goodies?
In a word, BORING!
You know what else is boring? The endless stream of messages about surviving the holidays by saying “no” to the once-a-year goodies and festivities if it means we fall off our routines.
At our age, we know that too much of a good thing is a good thing.
Where it all goes wrong is when the sirens of all things holiday result in…
- Sugar shock,
- Stresspression, and
Yeah, I made up a word, we’ll get to that in a moment.
This is not the only time in our lives we are called to excess, but it’s the poster child for it. And just in case you think it’s easier for me to curb my enthusiasm around pecan diamonds, extra wine, and lazy days after late nights, you would be wrong.
But that feeling like crap thing after too many days of abandon is so not fun. Over the years I’ve figured out how to balance my holiday excess with a few simple tricks.
You can’t do or eat it all without burning out.
Tip: Plan what’s most important and make sure you get to enjoy those things.
Ask yourself this, what is/are the most important things for me to experience this season?
Those become the things you intentionally find the time for.
For me, baking my signature Christmas treat, Pecan Diamonds from my alma mater The Culinary Institute of America and shipping them to friends near and far feeds my soul.
So do food with family and friends, handwriting cards, and decorating the tree with my husband, English rocking carols playing, and bubbly wine in hand.
Imagine how you want to feel throughout the final few weeks of the year and make decisions from there about what you will or won’t do.
Tip: Be present.
Give yourself the gift of experiencing the next few weeks fully.
Savor the sounds and smells.
Share a meal, a glass of bubbles, or your last crab puff, and savor your time together as well as the treats.
Why? Because the holidays can mean more get-togethers but less time to connect. A month of drive-by type of human interaction can starve the soul. (Introverts excepted. I see you)
To boot, at this time of year emotional energies run high, whether it’s elation and excitement, love and joy, or sadness and resentment that your holiday doesn’t look the way you think it should.
It’s a stress-related kind of depression. You’re not clinically depressed. More like a malaise seeps in. Often a state brought on by a combination of holiday feels and how we talk to ourselves about it all.
Remember that at any time, you can go inside and find peace and the truth. The truth is if you choose (as much as possible) what you want to do and to feel at this time of year, you are more likely to arrive on the doorstep of 2023 with a grateful heart and mind full of good memories.
Now for the lifestyle piece. (You knew it was coming, right?)
This is not the newsletter if you are looking for:
- Crudité not canapes
- Another jog instead of the nog
- Fill your plate with 80% vegetables and skip all the yummy holiday fare.
Where’s the Rebellious in that?!
However, excess in moderation doesn’t mean throwing the whole age-better thing out the window.
Do not dispense with something you love to do/eat/drink out of guilt, fear of calories, or because some diet guru told you to “Just Say No”. Plan for those things and celebrate every morsel.
Tip: Bring awareness to how much the extra food etc is adding to your days.
The average person consumes an extra 300 – 600 calories per day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s day. That translates into 3 to 6 pounds of mostly belly fat in that time.
Why do I want you to consider the calories when I usually say don’t count them? Because most things holiday and festive are calorie-dense. Eggnog has about 400 calories per cup, mixed nuts will give you that in just half a cup. Find out what the calorie count of the foods you most want to eat is, or just assume it’s high then eat clean around those splurges.
And keep the words sugar shock in mind when faced with a dessert buffet or Venti chestnut latte is calling. It’s not the one-off that’s dangerous. With 3 weeks left til the end of the year, we can put a hurting on our systems that will take some time to recover from.
Tip: Skip the same old same old stuff.
Eat what you can’t get the rest of the year and skip the rest. Potato chips and dip are not a once a year thing, but treats like eggnog, certain pastries, gingerbread lattes, will only be here for this season. Use your splurges for the once-a-year goodies.
Tip: Savor the foods in front of you.
Our sense of smell plays a big role in our enjoyment of food. Mostly these days we are in such a hurry that we don’t stop and smell the turkey or toffee, never mind the roses. Breathe it in and take one bite and really experience the flavors as they hit your tongue.
Tip: Drink Smart.
If alcohol is a part of your festivities, beware the frozen drinks, the drinks with chocolate syrup, or mixes — they are sugar bombs and headaches waiting to happen. So is cheap wine (some parties just be like that) and mixing types of alcohol. Do I sound experienced? I am.
There are two lifestyle pieces that are critical at this time of excess; exercise and sleep. Make them your non-negotiables. Yes, I know it’s probably the hardest time to get them both in, but they make everything else manageable.
And buffer you against the many bugs floating around.
Your sleep determines how you look, your mood, and how mad your cravings get. Lack of sleep also contributes to belly fat. Exercise keeps us sane, reduces stress, and the stress-pression. Emotion is energy in motion and when we are in motion our energy moves through us. It’s easier to release the gunk.
The commitment to do it even when it’s busy like this signals our subconscious that this is how we do life.
Here’s my final tip.
Enjoy this time in whatever way feels good to you in an excess in moderation kind of way. Mindful, grateful, enthusiastically taking it all in and celebrating that we get to.
We’re still here.