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‘Tis the season to be jolly, to eat yummy (i.e. unhealthy foods), and forget every healthy habit/routine we have, right? The holiday season is one of the most difficult times of the year to stick to a yoga routine and nourish your body with healthy foods to fuel your yogi practice. A question I oftentimes get asked is how do I keep yoga a part of my holiday routine with all the travel/change of plans that come with this season, and how do I keep my diet in line with a healthy yoga practice?
Well, let me be the first to tell you, the holidays are hard (no surprise there), we have presents to think of and wrap, holiday shows/movies to watch, places to travel to, and limited edition seasonal food products to eat (my personal hardship). Now that the obvious has been stated let’s break down each obstacle, and find solutions that work for you and your life!
Help your Healthy Habits during this Holiday Season
I’ll be the first to admit that I am horrible at keeping habits and routines during the holiday season. Going to bed before 10? Forget about it. Eating healthy? Most likely not. Drinking water? Minimally at best. So, I have come up with some tips and tricks to keep practicing yoga during the holiday season!
- Use your phone as a tool: During busy times, I like to set alarms on my phone not only to wake up, but to remind myself to take a break. These cue me to stop what I’m doing and take a bit of time for myself – something that can be difficult to do during the holiday season. Of course, there are plenty of apps, and ways to make these alarms pretty, but I just use the default alarm setting on my phone (i.e. I’m cheap and want the freebies)! If you’re not big into technology, write down your schedule into your planner with blocked off spaces for you to take breaks.
- Share yoga with loved ones: Yoga is great to do alone, but even more fun to share with others. Snag a family member or friend when you’re home (or traveling) for the holidays and go to a class/workshop together. A lot of studios have specials for the holiday season, including events that combine food and laughs with yoga. Sharing your practice with family and friends can be a great present idea, or just a way to spend time together while also relieving stress and tension!
- Even 5 minutes is better than 0 minutes: Even a little bit of mat time is better than no time (I need to keep telling myself that over and over until I start doing it). Try doing a 20-minute YouTube video instead of going to an in-person class (which can take 60+ minutes), or doing a 10-minute flow by yourself! Be creative, and keep it simple lovelies, anything you do is better than nothing.
Healthy Eating and the Holidays (No, this isn’t an oxymoron)
I don’t know about all of you, but when the days get shorter and the holiday season nears, I basically prepare my body for hibernation (i.e. eat lots and lots of unhealthy food). Here are a few foods that you should avoid keeping your yogi practices sharp! I also included some alternatives for these unhealthy foods for you to try out!
- Bleached/Enriched Grains:
Well isn’t this just the best part of the holiday season? Eating all the yummy gingerbread cookies and pies are my favorite things to do, but these bleached/enriched grains wreak havoc on our body. These foods are full of empty calories, resulting in blood sugar level spikes. Bleached/enriched grains also mess with our digestive system as we are not used to breaking down these new types of processed grains (resulting in either constipation or diarrhea – all dependent on how your body reacts).
Try this instead: Whole wheat goodies, grain free desserts, or less processed grains.
- Sugary Drinks
Sugary drinks are in stock during the holiday season, especially with all the limited edition seasonal drinks (I’m looking at you Starbucks and alcoholic beverages). Because we’re drinking these drinks instead of eating them we oftentimes don’t register that we’re intaking so much sugar (and calories)! As we’re drinking them, we still oftentimes eat the same things we would eat without drinking these sugary drinks, resulting in a surplus of calories and sugar levels! AND we tend to get the largest size possible of the drinks (typically the most cost effective), and therefore double or even triple our sugar and calorie intake!
Try this instead: Seasonal teas (without any sweeteners), DIY drinks to make at home, or WATER!
- Processed Meat
I typically don’t eat a lot of meat, but anytime anything is processed, the body typically does not respond well health wise. Processed meats (like any other processed foods) expose our bodies to new chemicals that our body doesn’t know how to handle. A variety of negative health outcomes can arise such as hives, gastrointestinal problems, heart disease, and even cancers! With a list of potential gross side effects maybe think once or twice about reaching for the meats at your next holiday gathering.
Try this instead: Natural meats, avoid meat in general during the holidays, or choose a less processed meat (unfortunately typically more expensive)
What do you think of these tips and tricks? Do you have any others (because I would really, really love to try them out!)? How is your holiday season going with healthy habits? What is your weakness when it comes to holiday foods? Do you have any healthy alternatives?
Peace and love this holiday season,