The holiday season is a wonderful chance to spend time with family, relax, and recharge.
For many of us, the holiday season is stressful and exhausting, not to mention how it derails our good eating habits. In truth, the holidays can really a time to overdo and overeat. Here is our Holiday Survival Guide to keep your energy up, your health goals in focus, and your digestion calm.
Prioritize and Practice Saying ‘no’
The truth is, you don’t need to do it all. That’s a tough lesson for many of us, especially those with children who have social lives of their own. Be reasonable about what you and your family can do this holiday season and only say ‘yes’ to the social outings and projects that feel energizing and exciting to you. True, true there are some unavoidable social obligations, but not nearly as many as we think there are.
Declining invitations means there’s more time to shop for holiday gifts and bake cookies, right? Wrong. Saying ‘no’ opens room in your social calendar for quiet, me-time. Schedule time for yoga, baths, and books – whatever replenishes you.
Breathe just a little bit deeper
Stress and anxiety restrict breath to our upper chest, which in turn contributes to stress and anxiety. Nice cycle, eh? Shallow breathing also results in shoulder and neck tension, headaches, and jaw pain. So quit it! Spend a few moments every day focusing on your breath, breathing deeply into your belly to sooth your nerves and calm your mind.
Belly breathing also eases indigestion – a common symptom of holiday indulgence. The diaphragm sits below our lungs and above our digestive organs. When we inhale, our diaphragm stretches downward compressing and massaging the digestive tract.
Here are a few other tools to prevent and sooth digestive woes:
- Prevent overeating – and the gas and bloating that accompanies it – by serving yourself on a smaller plate. As a culture we love the Clean Plate Club, but overeating really isn’t that cool.
- Be careful not to overindulge on things that you don't normally eat. If you follow a Paleo diet or have food intolerances, maintain your eating plan through the holidays to the best of your abilities. Don’t hesitate to ask family and friends to accommodate your special diet needs – most hosts prefer to prepare foods you’ll actually eat and enjoy!
- Travel prepared. If you know you are going to have trouble saying ‘no’ to that delicious bread but you have trouble with gluten, pack enzymes that will help you digest the gluten (this is not a solution for anyone with Celiac Disease). Look for digestive enzymes that contain DPPIV.
- Other treatments for digestive woes:
Heartburn: Rhizinate chews by Integrative Therapeutics. These licorice chews soothe your irritated esophagus.
Heavy, full, bloated feeling: A splash of apple cider vinegar in water. Add it to warm water as a tea if you desire.
Gas: Gas and Bloating tea by Gaia Herbs
Constipation/diarrhea: Probiotics help regulate your bowel movements by adding the good bacteria your GI requires. Make sure to bring your daily probiotics with you on your holiday.
Jesse Haas, CNS, LN is a licensed functional nutritionist and certified health coach. She was a founding partner of Wellness Minneapolis and was an active practitioner with the clinic from 2014-2022. To connect with her regarding functional nutrition and health coaching services, please follow this link.