Holiday Survival Strategies – Overcoming the Pressures of the Season

Holiday Survival Strategies – Overcoming the Pressures of the Season

The holiday season can wreak havoc on our health, not just physically but mentally too. Our desire to please others is innately human and tends to be heightened at this time of year. This isn’t a bad thing when we are mindful of what’s driving our actions, but for some, the need to satiate that feeling can cause us to overburden ourselves us. When more is being demanded of us than usual, it’s important to recognize whether the pressures you’re feeling are internal or real. Should you “lean in” to them or can you respectfully decline a social invite and honor your need for space?

Here are some of the sticky situations in which we often find ourselves around the holidays and some strategies to help you go about handling those scenarios like a pro.


Saying no to Food Prepared by Others

Have some of the food – if you want it – but take small portions or decline on some that you’re not a fan of or that you might have access to often. It is possible to be polite and grateful without forcing yourself to eat food you don’t really want. Just be vocal in your appreciation instead.

Don’t just stuff your face to satisfy your hunger, eat mindfully and be expressive in your gratitude for what’s been prepared. Instead of having seconds, gratitude can be more beneficially expressed by asking your friends or family for the recipe or by taking the time to share a favorite memory with them. “Hey mom, this pecan pie tastes so good! It reminds me of our first Thanksgiving that we went to see the Macy’s parade downtown. Remember how I wandered off for a minute and you thought you lost me?! Wasn’t that funny!” ? Who doesn’t love a game of hide and seek!?

Remember, resisting food that you really want can often lead to overeating later on. So try not to label food as “off-limits”. Plan ahead when you can – ask your mom what kinds of pies she’s making and if she can send you the recipe so you can put it into MyFitnessPal. If you can’t get the recipe, just search for a comparable slice of pie in the app.

If you want to do your best at being dialed in and you’re attending something like a pot-luck, then bring a couple of dishes so you can be accurate with and plan ahead for at least 50% of your dinner later on. I did this last year at Thanksgiving by making a Skinny Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake (check out our recipes!) and roasted brussel sprouts.


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Feeling Obligated to attend Social Functions

If you don’t want to go out, why not? Are you feeling overwhelmed? If so are you getting enough sleep? Or have you already attended a lot of functions and you just need your own space? Get to the root of why you feel the need to be alone. Respect your space and your need to decompress and rest. Spend 10 minutes a day journaling or meditating, or go for a long walk to clear your mind.

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What “sticky situations” do you find yourself in around the holidays? Are you easily lead astray or are you resolute in your commitment towards your goals? What helps you stay on track in spite of the holiday season? Comment below or shoot us an email if you found talking through these situations helpful at all! 


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