Can you believe that the holidays are just around the corner?!
I mean, you gotta love them, but let’s be real for sec, they are also prettyyyy stressful and they make it just a tad too easy to be unhealthy (at least for food lovers like me) and feel overwhelmed (at least for people pleasing types, again, like me).
With all the delicious food that’s not always great for your hormones, waistline, or mental well-being, and all that family who is so wonderful and lovely and (some of them) also kinda stressful and well…. a lot, it’s a good idea to have some tools in your back pocket for how you can support your health AND your sanity over the next 2 months.
Here is what I suggest for you to consider to stay as balanced, sane and zen as possible:
Be nice to your hormones by keeping your blood-sugar stable.
When our blood-sugar is on a rollercoaster (for ex. when you eat too much sugar or too many carbs), your body is dealing with insulin spikes, which trigger cortisol spikes (think: your stress hormones are running wild), which triggers a whole cascade of other hormone upheavals resulting in unfavorable physical and emotional states.
-> What to do?
There are a number of things that impact our blood-sugar balance and therefore our hormonal balance (I share more about this in my Well Mama course as well as in my Well Mama Cookbook).
However, the easiest way to incorporate a blood-sugar balancing action step into your daily routine over the holidays is to eat breakfast within 60 minutes of waking up and without having coffee first!
Your breakfast should consist of healthy fats, proteins and fibers, so think eggs cooked in butter or coconut oil with veggies, chicken sausage, avocado, greens, berries, or a smoothie with a good quality protein powder instead of bagels, pancakes, caramel lattes, and other sugar-filled breakfasts-on-the-go.
Another good piece to remember is to always fill your plate with veggies first, then add protein, and then whatever “heavy” carb you choose.
Be gentle with yourself.
I know how hard you can be on yourself. I know how high your expectations are. I know how much you love everyone around you and how much you want to be there for everyone.
I also know that guilt often lurks around every corner if you don’t fulfill everyone’s needs.
And so I am here today to remind you to be gentle with yourself, to give yourself space to thrive (not just to survive), to say “no” or “not now” or “later” to the things that aren’t a priority, and to receive the help you need.
-> What do to?
Do one small thing every day that is in honorship of YOU. This might be a quick morning walk, a tea enjoyed in the quiet (without scrolling instagram), a bath, a long shower, an early bedtime, a chat with a good girlfriend, deep breathes, a yoga class, a good movie or book… the options are endless. Consistency matters so your cup won’t run empty and you won’t feel depleted.
What needs to happen in your life -what boundaries do you need to establish- so that you have space to be a thriving part of it?
Support your digestive system.
”All disease begins in the gut” - Hippocrates
Your microbiome makes up the majority of your immune system, and your body actually contains 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells! Nuts, right?
When your gut isn’t working well, you are at a higher risk of developing autoimmune disorders, mental health problems, hormonal problems, poor immune health, heart disease, type II diabetes, skin conditions, weight problems, reflux, digestive disorders, and even cancer. During the holidays, most of us tax our digestive systems more than during other times of the year, because we usually consume more sugar and alcohol, pop an extra advil (or other NSAID), move our bodies less, and stress more.
-> What to do?
Gut health is a vast topic, but for the sake of this article and to get you through the holidays with a bit of gut protection, here are my three favorite, most basic supplements: 1. a good quality probiotic, 2. a collagen powder like this one from Great Lakes (which you can easily add into soups, smoothies, oatmeal, yoghurts etc), and 3. a good quality magnesium support like Natural Calm (this one also helps with period cramps and regular bowel movements).
In addition, make sure you consume lots of probiotic and digestive enzyme rich foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, or kefir, and stay away from too much sugar and alcohol.
Ask yourself: How much of it feels like a delightful treat and how much of it makes me feel not so hot (immediately or tomorrow)?
Get moving and breathe. Walking counts.
Not only is exercise obviously important for your overall health, but it is also important for proper detoxification or toxins and excess, used up hormones.
Plus, getting out and going for a walk, run, or exercise class is a way for you to have YOU time, where you are not taking care of anyone else. It helps you connect to your body, will give you more resilience and patience, support your mental state, fill you with confidence and strength, and help offset some of those yummy holiday treats.
-> What to do?
Plan ahead. Pick exercises that feel good to your body. Pencil your activities into your calendar or they likely won’t happen. Let your family know that this is something you’re doing this year and ask if they can support you (or maybe even want to come along).
Make it something you look forward to, not another should on your to-do list that will only happen if everything else is done.
Commit to it.
say F*ck it, ditch the perfection and focus on actually enjoying all the pleasures and togetherness of the season
This is the time to be grateful, to be present with family, to relax and enjoy and take up others on their offer to help. It is the time of the year where we naturally want to slow down, indulge in being together, and let all of the things that didn’t go as planned go. Remember that!
I fully give you permission to say “F*ck it!” more often so that you can lie on the floor with your kids, play, have good conversation with your friends and family without worrying and stressing that everything will get done. Most of it will get done anyways somehow and the stuff that doesn’t get done, just didn’t make the cut this year. It’s ok. Seriously.
Let’s make this a holiday season that is good for us, that will help us end 2018 in a way that feels whole and complete, so that we can start 2019 on solid, positive footing.
Let’s be mindful what we choose to let into our lives and what we need to keep at arm’s length.
You got this mama!