Having GI distress or suffering with chronic illness during the busy holiday season can add an extra layer of stress. It is easy to let the to-do lists pile up and forget to take good care of yourself during the holiday rush. But… before we get into the full swing of the holiday season… let’s review a few relatively easy tips to help you manage your health this time of year.
Use the H-E-A-L-T-H acronym below to remind you of these 6 key tips for minimizing stress, embracing healthy practices and maximizing cozy time.
A: Plan AHEAD
L: Love how you spend your time
T: Trust your gut
H: Hygge at Home.
Hydrate your body! The busier you are…the less likely you are to take time to drink water during the day. Adequate fluid intake tends to be a bit more important for those with IBS or SIBO. It is essential to replace fluid loss with diarrhea and/or to ingest adequate fluid to keep things moving if you are prone to constipation.
An extra bonus: filling your tank with water may help fight fatigue and headaches. Often times, that afternoon slump you may feel around 3 PM is related to dehydration. Your body is a machine. It doesn’t run well on empty.
Exercise: Schedule time to exercise, particularly outside in nature, when possible. Moderate exercise (a brisk walk, yoga, light jog) helps all of us feel better and is great for gut health. You may find exercise provides an extra boost of energy too which will help you enjoy those additional holiday events.
Exercise lowers stress levels and improves sleep habits. Rather than falling off the exercise bandwagon before the end of the year, step it up instead! You’ll find taking time for your health has you feeling better this holiday season! Better yet, grab a fun friend and take a walk or sign up for a class together! The buddy system offers the added benefit of accountability and extra time with your favorite peeps. (Russ and I have been taking spin class on Saturdays. I am loving our new routine….spin then a lunch date.)
Pre-plan with snacks and meals AHEAD of time. Let’s face it…shopping can make you hungry! Always pack a low FODMAP fuel option with you on the go: Happy Bars, FODY bars, or 88 Acres (Dark chocolate and sea salt) work well for my clients’ sensitive bellies and all taste GREAT and are filling! Since many holiday celebrations involve food (and often cocktails), always bring along a low FODMAP dish to share. FODY salsa and a side of corn tortilla chips makes a quick and easy snack! Cheese plates are great too! Whip one up with rice crackers, grapes, baby carrots, olives, Cheddar and Brie. Easy and yummy! Disclaimer: FODY foods is a client of mine and links above are affiliate links. I do love FODY food products…and bring them along to my holiday social gatherings! 🙂
Do what YOU LOVE! What makes the holiday fun for YOU? Is it a craft night with friends? Cookie making with your kids? Delivering food to a food bank with your family? Bringing gloves and hats to the homeless in your community? Shopping with your bestie? Writing out thoughtful holiday cards to friends and family far away? Make a list of what activities you want to include this year…and well… DO them!
Trust your gut! We often know what foods and drinks we tolerate best–but don’t always listen to our body. This happens a bit more during the holidays…one extra drink, 5 extra cookies…it’s all fun and games until… Enjoy holiday treats…but do your best to know your personal limit and listen to that body of yours.
Embrace hygge during the holidays. Hygge is a Danish concept that means creating a warm and cozy atmosphere. Hygge is simply enjoying good things with good people. A-M-E-N to that!
Here’s a few ways to embrace hygge:
- Lighting a candle and sipping on tea. My favorite–a chai tea latte made with frothed almond milk and topped with cinnamon sugar! (I share my favorite recipe in my latest FODY x Kate collab, the Snowed in Box).
- Snowshoeing or walking in the woods after a beautiful blanket of snow has fallen followed by delicious hot cocoa with your besties.
- Sitting around your kitchen table enjoying a glass of wine with your man.
- Snuggling on the couch by the glow and warmth of a crackling fire in your fireplace with your family (and furry friend) by your side.
Recently, my two boys were home and we were looking at our holiday photo deciding which online card shop to purchase our holiday card. In that very moment, I just savored the fact that my boys were with me on the couch. As my kids have grown and have moved out of my home, it’s simple moments like this that make my heart feel completely full.
Here’s to a wonderful holiday season full of great memories, good cheer and a calm belly!