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shutterstock_54056416It’s December and that means shorter days and longer nights filled with holiday parties and other engagements. Everything seems so exciting! But what about grief? Sometimes during the holidays, we’re stuck in grief due to recent loses, previous traumas, anniversaries, birthdays and realization that our lives right now might not be how we want them to be.

Keep on top of your emotions by managing what you eat and the amount of activity you’re getting. We know that what we eat can affect our mood and thoughts (try eating only cereal for three meals a day and you’ll know what I mean). We also know that exercising thirty minutes a day can help reduce anxiety and depression, not to mention reduce adding pounds on over the holidays!

The million dollar question then seems to be: How do we eat well and exercise over the holidays? The answer doesn’t have to be the next feature length Mission Impossible. Consider these tips/steps to take to keeping active and eating right over the holidays:

Incorporate more activity into your plans

  • Getting together with friends? Why not suggest meeting up at a park or walking in your neighborhood.
  • Grocery or holiday shopping? Try parking farther away from the entrance and taking the stairs instead.
  • Feeling tired after lunch due to days full of activities? Try going for a midday walk to maximize time outside during daylight hours.

Keep healthy snacks around

  • If you know that you’ll be out taking care of errands for several hours, anticipate hunger and bring a quick snack with protein and veggies/fruit (string cheese, a handful of almonds, an apple, or a protein bar are my favorite go-to snacks to keep on hand for errands).
  • Reducing portion size for holiday treats that are less healthy is one way to still enjoy holiday favorites without them hurting your waistline. Also, consider bringing treats to social gatherings that you don’t want to keep in your house.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water can help provide us with a sense of being full and can help maintain balance in our bodies while we eat holiday favorites.

Get plenty of rest

  • Our bodies sometimes trick us with their messages. We think that we’re hungry when really we are tired. Even when schedules change with holiday obligations, it’s important to get quality rest, for our minds and bodies to remain healthy. Turn off the TV and cellphone and allow yourself uninterrupted rest.

One of the things I love about living in Colorado is that each season offers us different opportunities for exercise and eating! Summer is a time for being outside, enjoying fresh fruit and vegetable salads. For me, winter is a time of being inside, enjoying the warmth of family, friends, and food (with snowball fights and cross-country skiing sprinkled in there to keep things interesting). The key is to have balance in the process and to include moderation to the seasonal mix.

Happy holiday hopping!