Overeating, overspending and just plain overdoing it are three of our main indulgences, especially during the holidays. There are a few simple ground rules that can make the difference between feeling satisfied as opposed to weighed down.
Here are 3 of them:
1. Never go super hungry to a party. Overeating can mean too many portions (especially of the “bad” foods) or too large a portion. This is, of course, quite subjective for each individual. Only you know when you cross the line. When you’re really hungry, blood sugar is much too low from lack of protein and you’ll find yourself making a bee-line for the pastry table. Nibble some protein before you leave the house – it doesn’t have to be an entire steak, just a nibble. Here are some suggestions:
A spoonful of egg salad (or half a hard-boiled egg)
Small scoop of tuna or chicken salad
Slice of turkey
Wedge of cheese
Handful of almonds
Half a protein shake
2. Spend only what is right for you. Overspending, like overeating, is subjective. Only you can tell when it’s too much. Maybe you get that icky uneasiness in your tummy or feel the need to confess to your spouse. If you enjoy buying your fifteen grandchildren ten large presents each and it doesn’t send you into bankruptcy, then by all means do it. But if that way of spending either runs counter to your values or your checkbook (or both), discuss with your spouse and family members what feels right for you and follow that. Maybe try:
One tiny gift each night of Hanukkah or one bigger one
A few small gifts for Christmas or a single special one
Gift exchange with an agreed-upon amount limit
Heartfelt notes or small bag of something yummy instead of buying gifts for your hairdresser, pet-sitter, and so on.
3. Pace yourself. Overdoing can be greatly alleviated by adopting the mindset of, “I want to enjoy the holidays, not stress out.” Set your intention to relax and have a good time, and get rid of whatever you possibly can that stands as an obstacle to that intention. This is a simple concept but not necessarily easy. It requires you to let go of some expectations, some of which you might have had all your life. Try:
Literally deleting half of your to-do list
Baking from a mix rather than from scratch
Setting the holiday table with square napkins straight from the package instead of folding them
Turning down some invitations, even though they might be really fun
Resting in the car for 2 minutes between errands
If you’re a parent or close to children, remember they’re watching you. Be the way you’re hoping they’ll be as they grow. Model calmness and realistic expectations. Excitement and happy anticipation can be there without the negative type of stress, so practice wherever and whenever you can. Here’s to your joyous holidays!