Since COVID hit in March, many have integrated wine and a medley of chocolate chip cookies into a daily diet. It seems like there is extra time to binge watch Netflix and food. This holiday season, in addition to the stresses of everyday life, there will be even more emotional triggers that may drive us to overindulge. Being with certain family members or being further isolated from family can cause us to have certain visceral reactions and emotions. Many of us turn to food to deal with these added stressors. Often it makes us focus on the pleasure of taste and texture, and lets us detach ourselves from our emotions.
These behaviors can become habitual and we begin to look to food to escape our current stress or feelings. Here are 7 tips on how to head into this holiday season with self-care and self-love.
1. Surround yourself physically or virtually with people who support you and bring out your best self.
Maybe you haven’t picked up the phone and reached out to a loved one in a while. This might be the perfect time. If you know you are going to be home alone for the holidays, seek out a friend who may be alone too and maybe do a zoom Thanksgiving. Humans need to feel connected. Being with other people actually releases dopamine, the happy hormone in our brains.
2. Move. But only pick movement that makes you happy.
Your body craves movement. It actually feels better after you’ve moved (again released dopamine here). Whether a walk, run, bike ride, hike, yoga or pilates, your mind and body will thank you.
3. Lose the self judgement.
This holiday season, be kind to yourself. Don’t punish yourself with negative self-thoughts or over exercising the following day. Instead take a few breaths. Acknowledge the overindulgence and move on.
4. Try meditating.
With heightened stress as a combination of COVID and the holidays, this might be the perfect time to start meditation, and it has been proven to help with stress. Meditation in itself has you focus on your breathing, keeping your mind away from all your stressors.
5. Schedule some self-pampering.
Yes, you may be home, and you may be alone, and while you cannot go to a spa, it doesn’t mean you cannot light some candles, turn on some music and take a long bath. Think of things that make you feel good and do them.
6. Practice gratitude.
Commit to writing down one thing on a daily basis you are thankful for. Sometimes realizing what we do have changes our perspective and helps us come from a place of abundance rather than a place of scarcity.
7. Sit with your emotions.
Next time you feel lonely, anxious, or sad instead of reaching for food, sit with your emotions, feel them mentally and physically. Yes, it might feel uncomfortable, but recognizing and identifying your emotions is the first step in helping ourselves better handle them.
Overall, looking at ourselves with love, gratitude and with self-compassion can help us relieve a bit of our stress going into this challenging time. Let us help ourselves this holiday season, and hopefully with a few of these tools, we can be a little healthier and happier.
Ilana Milstein is an ACE and Pilates Certified CEO of No Xcuses Fitness. Ilana builds workout plans that target all body types and ages, and with background as a trainer dealing with injuries, she specializes in providing modifications or addressing pain/body issues. For more information on Ilana Milstein, please visit www.noexcuses.nyc.