Did you know that 75% of all weight gained throughout the year is gained during the holidays (and the average amount gained is between 7-14 pounds)?
And, ⅔ of people say they look forward to the holidays, but when asked once the season is over say they didn’t get to do the things they were looking forward to because they were stressed out over too many events, too many gifts to buy, and too many commitments.
How would you like to finish the holiday season without having to squeeze into your pants after indulging in too much of grandma’s famous fruitcake (Does anyone really eat fruitcake)?
Or how about having the time and presence of mind to witness the joy of the season without running from place to place?
This year, you can actually enjoy the holidays and all they have to offer without feeling frazzled and needing to let out a notch on your belt!
I’ve partnered with my good friend and Life Simplification Specialist Stephanie Sikora of Life Made Simple to keep you from overdoing it this season and finding more balance throughout the holidays.
Top 5 Ways We “Overdo it” During the Holidays and Get Out of Balance
After some research and surveying friends as well as clients, we’ve determined there are five main ways that most people overdo it during the holidays.
We’ve come up with some health and organizational tips to help you enjoy a more balanced season.
#1 – No need to overindulge! You can enjoy holiday treats without feeling like an unsupervised kid in a candy store.
- Health tip: Pause before you eat and ask yourself what it is you really want. If onion dip is your favorite, plan to enjoy that at the holiday event. Then, stop when you are satisfied. More is not better in this situation. Also, honor your hunger. Starving yourself all day so you can splurge later just doesn’t work and leads to consuming more calories and fat.
- Organizational tip: Try to keep your kitchen clean and countertops clear. Research on eating habits shows that those with clear kitchens participate in mindless eating less often than those with cluttered kitchens. Take time each day to get rid of papers or other items that might be accumulating in your kitchen.
#2 – Don’t become over-sedentary: keep your commitment to exercise!
- Health tip: Look ahead and plan even small amounts of time for activity. It might not look the same that it normally does during the rest of the year. That’s okay. The important thing is that you are making time to be active. Not only does this allow you to eat treats without the guilt, but it burns off stress. For example, go for a walk at Aunt Millie’s…not only will you get exercise, you’ll get out of a house that smells like mothballs and is full of family talking about politics!
- Organizational tip: Chaos around us, especially in our environment, triggers a stress response in our brain. This stress response shuts off the part of our brain that allows us to stay focused, optimistic, and disciplined. Keeping things simple around us and having good systems can help you to keep things on track. Think about your environment – are things a little chaotic? If so, clean off a counter or better yet, have a system for keeping your counter clear. You will find that you stay focused on fitness even during the holidays.
#3 – Instead of over-scheduling, have time to truly enjoy what matters most.
- Health tip: Talk to everyone in your immediate family to figure out which events or activities they enjoy most throughout the holiday. Set priorities based on these values. Next, schedule time for other activities including down time, personal time, and family time. By having the most important things already scheduled, you can let go of the guilt from turning down other invitations.
- Organizational tip: Clutter can also occur in your calendar. This triggers stress! Clear your cluttered calendar by setting some boundaries or a system to run your invites through. Be okay with saying no or combine events if possible to help avoid clutter in your calendar.
#4 – No more overcommitting! Keep a handle on expectations of yourself and those around you.
- Health tip: Be realistic about your commitments before you make them. For example, when asked to make a pie for your kid’s classroom, ask yourself “Do I really have capacity for this?” or determine if there’s a different way to meet the need. Many times, we feel pressure to show up in a way that isn’t consistent with our values. In this case, instead of making a pie, volunteer to lead a game of Simon Says during the holiday party. This way, there is no prep involved, the kiddos aren’t all hopped-up on sugar, and you are getting to experience the activity along with them.
- Organizational tip: Keeping things clear in your home and environment can help you to be more aware of what you are committing to and when things are too much. And – don’t worry about what your organizational system looks like to others. As long as it is working for you and makes your home feel clear and less chaotic, it doesn’t matter what others think.
#5 – Resist the temptation to overspend and opt for more intentional spending.
- Health tip: Focus on experiences over things. Research shows that those who spend more often on experiences vs. things have less financial stress and worry. They also enjoy the experiences more and for longer than material items. Think of experiential gifts you’d like to give as well as receive to make it easy.
- Organizational tip: Do an inventory before you purchase. Keep a simplistic mindset: you don’t have to go over the top just because it is the holidays! Also, be aware of what you have already stashed away. Create a good system to store gifts you buy during the year so you don’t duplicate efforts (and waste money). Lastly, be okay with not buying a present if it’s not necessary.
Doing things differently can be tough!
We know how hard this season can be when it comes to sticking to a plan or doing things differently, so we want to offer support and accountability to have the balanced holiday you want.
This is not about doing more: it is about taking things off your plate or simplifying things to avoid overdoing it.