My stepdaughter called last week and asked: “what’s the plan for Thanksgiving?” Something akin to panic set in. I know you don’t want to hear it, but the holidays are upon us.
So, how do you survive the oncoming onslaught of food and stress?
First, do not, under any circumstances, stop exercising. Whether you walk, run, hike, climb, lift, jump, stretch, play, dance, or paddle, keep doing it.
Second, allow yourself some quiet alone time each day. You could journal or meditate or do a few yoga poses. You could sit in your car with your eyes closed and breathe deeply. Just five minutes will make a huge difference.
Third, map out everything. Gifts to buy? Make a list. Hosting a meal? Make a plan. Lots of commitments? Get them on the calendar. Writing things down will free your brain from having to remember six million details.
I keep a “Gift Ideas” list on my phone. Whenever someone mentions something they’d like, I put it on the list. When a birthday or Christmas rolls around, I already have ideas. I also keep a big plastic storage bin in a closet that serves as my gift box. If I see something a friend or family member would love, I buy it and put it in the box. This has solved the problem of buying a gift months in advance, hiding it in a “special” place, and then totally forgetting about it for years!
If you like to entertain, offer to host a holiday meal. If you’re in control of the menu, you’re less likely to stray too far off your normal diet. Entertaining doesn’t have to be stressful. You don’t have to do everything yourself; make a list and ask guests to contribute. (And keep in mind that a perfectly fine contribution is an offer to clean up!) Here are a few tips if you’re hosting:
- Make a big to-do list and post it in the kitchen. Mark each item with the day you’ll do it (and do as much ahead of time as you can). For things that need to be done the day of the meal, write down what time you’ll do them. This will give you a heads up if you’re planning to use one oven at the same time for three different dishes!
- Have your meal early in the day, so you’ll have plenty of time to digest before bedtime.
- Take a walk after your meal or play touch football with your guests. Make exercise as much a part of your celebration as the food.
- Don’t deprive yourself of foods you love, but don’t go crazy. Send any high-carb leftovers home with your guests.
If you splurge for a meal, it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up, but do get back on track the next day. Don’t let one Thanksgiving binge give you permission to eat whatever you want until those New Year’s resolutions kick in.
You can thrive during the holiDAZE. Just remember you’re in control. Take care of yourself and make a plan.