Well ladies and gents, that special time of year is quickly approaching…. YES! I can’t believe it’s that time again, but Winter is just around the corner and the holidays will be here before we know it!! Some people thrive in the colder winter months, while others tend to cozy up and “hibernate.” Either way, Winter typically marks significant variations from the rest of the year including darker colder climates, shorter days, and holiday happenings! Since these changes can bring both excitement and stress, it is extremely important to continue to focus on our health and taking care of ourselves. Thus, I suggest we all soak up the final close of Summer as we head into Fall, in preparation for the Winter months ahead.
Here are some valuable tips to consider….
1. Stay Active
With winter comes colder climates and snow! For some, this means an exciting time to plan on hitting the slopes, and enjoy a whole slew of winter activities including skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating, which are all wonderful ways to stay fit. For others, this means a time for staying warm and cozy indoors. Regardless of your personal preference, it is crucial to stay motivated about staying active and make time for regular exercise just like you do throughout the remainder of the year. If you find yourself falling into “hibernation” mode, try planning time in advance in your weekly schedule for exercise and/or active activities. If heading outdoors isn’t for you, exercising at home is just as rewarding. Investing that time in yourself will help you maintain health, relieve stress, and boost your mood to help you fully enjoy the holiday season….. and also reduce some added guilt from yummy holiday treats!!!
2. Boost Your Immune System
According to Pinnacle Health, up to 20% of the U.S. population gets the cold or flu each year. With the added hustle and bustle of the holidays, our healthy habits tend to take a hit. However, maintaining focus on diet and exercise is essential to ward off illness. Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly to avoid the extra germs, while taking in healthy doses of all your essential vitamins and antioxidants.
3. Make Healthy Dietary Choices
For those of us that really enjoy food, the holidays mean a whole lot of it! With the extra holiday parties, dinners, and treats that come with the season, fighting the temptation of getting completely derailed is very important! Rather than complete deprivation, I encourage portion control and making healthy sustainable choices in your diet. So, the key is to enjoy the foods you love without overindulging. I also think it’s fun to “healthify” old recipes- so if there’s something you absolutely love but it’s not the healthiest for you, try to make appropriate modifications. It may take some trial and error, but can be fun especially if you like experimenting in the kitchen. Try to cook with all natural and wholesome ingredients while reducing your sodium intake. Incorporating good fruits, vegetables, and yummy spices not only make your food delicious but bring many health benefits. Cooking with onions, garlic, ginger, and cilantro can all help boost your immune system while tumeric is an excellent antioxidant that aids in inflammation.
4. Practice Mindfulness, Meditation, and Relaxation
Strive to be fully present and mindful of yourself and those around you throughout your daily activities. Focus on accomplishing everything you do to the fullest of your abilities. While we may feel that there is a never ending list of things to do, it is just as important to give our brains and bodies a break by practicing meditation and allowing for complete relaxation. Carve out a small amount of time in your day to lay calmly resting your entire body. Breathe deeply and empty your thoughts. Try to also wind down a bit sooner in the evenings to prepare for a more restful sleep.
5. Time Management and Organization
With the added chaos this time of year brings from work deadlines, extra crowds/traffic, shopping, gift wrapping, dinner parties, and other holiday festivities, managing your time wisely and keeping an organized schedule is absolutely vital to maintaining your sanity! While not always easy to do, try to allow extra time for travel and avoid procrastinating on your to-do lists. This along with keeping a clean and organized home during the holidays, will significantly reduce stress levels, anxiety, and make you feel better – which is the ultimate goal.
6. Enjoy Quality Time with Friends and Family
As we all know, time flies far too quickly. Even though there will be a million things going on this upcoming season, don’t forget to stop, breathe, and take it all in. Sit back and enjoy the precious time you share with family and loved ones. Don’t let any added worries or stress rob you of this. Maintaining close quality relationships is wonderful for our self esteem, overall well being, and can help fight depression. Continue this focus after the holidays and throughout the rest of your year.
Bottomline, the HEALTHIER you are, the HAPPIER you are! This translates to the more you can truly take in all the magic of the season. Follow me on IG @taryntfrancis and share your exciting plans for the holidays! Best wishes to you all!
I hope this article has inspired you! Be sure to stay tuned for more monthly columns from me as I share my world of dance, fitness, wellness, and healthy lifestyles…. and stay in touch with me on social media for all my latest happenings.
Taryn T. Francis
IG and FB: @taryntfrancis