This month, consider this holiday survival guide my gift to you! This guide was created in collaboration with many of my health coaching friends.

This time of year, emotions run deep and stress runs high. It is the prime time for overeating and overindulging in holiday fare. You don’t have to give it all up, but be sure that you are balancing it with a healthy diet when possible, and a healthy mind and spirit.

How do you do this? I have 40 tips to share with you! Pick the ones that resonate and stick with them!

  1. Buy sweets right before a holiday party you’re hosting or attending. Don’t keep them around the house days in advance.
  2. Buy sweets that you don’t like so you know you won’t eat them all!
  3. Buy only the amount of stuff you’ll realistically need.
  4. Eat a balanced diet whenever possible, full of healthy fats and high-quality proteins with greens and lots of sweet vegetables.
  5. Drink plenty of water, all the time.
  6. Send leftovers home with your guests, take them to work the next day, or freeze them for a rainy day.
  7. Offer non-food treats in place of candy and sweets, like homemade ornaments.
  8. Agree on holiday sweet guidelines with your spouse or roommates.
  9. Make seasonal treats that also have nutritional value. (Think protein and health fats. My blog has LOTS of options!)
  10. Develop new traditions that do not revolve around food.
  11. Keep your stress levels in check. Meditate, exercise, sleep, write in a journal, breathe deeply.
  12. Make time for yourself each day.
  13. Make sure your work/life/relationship/spirituality is in balance. If it is not, you may be trying to fill a void with the food you’re eating.
  14. Bring a healthy dish with you to a family event , party or work function, so you know at least one healthy option is available!
  15. Eat a healthy meal prior to going to a holiday party so you will eat less while you are there.
  16. Fit exercise into your shopping. Park far away from the mall entrance, and take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  17. Eat on a salad plate. It will seem like there is a lot more food in front of you than there really is and will limit your portions. Stick to one plate!
  18. Instead of depriving yourself of favorite treats at holiday spreads, take one bite of each treat. Getting the taste of it is usually all you need to feel satisfied.
  19. Find healthier versions of your holiday favorites. (See if my blog has some of them!)
  20. Schedule ahead to give yourself a break in the middle of the chaos. Schedule a Reiki session (contact me, I do this!), massage, reflexology or another treatment that leaves you feeling nurtured, balanced and at peace.
  21. Invite your family to help with meal preparations. Don’t try to do it all yourself.
  22. Sparkling water/club soda/seltzer with a splash of pomegranate or cranberry juice is a beautiful and refreshing alternative to mixed drinks/wine.
  23. Sing Christmas songs. Singing is said to be an instant mood booster!
  24. Stand or sit away from the food table. You’ll be much less likely to graze.
  25. A long soak in a hot tub with lavender bath salts can be very calming and restoring.
  26. Keep a small bag of nuts in your purse/car so you’ve always got a healthy snack ready.
  27. Eat lots of veggies whenever you can!
  28. Take some slow, deep breaths; 70-75% of the body’s natural toxins are released through breath.
  29. For a quick break, turn off the television and radio, and lie down on your back for 10 minutes with your legs supported and elevated.
  30. Remember to lower your shoulder blades. We tend to lift them close to our ears when we tense.
  31. If there is someone at your holiday gathering that triggers hostility or anger in you, take a deep breath and be the bigger person.  If you have to stay away from them to avoid drama and inflaming/upsetting everyone else in the family, do it, and then work it out after the holidays.
  32. In order to have a more enjoyable holiday experience, take some time before the holidays to reconnect with family, friends or out-of-town guests. This could be done through a quick text or email, or with a phone call.
  33. Incorporate at least one or two 5-10 minute workout sessions per day.  If you like to be walked through a workout, there are many apps available for you to download onto your phone or computer for free.
  34. Turn your brown paper shopping bags inside out and have your kids decorate them. Then pop your gifts inside them and stuff with decorative tissue paper. Saves money and adds personal charm!
  35. Do a food swap with a friend to save time. Make an extra batch of your mother’s delicious stuffing recipe for her while she makes a batch of gingerbread cookies for you.
  36. Make gift giving easy and special this year.  Make donations in honor of your friends and family.
  37. Brush it off: Give your body the benefit of a minute of skin brushing every morning.  Brush from your extremities toward your heart using a fairly stiff natural bristled body brush.  No body brush?  Use a dry loofah or washcloth.  Body brushing stimulates lymph flow to promote a healthy immune system, but also feels good!
  38. Do your feet a favor… rub them with some oil and wrap them up in a cushy pair of socks.  Coconut oil, olive oil or jojoba oil are all great choices.
  39. Have some peppermint essential oil or peppermint tea with you for holiday gatherings. Take before the party to suppress your appetite, or take after to calm indigestion, gas or cramps.
  40. Drink a protein smoothie prior to a food event. It’ll fill you up a bit and ensure that your body is getting nutrients fast, without using up energy for digesting.

Enjoy your holidays. If you are interested in giving the gift of relaxation this year, to yourself or someone else, if you buy a Reiki gift certificate from me for one session, you can get another session for $10 off. That’s two sessions for $90. Contact me if interested! Find ways to relax, and Merry Christmas!