The few months from December leading up to Chinese New Year can be a whirlwind of family, friends, festivities, and food, and though none of these things are unhealthy or negative on their own, all of them at once can be overwhelming and create some unhealthy habits.
So, how do you survive this holiday season with your sanity, and health, intact? By being aware, conscious, and caring towards your needs.
This goes for anything from self-care to conscious eating. Because even though your usual schedule is out of control, that doesn’t mean your own personal balance and wellness need to be.
Here are the top ten tips that I have for you this holiday season – tips to stay healthy, tips to stay happy, and tips to help you stay in balance all year long.
If you can make it through the stress of the holidays, then you can make it through anything. Team Juicy believes in you, and we’ll be right by your side whenever you need us.
#1 Slow It Down
This actually is a great place to start, both in your eating habits and your life.
In your daily life, take the time each day to just breath, to be still, and to find the calm in the chaos. Breathing. You do it without thinking, but when you actually sit down to think about it, that easy, automatic activity is pretty incredible. With each inhale you’re bringing in fresh oxygen, and with each exhale you’re ridding your body of carbon dioxide, allowing every cell in your body to function and thrive. But the positive effects of breathing go beyond biology. I love the “Relax” function that Fitbit has introduced on Fitbit Versa, Fitbit Charge 3, Fitbit Blaze and Fitbit Ionic, Relax helps you find moments of calm with a personalized guided breathing session based on your heart rate in 2 or 5 minute sessions.
In your eating routines, take the time to slow down and enjoy the food, chew more often, talk more often, and be conscious of when you are just going through the motions. I find that I eat more mindfully when I am around people rather than alone and tend to gorge down my food while looking at my phone.
The holidays can be a busy time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t intentionally slow things down and enjoy the moments you are in. Allow yourself time to breathe – your body and your mind will thank you.
#2 Love Your Hydration
Water is such an essential part to overall health, but often, during the holidays, we forget that our body needs over eight glasses of water a day.
And though we know there is always holiday cocktails, beer or wines floating around those holiday parties, ensuring your body gets the stuff it needs, not just the stuff you want, is imperative to keeping a healthy and well-working system this winter.
If this is a struggle for you, try using a water-app on your phone. This can help remind you with little friendly nudges to drink more of the clear stuff (no, we don’t mean tequila shots).
#3 Let’s Get Physical
Planning even mild physical activities or exercise during your holiday season can be a great way to stay on track while still easing up a bit.
Have all your family over? Go for a walk with your brothers or sisters to catch up without indenting the couch for hours.
Have little cousins, nieces, or nephews? Take them to see the playgrounds and run and play with them. We guarantee that even a short time with the young-at-heart will make your own heart beat better.
#4 Giving Memories is Better Than Giving Gifts
Often our culture gets caught up in the material side of things, but this creates a society of ‘more’ instead of one of gratefulness or reflection.
Now, we aren’t saying you have to burn all the presents, but we do believe that it is healthy and helpful for both you and your family if you focus on experiences, memories, and kindness this holiday season rather than the items you may receive.
#5 Beware of the Holiday Hangover
We actually aren’t talking about alcohol here, though that is an unhealthy byproduct of the season you should also avoid.
What we actually mean is, don’t tire yourself out so much over the holidays that you are weary, burnt-out, or emotionally hungover once the new year begins.
Let’s start off 2019 in a healthy, balanced way, which means we have to listen to our bodies, our needs, and our wellness, and say ‘no’ every once in a while.
5 parties in 7 days? Maybe a no or two is the smart choice for both your physical and mental health.
#6 Keep Temptations At Bay
If there is a certain holiday food you cannot resist, and you know you will binge until you regret your very existence, then we recommend you simply keep it away.
We don’t believe in deprivation or strict calorie counting but we do understand that some food is simply too damaging, and too tempting, to keep in the house, especially during the holidays when some of our balance and control might be wavering. For me, the trigger food are potato chips and cookies, I know I cannot simply stop at 1 serve and end up finishing a whole bag of Red Rock Deli chips before I know it and feel sick afterwards.
This doesn’t mean you have to keep all holiday goodies away, but it does mean considering what foods you have a negative relationship with and keeping those out of sight.
After all, if you aren’t near it, it’s less likely that you’ll eat it.
#7 Prioritize Your Food
The holidays aren’t always the peak of health food in Singapore, and though there are some things we can do to change this junk food culture, such as #6 above, sometimes you cannot choose what is in the room.
When you don’t have the power to ban certain foods from your presence, then, instead, prioritize.
This simply means you should be intentional about what you put on your plate. Do you want to sample the CNY cookies after dinner? Then maybe have fewer sweet and carb-riddled foods on your plate for the main meal.
Do you think you’ll fall prey to the pineapple tarts in an unhealthy manner? Then maybe have some fruits on your dessert plate as well, to curb the number of man-made sweets and instead trade some with nature’s sweets.
This tip really boils down to listening to your body. Are you truly hungry? Are you going to feel good in 30 more minutes? How do you tell if you are really hungry? Say you crave for some love letters and bak kwa, if I gave you an apple, will you eat it? If the answer is no, then you are not really hungry, you are simply craving for it.
The unconscious snacking of foods you don’t even remember, or the constant nibble of whatever is spread before you without really feeling hungry. Just because something is there or when someone offer it to you, it means you have to eat or drink it. Get rid of the automatic things you do, and instead be present, be conscious, and be intentional.
#8 Avoid Drinking Your Calories
This goes for the glasses of alcohol or sweet drinks you don’t really want, The sweetest varieties could contain more sugar than some soft drinks, which have frequently come under fire for containing too much sugar.
For instance, did you know that a 500ml cup of brown sugar boba milk can contain about 92g of sugar, about three times more than the amount of sugar in a 320ml can of Coca-Cola? This was one of the findings in an experiment commissioned by Channel NewsAsia and conducted by students enrolled in the Applied Food Science and Nutrition diploma course at Temasek Polytechnic.
#9 Avoid Emotional & Spiritual Drains
Everyone – we repeat – everyone needs coping skills.
From the most relaxed, laid-back retiree, to the over exuberant 5-year-old, to the stressed-out-of-their-mind O level school student and everyone in between.
And though coping skills during the holiday are important and needed, sometimes the best protection for your mental, emotional, and physical health, is to simply take a break.
If there is a certain holiday party you are dreading, a certain get-together you would rather avoid, or a certain individual you would rather skip – do it.
Your balance, wellbeing, and wholistic health is more important than a 3-hour engagement that will set you back for days, weeks, or longer.
It is okay to say no because you are drained, but it is also okay to say no because you don’t want to say yes.
#10 Keep a Healthy Mindset
Possibly the biggest tip of the group – it isn’t all or nothing.
Black and white thinking like the above will only hurt you this holiday season and Team Juicy wants the exact opposite for you.
If you have a binge meal, feeling guilty and overcompensating for it the next week is not healthy.
If you are too busy and feeling drained, beating yourself up over the scheduling isn’t healthy.
And if you don’t hit the gym or put time aside for yourself for a whole week, it isn’t the end of the world.
Be kind to yourself this holiday season, be caring towards yourself and others, and understand that your wellness is a journey – and if there are some bumps or potholes along the way, that’s okay.
Team Juicy will be here for you before, during, and after the holiday season.