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Holiday 2020 Survival

We are bound to have the most bizarre holiday season, for sure! This year, we not only have to think about staying healthy and maintaining our weight, we also have to think about our mental health. This is a different kind of holiday season that is going to take some creativity to make a success. This is actually the perfect opportunity to remember that holidays are not about huge meals and overindulgence of baked goods and unnecessary gifts. The holidays are about bringing light and love to the darkest time of the year. Spread your love far and wide this year. Since we can’t be together in person, we will have to make extra effort to connect with each other.

Let’s start with weight.

If you are overweight, the time is NOW to lose your excess pounds. Unless you have been gleefully off-grid, you know that being overweight is a major risk factor for having a more serious COVID-19 infection. If the normal health concerns, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are not scary enough to motivate you to lose weight, maybe COVID will be.

You may think that the holiday season is no time to deprive yourself of yummy holiday treats, but I will argue contrary to this point. This year, without all of the social pressure, is actually the perfect time to discipline yourself. You (hopefully) are staying home and not being social, which means less access to, or need to bake, all those holiday party treats that are oh so tempting. Take advantage of this time at home, without much social interaction, to be strict in your eating habits and to make only the healthiest food choices. 

If you are celebrating with a core family group this year, you can scale your menu to accommodate your smaller gathering. We don’t really need mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes, and stuffing this year! Choose a few vegetable side dishes for your holiday meal and make just one, smaller dessert. While leftovers are always something to look forward to, you won’t be cooking for a crowd this year, and the temptation of all those high energy foods can be too tempting.

A few tips for the days of your holiday meals:

  • Get in a good workout earlier in the day
  • Allow yourself only a single serving of each dish (no seconds!)
  • Eat lightly or fast prior to your holiday dinner
  • Go for a nice walk after the meal to help lower your blood sugar faster

Take Care of Yourself Mentally

These are really, really hard times. I am pretty certain that ALL of us are at least a little bit lonely right now. Holidays can be tough even without a global pandemic. This year, we have to choose between being together and putting ourselves and loved ones at risk, and being alone or with only our household.

My suggestion is to reach out. Call your friends and family. Make Zoom calls or do Google Hangouts. If we cannot be together in person, we have to make extraordinary efforts to be with each other in other ways. 

A few tips for fighting loneliness:

  • Reach out! If you don’t feel like you have friends or family to talk to, reach out to a professional counselor, a hotline, and/or on social media. Strangers are only friends you have yet to meet and you might be surprised where you can find a supportive community. Don’t let yourself “be” alone, even if that means you are only connecting on the phone or virtually. We really, really need human companionship. We are all craving it and needing it more than usual. If you are feeling it, chances are we are too!
  • Practice gratitude– I know it sounds stupid, but this is what Thanksgiving is about anyway, no? It really is amazing how when you start to think about the little things that are good in your life you start to feel better
  • Meditate– Another one that sounds cliche, but there is no quicker way to manage your stress than a few moments of meditation
  • Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Ask for help. Ask for company. You are not alone.

Let’s all do the best we can to be extra understanding, open, accepting, and accommodating this year as we go through the holiday season. Make some extra phone calls, make a little less food, and make a happy, meaningful holiday season!

Feel free to reach out to us if you have questions about this article or just want to talk!